By Steve Hart
Hunter Army Airfield Public Affairs

Professional Golf Association golfers took time from preparing to compete in the Savannah Golf Championship to share their knowledge with members of the military community March 26 with five supporting Hunter Golf Course and three at Fort Stewart.

The PGA golfers were among the field of 156 players competing for the $99,000 payout to the tournament's winner in the four-round Tour event at the Deer Creek Golf Course on The Landings March 28 - 31.
"It's an honor to just be able to give back to these guys because we know how much they sacrifice," said Christian Brand, professional golfer who participated in the clinic. "This community really rallies around the local military and being here gives us a sense of perspective on who heroes really are."

Twenty active and retired Service Members turned out at Hunter for the rare opportunity to receive instruction from a PGA player.

The ability level of the participants varied from those brand new to the game to seasoned golfers.

"It was a great opportunity to get input from pros about the bad habits in my swing," said Air Force Tech Sgt. Garry Pertillo with the 165th Airlift Wing. "I learned a few things that will help my game. I now have a better understanding of what to do and can get away from bad techniques that ingrain poor habits," Petrillo, who has never had a formal lesson and learned what he knows from Youtube videos.

Retired noncommissioned officer and amateur golfer, Steve Williams, got something different from the experience. "I really enjoyed speaking with the pros to hear how they play different shots", Williams remarked. "... And then to watch them hit was absolutely amazing."

"It's great that the professionals took time from practicing for the tournament to help out Soldiers," said Capt. Tony Moltz.

Similar responses were expressed at Fort Stewart's event, which had about 30 community members attending.

Golf professional Mark Silvers of Savannah was pleased to be on Fort Stewart and to give tips to Soldiers on improving their golf games.

"The fact that if we can do some things good in the community around us is always great for everybody," Silvers said. "Obviously, our military is incredible. They do so much for us and anything we can give back is a pleasure. The reason we get to do what we do here in the United States is because of our military."

The tips Silvers provided were helpful, said Spc. Blake Majors, 92nd Engineer Battalion.

"They know a lot and know what they're talking about," Majors said. "They see exactly what's wrong with somebody's golf swing so it's easier for them to help you out. (Silvers) told me to do a couple of things and within five or six balls it was just a game changer."

Editor's note: Contributing author Kevin Larson, Fort Stewart Public Affairs.