AUSA tournament honors WTU, raises thousands for Army programs
Cpl. Daniel Marion, who was injured in Iraq, shoots a birdie Friday on the 5th hole of The Courses Fort Meade's Parks course. Marion played during the 24th Annual Association of the United States Army Golf Tournament hosted on Fort Meade by AUSA's Francis Scott Key Chapter. The tournament celebrated the sacrifices of the country's wounded veterans while raising funds to support AUSA's work.

FORT MEADE, Md. -- Friday isn't usually a fun day for the Warrior Transition Unit.

While Fridays for some can be a day to putter into the weekend, for WTU Soldiers such as Capt. Kirk Butler, the day can mean MRIs and physical therapy.

But last Friday, the steely-eyed expression and grunts weren't from pain but from trying to make the perfect putt on The Courses Fort Meade.

"It gives us an opportunity to get out of the building and have fun," said Butler, who is recovering from surgery on his right knee.

Dozens of WTU Soldiers hit The Courses for rounds of golf and a putting contest hosted by the Francis Scott Key Chapter of the Association of the United States Army.

Although it was the first time in 15 years that Reserve Maj. Donald Peterson had stepped on a golf course, he won the putting tournament with a shot that landed closest to the hole. The officer, who suffered various injuries including to his knee and back after a roadside bomb exploded near his vehicle in Iraq in 2005, was at a loss for words for his win.

"Somehow God did it," he said. "I didn't do it myself."

The day in the sun was part of the chapter's 24th annual golf tournament. As in previous years, the event was held to raise funds for the association's charitable efforts while also recognizing the sacrifices of wounded Soldiers.

More than 130 golfers, the bulk of whom are service members, turned out. Roughly 50 golfers came from the WTU.

That turnout was higher than in recent years, which drew about 70 to 80 participants, according to event organizers. Combined with roughly six times as many corporate sponsors such as Applied Integrated Technology and Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream, the event raised somewhere between $4,000 to $5,000 for the chapter, said Matt Hauser, the tournament's organizer for AUSA.

That money will aid the organization in supporting awards for Soldiers and noncommissioned officers on Fort Meade as well as festivities during the Army birthday and other events.

The tournament, which began early and ended in the late afternoon, featured a host of rewards for players. Multiple holes offered prizes for hole-in-one swings. A 2010 Ford Mustang was the prize at the 3rd hole on the Parks course, which has stymied golfers' attempts for a perfect shot for two dozen years with its 190-yard drive. This year was no different.

But golfers said they weren't drawn to the tournament because of the prizes. For the winning four-man scramble team that walked away with a DVD of the movie "Caddyshack" and a $50 gift certificate, the event marked a standing date for the four men, said winning teammate Frederick Wood, 53.

"This is our annual round of golf," he said.

Page last updated Fri August 14th, 2009 at 13:13