After growing up in a military family and retiring as a lieutenant colonel from the U.S. Army, Brian Burns wanted to find a way to give back to soldiers and their families.
Burns – Managing Partner of FMI Defense, LLC – launched the Tee 4 Troops program in 2013. The program, which has raised over $1 million to support military families, allows golfers to play for free by waiving greens fees at five Army and Air Force golf courses throughout the U.S., including Gordon Lakes Golf Club at Fort Gordon, Redstone Arsenal in Alabama, and Langley Air Force Base in Virginia. He explains many don’t know these courses are open to the public. “Tee 4 Troops helps promote military golf courses around the country,” he says. “They’re really good golf courses.” Players pay for golf cart rental fees, food, and items from the pro shop, and all the proceeds go to either the Army’s Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation or the Air Force’s Force Support Squadron. Both provide a variety of benefits for families, including child care and recreational opportunities. “Our goal is to get to $100,000 annually to each installation,” Burns states.
The program benefits both military installations and the surrounding communities. “The military provides us with tee times,” Burns says. In exchange, Tee 4 Troops provides a scoreboard (see photo above) valued at $40,000 at each installation. The program also helps to promote businesses near the courses. “We approach businesses in the community and offer them a marketing and advertising opportunity,” he states. For a small advertising fee, businesses can have their signs displayed on the scoreboard. Tee 4 Troops has partnered with several businesses in the CSRA, such as Windsor Jewelers, ATC Development, Busby’s Heating and Air and Twin Peaks. “For the advertisers, it’s a way to get signage directly on a military installation,” adds Burns. These companies also receive business cards called scorecards, which include a coupon for a free round of golf, to give out to their customers and employees.
Busby’s Heating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration – located in Augusta, has also signed up to advertise at Gordon Lakes. “We know that the MWR program helps families of our service members, and we want to do anything we can to help them for their sacrifices as well,” says Jeff Asselin, Busby’s Recruiting and Training Manager. “We plan to have our technicians, comfort consultants (sales), and all other employees give out as many ‘free’ golf cards as possible.”
Burns hopes to bring the program to more military bases and develop more business partnerships. “We’re looking at expanding across the country,” he states.
For more information , visit tee4troops.com. Burns is in town Wednesday and Thursday of the first week of January to discuss partnership opportunities. Call him at 910-603-2365.