NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. – As part of the PGA TOUR’s long-standing support for our military, the Barbasol Championship will collaborate with Birdies for the Brave and the non-profit Kentucky Wounded Heroes (KWH) to host a variety of military outreach and appreciation activities throughout tournament week. From club-fitting for two wounded veterans, a fundraiser at the Blue Grass Sportsmen’s Club, free tickets on Military Day to military members and first responders to a Blackhawk flyover prior to the first tee shot, the first-year Central Kentucky event has a host of activities it plans to employ.
“As we’ve said all along, the biggest impact the Barbasol Championship will have on Kentuckians is through its charitable giving,” said Brooks Downing, Executive Director of the event. “Likewise, honoring those who have faithfully served us, both home and abroad, both military and first responders, is vitally important. Our team has partnered with the PGA TOUR to implement a number of initiatives that fully embrace this effort.”
In addition to the many activities, one of the more popular players on the PGA TOUR is Billy Hurley III, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. Hurley, who is among the field for the Barbasol Championship, has played on the TOUR since 2012, winning the Quicken Loans National in 2016. He has totaled more than $5 million in career earnings. His caddie is Berea-native Clay Duerson, who Kentucky fans may know was the former UK Wildcat mascot from 2001-05. Duerson has been caddying since 2009.
Scheduled to be held July 16-22 at Champions at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, the Barbasol Championship’s military appreciation activities will kick off on Tuesday, July 17, when it plays host to a Callaway Warrior Club Fitting at the practice facility. Two wounded heroes from Kentucky will have an opportunity to be fitted with their own set of custom golf clubs. The program is designed to aid in the rehabilitation process as well as express gratitude to military members for their service and sacrifice. Participating in the fitting will be Purple Heart recipients Brett Bondurant and Nicholas Buchhaas.
U.S. Army SPC Bondurant was six months into his first deployment as a mine sweeper with the 25th infantry division out of Fort Wainwright, Alaska, in Khandar Province, Afghanistan, when his sweeper did not detect an IED and he stepped on a pressure plate. The explosion resulted in the loss of both legs, near amputation of his left arm and a broken right hand and wrist. Medically retired, he credits golf with helping him stay on his feet, enjoy the outdoors, and heal both mentally and physically. Joining him in the fitting will be medically retired U.S. Marine Corps CPL Nicholas Buchhaas. While on deployment to Afghanistan just 10 hours prior to his first child being born, he was injured in two serious IED blasts. The second, more severe blast left him with TBI, PTSD, shrapnel wounds, and lower back injuries resulting in numbness in his extremities. According to Buchhaas, playing golf gives him peace of mind and provides him with the competitiveness he enjoyed playing sports prior to his injuries.
Also on Tuesday, the Barbasol Championship will play host to its first “Pars X Pigeons,” a sporting clays shooting event hosted by the Blue Grass Sportsmen’s League in which each team entered will be paired with a hero or PGA TOUR golfer. The event will be held from noon to 5 p.m., with proceeds benefiting KWH – a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to honoring and empowering the emotional wellness of military service members, police, fire, and emergency medical responders through outdoor activities, programs and services. The organization provides opportunities for these heroes to hunt, fish, travel and reconnect with nature’s healing properties. Four-man shooting teams are priced at $1,500 and the fee includes lunch and a gift package. Portions of the fee will be tax deductible. To enter the Pars X Pigeons event or for more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Wednesday, the Barbasol Championship will provide local military members with the opportunity to caddie for PGA TOUR players on the 18th hole during the Pro-Am, as part of the Birdies for the Brave Military Caddie Program. The program offers active duty military personnel a unique inside-the-ropes experience during a professional golf championship, while enabling PGA TOUR players to personally extend their gratitude to those who proudly serve our country.
The tournament has designated Thursday as “Heroes Day” at the Barbasol Championship. All active duty and Reserve military members, military retirees and their dependents, as well as first responders, can enjoy complimentary tournament admission that day. Guests may obtain complimentary military tickets by visiting www.barbasolchampionshipky.com/tickets, having their military or first responder status verified, and then downloading a ticket voucher. The ticket vouchers must be presented at the gate along with a Department of Defense-issued ID or Photo ID for admission. A $1 verification fee will be charged for each ticket downloaded. From Friday through Sunday, military members and first responders can receive a 20% discount on tickets with the same registration procedure required.
The tournament officially gets underway on Thursday with a Military Appreciation Ceremony featuring a flyover by a Black Hawk helicopter, guest speakers, and the National Anthem performed by Kentucky-native Marlana VanHoose. A ceremonial first tee shot by will follow. Also on Thursday, the Barbasol Championship will provide active duty military members with the opportunity to tend the pin flag on the No. 8 hole, which will be replaced by an American flag. In addition, the tournament will welcome military guests and first responders in the Patriots’ Outpost, a military-exclusive hospitality venue located adjacent to the No. 8 hole. The venue will be open every day from Thursday through Sunday, offering military guests complimentary food and beverages and premium views of the tournament action.
On Thursday, July 19, and Saturday, July 21, the tournament and Kentucky Wounded Heroes will enable tournament fans to give back by participating in the Patriots’ Parcels program. KWH volunteers will help fans pack snacks, personal items, toiletries and other items for troops stationed overseas.
The Barbasol Championship is Kentucky’s only PGA TOUR event. It will be played the same weekend as the British Open, and will be broadcast live each evening on Golf Channel. The tournament is one of only 45 regular-season tournaments before the FedExCup Playoffs.