Golfers, sponsors sought for ‘Operation Game On’

RANCHO SANTA FE — Sponsors and golfers are still needed for the annual Operation Game On Golf Classic set for Aug. 13 at Morgan Run Club & Resort. Created in 2008 by Rancho Santa Fe resident Tony Perez, Operation Game On is a program for returning soldiers who are severely physically and mentally injured and going through rehabilitation at Naval Medical Center San Diego.

Participating troops receive golf lessons from PGA-certified instructors followed by a professional fitting session by Jim Flick and the staff at The Kingdom at TaylorMade Golf.

Trey Humphrey (left) and Frank Joseph chat before heading out to the course during the 2011 Operation Game On Golf Classic. Photo by Bianca Kaplanek

They also receive golf equipment that includes custom-fitted clubs, bags, shoes, gloves and balls, as well as playing opportunities throughout the county. There is no cost to the soldiers, hospital or military.

Doctors, prosthetic specialists and counselors at the Naval Medical Center found golf has become an essential link to the rehabilitation process for combat-wounded military personnel with extreme physical and mental disabilities.

“Sign-up for players is going strong and we encourage you to send in your player registration as we are expecting a complete sellout of 144 players.” Perez said. “And we still need a happy hour beverage cart sponsor.”

Registration begins at 9 a.m., followed by practice on the driving range, a clinic by Flick and Pat Perez, a presentation of colors and a shotgun start at 11:30 a.m.

“This year we will have the honor of having one of our combat-injured wives sing our national anthem at the opening ceremonies,” Perez said.

“We will also have the WOW (Wives of Warriors) join their combat-injured troops in playing,” he said. “There is no way that they would stay home — not anymore.

“They have learned to play golf and now are enjoying playing with their husbands and getting out together without the kids to begin a new but altered life together,” Perez said. “We will salute these strong women at our banquet.”

The day-long event will end with cocktails, a dinner buffet, a silent auction and raffle, awards and guest speakers.

“Our combat-injured troops have certainly paid the price,” Perez said. “And as we say in the golf world, ‘God has given them a mulligan.’”

The cost is $300 per player. Visit operationgameon.org or contact Perez at (619) 997-0773 or pgapop@gmail.com for more information.

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