Fort Bragg golfer strikes silver, wins third at golf championship
November 18, 2010
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Shawn Whitmore first picked up a golf club at age 16.
It did not take him long to find out that he was a natural, said the Virginia native who is assigned to the 122nd Aviation Support Battalion of the 82nd Airborne Division.
Twenty-years later, Whitmore has earned the hardware to prove that he is a natural. In October, he competed for the All-Army Golf team tryouts at Fort Lee, Va., and finished tied for third. Whitmore advanced to competition in the All-Armed Forces National Tournament at Langley Air Force Base, Va., where the All-Army teams won silver.
Recovering from recent shoulder wounds, Whitmore said that he is the first Warrior Transition Battalion Soldier to qualify for the All-Army team and compete for the All-Armed Forces National Championship.
Though the Army finished behind the All-Air Force team, Whitmore scored a high of 334.
Being a member of the 82nd Abn. Div. garnered a lot of attention at the national tournament, where he said, other competitors checked out his maroon beret and shiny jump boots.
"Just being selected from this organization and being able to represent this organization, that to me, in itself, was an accomplishment," said Whitmore. "It's a lot of pride and a lot of history."
Because Whitmore's father was an 82nd Abn. Soldier, he grew up knowing that he wanted to join the division, in spite of sometimes considering work as a golf instructor.
"Teaching golf and raising a Family doesn't go hand-in-hand," said Whitmore who joined the Army because of its benefits and job security.
Whitmore has continued to play golf in the evenings after work and primarily on weekends. In the early days of learning the game, he would hit as many as 1,000 golf balls a day, he said. He transferred the skills he acquired as a young baseball player to his golfing game and worked hard to sharpen those skills.
"I was dedicated. I make it work," he said.
According to Whitmore, there were 70 applicants for the Army tryouts. He qualified by keeping his score in the low 70s. His swing, he said, averages about 117 miles per hour.
Whitmore remains committed to golf, often using it as a form of rehabilitation from bicep tears and four surgeries undergone within the past year. The game is a stress reliever that helps him to stay mentally focused.
"Golf was an added incentive that actually helped with my recovery," Whitmore said. "But, my longevity in the Army is what drove me."
There is the definite possibility of returning to competition in next year's All-Armed Forces National Tournament.
"It was awesome being up there, representing the 82nd (Airborne Division)," said Whitmore. "I had an amazing time."