Event for injured troops breaks records

Event for injured troops breaks records
Professional golfer Pat Perez, whose father, Tony, founded Operation Game On, sinks one while offering putting tips before the tournament. Looking on is Jim Flick, left, golf instructor and a retired pro who provides gold lessons for the program. Photo by Bianca Kaplanek

RANCHO SANTA FE — The Operation Game On Golf Classic continued to break records this year, selling out in less than three weeks, attracting major sponsors from outside California and for the first time featuring wives playing alongside their husbands. 

Now in its fifth year — and third at Morgan Run Club & Resort — the tournament raises funds for a golf rehabilitation program for combat-injured troops.

With two $10,000 contributions from donors in New Jersey and Arizona, 160 golfers who paid $300 each, raffles and an auction, founder Tony Perez said he raised approximately $75,000 this year, a $35,000 increase over 2011. Proceeds from the Aug. 13 event will go toward lessons, specially fitted clubs, reduced green fees and playing opportunities for soldiers returning from Operation Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom with physical and mental challenges who are going through rehabilitation at Naval Medical Center San Diego.

Participants receive free lessons from PGA-certified instructors at the Del Mar Golf Center and a professional fitting session from The Kingdom at TaylorMade Golf.

There is no cost to the soldiers, hospital or military.

In the past, wives of the soldiers volunteered at the event because few if any played golf. Perez recently founded Wives of Warriors to complement his previous program and allow spouses to enjoy the game as well.

“You’re playing together so be good to each other,” he said jokingly as he greeted one couple the day of the event.

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