Matt Biddington, PGA head golf professional at Legends Golf Resort, discusses how a philanthropic group of area golf professionals became known as the Myrtle Beach Patriots – and how their efforts are making an enormous impact on behalf of Folds of Honor. See why Matt gets so heavily involved, and how you can, too.
So about five or six years ago, Jimmy Biggs, our current head professional at Pine Lakes, started this initiative raising money for the Folds of Honor. He, along with Mike Benson and a couple of the guys up on the North End, started the 100-hole marathon and kind of coined the term “Myrtle Beach PGA Patriots.”
They did that pretty much with just that group for a couple of years, and then about two or three years ago it just really blew up down here. We now have 20-plus local PGA professionals that are a part of the team and raising money for the Folds.
Patriot Golf Weekend is Labor Day weekend every year. What we’ve established here in Myrtle Beach starts Friday night at Barefoot Resort Convention Center. We have a dinner auction and raffle. Major Ed Polito, who was a cofounder of the Folds of Honor, has been our speaker for last year as well as this year. We’ll have a recipient family come in and tell their story and it’s all emceed by us, so that kind of starts it off.
Saturday we have “the Battle for Glory,” which is a Ryder Cup-style shotgun tournament this year being held at the Thistle Golf Course. It’s three-on-three match play, so it’s Team Stars versus Team Stripes. All for the trophy, which is called Glory. So the Battle for Glory and the whole weekend kind of culminates with all of us playing 100 holes of golf on that Sunday, and it’s just become a great weekend. It’s getting more and more popularity and we love it.
So as PGA professionals, we are partners with the Folds of Honor. So year after year I kind of see these stories and meet these families and it just got to the point, I’ve always done a smaller fundraiser here at the Legends Resort and my members are huge supporters of our initiative. But a couple years ago I just decided to really ramp it up, and I’m blessed to have the resources to raise a lot of money for our team and I just couldn’t do it with all my friends, family members, resort guests and golf groups here from the Legends. It’s really become a great thing.
It means everything. It’s 100 percent the reason why I do it. Meeting these families and seeing these kids that are getting these scholarships. It’s heartwarming. Year after year we’ve provided over 20,000 scholarships since the Folds of Honor inception, and it’s just something that has become near and dear to my heart, and I just hope to continue to maximize the fundraising here in Myrtle Beach and nationally, if I can.
In terms of fundraising, there are several different ways. I’m pretty sure that all of the PGA professionals have something set up at their pro shops so that you can take a direct donation there. A bulk of the fundraising is done through our Folds of Honor Web page. You can also go pretty much to any one of our Facebook pages and we’ll have links posted over the next month. And so that’s where a lot of it’s done. The Battle for Glory, Friday night at Barefoot, all of that is a part of it.
Last year we raised just over $105,000. This year our goal is $130,000, and we hope to continue on that road and just kind of inch our way towards $1 million.