For over 10 years, On Course Foundation has provided a path back into society for military veterans who are wounded, injured or sick. Through the game of golf, they have helped countless service members find a job and greater quality of life.

Dating back to 1776, July 4th is a celebration of American Independence. Flags rise high, fireworks grace skies and all things baseball and apple pie dominate the landscape.

Group this holiday with Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day and other patriotic commemorations, and the military inherently comes to mind.

On Course Foundation has tied golf and service members in much the same way. Case in point:  This past Memorial Day weekend, 12 injured service members, through On Course Foundation, worked at the PGA TOUR’s Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas.  On July 4th, qualifying On Course Foundation members will be practicing like never before to compete in the upcoming U.S. Adaptive Open.  And on Veteran’s Day, the organization will conduct an online auction for foursomes at famous golf courses coast to coast.

For the past 10 years, On Course Foundation has helped wounded, injured and sick military veterans use golf to facilitate their transitions back into society. 

Thousands of On Course Foundation members have benefited from its golf education and career services.  Exhibiting profound changes of character, they are placed in part- and full-time jobs with Callaway, Invited (formerly ClubCorp), Marriott Vacations, TaylorMade, Topgolf, TPC Network and other golf companies, golf courses, clubs and resorts.

Members also learn playing skills with many achieving low, single-digit handicaps and qualifying for the annual Simpson Cup where U.K. and U.S. teams square off in Ryder Cup-style matches.  This year’s edition is at Baltusrol Golf Club, host to countless major tournaments, in Springfield, New Jersey, August 28-31.

At the Charles Schwab Challenge – like other events dotting the PGA TOUR calendar, including The Masters and the Open Championship – active and retired veterans took part in an array of tournament operations and agronomic jobs. Their assignments align with the organization’s mission to use golf as a vehicle for physical and mental recovery, and harvest newfound confidence into careers in golf.

“By giving our members on-the-job training, tournaments and sponsors are all about giving back to their communities and those who sacrifice their lives for our freedoms,” says John Simpson, Founder and Chairman of On Course Foundation. 

“Service members get their feet in companies’ doors to demonstrate their unparalleled work ethic, dedication and commitment to the sport and business of golf,” says Shauna Snyder, a 35-year military veteran who directs employment placement for On Course Foundation.

The organization’s National Programs Director, John Goudie, is also a military veteran who suffered multiple injuries during his 2012 tour of Afghanistan, including losing his left leg and the ability to lift his right arm.  Unbelievably, he returned to the rigors and risks of active duty as a member of the Special Forces. However, his debilitations became too much to manage and, after earning his bronze stars, his active military status ended for good in 2016.

Suffering from PTSD and the effects of over 50 surgeries, Goudie turned to partying and drinking to temporarily relieve his anger, but he knew that he needed to change his path.  Even though he knew little about golf and had never picked up a club, on a whim, Goudie attended an On Course Foundation event and became hooked.

He began playing regularly and absorbing as much information as possible about the golf world, eventually even attending the Golf Academy of America to obtain a degree in business management. 

On Course Foundation placed Goudie with Edwin Watts as a club-fitter and, powering off only one leg and an incapacitated right arm, he miraculously earned a 4.5 handicap in his first five years on the links.

“On Course Foundation and golf gave me a career path I thought would never be possible,” said Goudie.  “It also helped strengthen relationships with my wife, kids, and other family members, a dream profession in golf and financial stability.”

Today, as National Programs Director for the organization, Goudie is proud to give back to the organization. He said his passion for the job comes from helping others who are facing seemingly insurmountable obstacles to discover new passions and thrive.

Goudie said, “when you love what you’re doing, be it professionally or on the course, it isn’t work.”

To learn more about the On Course Foundation, which currently conducts free programs in 15 states, or to contribute to its annual fundraising campaign, click here.

Caitlin Moyer

Caitlin Moyer has been hacking and hoping since she was 10. Over the course of her career in the sports industry, she's had the chance to play the game with LPGA, MLB and NBA players, as well as NASCAR drivers and celebrities, but her favorite playing partner is her dad (even though he is a stick). Inventor and sole practitioner of the one-flap™ golf swing (patent pending).