Folds of Honor: Past PGA Prez now heads golf partnerships

Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports /
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PGA of America’s Allen Wronowski guides golf’s Folds of Honor tourneys.

With the nation celebrating Memorial Day weekend, it seems appropriate to mention a golf-related cause that has the backing of the PGA of America: Folds of Honor.

“The PGA got involved with the Folds of Honor right from the start,” said former PGA President Allen Wronowski in an interview done at the 2017 PGA Show. “I was secretary of the PGA.”

PGA of America officers serve two-year terms, and they typically rise to the next office every two years, starting as secretary of the organization and then ending as president.  At that juncture, the officers stay on the PGA of America board for a period of time.

According to Wronowski, he and other PGA officers, including Brian Whitcomb, were invited to a tournament in Michigan organized by Major Dan Rooney to support the family of a fallen veteran.  In addition to being a part of the Air National Guard, Rooney is a PGA of America member, and he presented his idea for a national golf event to the PGA officers.

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Because Rooney is a PGA member, the officers decided to provide some pro-active assistance to Rooney’s cause and send out information to the membership, hoping many would want to participate in this new Labor Day event to raise funds for Folds of Honor.

Then, six months later, Rooney spoke to 350 delegates attending the PGA annual meeting.  The delegates and officers decided to get behind the organization, formally, and to support Rooney in his efforts.

“Dan talked about wanting to expand this thing and looking for regional people,” Wronowski added, and that’s how he became more involved.  Then, when Wronowski retired from his post at Hillendale Country Club, where he was an assistant golf professional, head golf professional and then director of golf over a 34-year span, he became Director of Golf Development and Relations for Folds of Honor.

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You may have heard him on public service announcements for Folds of Honor on PGA Tour Radio.

Wronowski said his friends tell him, “I love hearing you, but you’ve got tape another one!”  That’s because they air quite frequently during the day.

“Our big promotion is for Patriot Golf Day on Labor Day weekend, but during the year, any day is a great day to be a patriot,” Wronowski insisted. In other words, if Labor Day doesn’t work for you, your course or your members, just find a time that does.

For instance, he added, in warm climates, there may not be as many people around on Labor Day. Another weekend may be better.

“If they want to do it in January, that’s fine.  If they want to do it Memorial Day, that’s great. If you want to do it on a Tuesday because it fits with your club schedule, that’s fine,” he added.

According to Wronowski, there are more than 450 one-day or multiple-day events and more than 3000 facilities that do some kind of a fund-raiser. With between 14,000 and15,000 courses in the U.S., they have a few to go when it comes to 100 percent participation.

“We’re going to get there at some point,” Wronowski said with confidence.

However, as Wronowski explained, just as not every Folds of Honor/ Patriot Day golf tournament is on Labor Day, not every fund-raiser is a golf tournament. It may be a collection taken for Folds or Honor, an auction, a raffle, any number of different events participate.

“We have given out over 12,000 scholarships,” Wronowski said. “Last year alone we gave out over 2800.”

The good news is it’s really working. Whatever the event, to date, the non-profit has raised $50 million to benefit the educational needs of spouses and children of the country’s fallen and disabled service personnel, Wronowski noted.

With Memorial Day front and center, the day which is set aside to remember those who died in service to the country, it’s a wonderful time to organize an event for Labor Day or to get your team together for a Labor Day event, whether at your course or the club down the road.

Next: Q and A with Erin Hills designer Michael Hurdzan

If you can’t get your course to do one where you play golf, you can register individually or as a group to play at a course nearby where they do have one.  You can even start your own Folds of Honor fund-raising tournament.