Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.
Issue link: http://gcmdigital.gcsaa.org/i/402226
Bill Williams served in Vietnam as an Air Force sergeant. Today, he is far removed from service in a foreign land. His ties to veterans just like him, though, have found a common-ground haven. Heroes Golf Course in Brentwood, Calif., may only be a public nine-hole layout, but the number of people it has touched can't be counted. They include Williams, who is a starter at Heroes GC when he isn't pulling out a club to hit his own shots. "This place has been very therapeutic for many veterans," Williams says. "One guy who came here was very shy, withdrawn, stuck to himself, just didn't want to talk. Now, he laughs, kids. He got tips, lessons and almost every day helps with our maintenance. He's a totally different individual." It has taken a joint effort to make all of this possible at Heroes GC. That is where GCSAA members stepped to the plate, willing to give their time, equipment (including helping to replace a 1975 Toro mower) and support for those who have supported their country. One of them is 29-year GCSAA member Brian Sullivan, CGCS, from Bel-Air Country Club. In 2011, Ricardo Bandini Johnson gained control of management operations at Heroes GC, located on the grounds of the Veterans Administration Hospital. In a way, Johnson believed he had something at stake there; after all, his family and Sen. John Percival Jones donated hundreds of acres that used to be a home for soldiers. In time, it became the Veterans Administration Hospital. Heroes GC, established in 1946, was made possible by nearby Hillcrest Country Club, which spearheaded its construction. It was a way to honor veterans coming home from World War II. The issue today is course maintenance. Heroes GC is operated as a non-proft 501(c)(3). Except for water, which is paid for by the VA, Heroes GC must count on donations and fundraisers to survive. Green fees range from $7 to $17. The pro shop Veterans' days Photos courtesy of Andy Heiser