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Golf Australia Express : OTG Express 123
Thankfully they aborted their game and quickly tracked down their army uniforms. Perhaps more significant than the physical ties between war and golf is the game’s role in providing those caught up in conflicts a sliver of hope and a moment of simple enjoyment in an otherwise chaotic and traumatic experience. For Allied soldiers held captive in German prisoner of war camps, golf was a light in a very dark place. Often told is the story of Royal Airforce Pilot Sydney Smith, who received a women’s golf club in a parcel while being held in the notorious Stalag Luft II camp. Full of inspiration, but without a ball to help channel it, he fashioned his own ball out of cloth, wood and string, and other prisoners who saw him swinging away at his makeshift missile soon did the same. The prisoners reportedly became so good at creating their improvised equipment that some were able to create balls that were the exact weight and size as required by the Royal and Ancient’s rules. World War I and II folklore is littered with similar stories. While the US Open and The Masters were among the tournaments cancelled while World War II played out, the lust for golf was never stronger than in the places hit hardest and hurt most. Nothing has changed in the past 70 years, and modern soldiers stationed in the Middle East are among the most fervent golf lovers you’ll find anywhere. There are well-serviced charities set up specifically to provide them with the equipment we routinely enjoy as free people back home. At last count, the Bunkers In Baghdad program had sent more than five million golf balls and 250,000 new and used clubs to military bases in Afghanistan and Iraq. Not one of them would fail to find a loving home there. A great deal of Bunkers In Baghdad’s donated equipment never finds its way overseas. Not because the charity isn’t fulfilling its mission, but simply because that equipment is destined for the Wounded Warriors Project, which aids injured war veterans and their families, and a number of golf academies created specifically for veterans whose injuries mean they need to learn to play the game all over again. Most of those men and women have been injured so badly that they’ll never be, or look, the same. They’re amputees, burns victims, wounded by bullets and mentally scarred by the things they’ve seen. OFTEN TOLD IS THE STORY OF ROYAL AIRFORCE PILOT SYDNEY SMITH, WHO RECEIVED A WOMEN’S GOLF CLUB IN A PARCEL WHILE BEING HELD IN THE NOTORIOUS STALAG LUFT II CAMP. BRITISH SAPPER GREG STEVENSON OF THE 24 ENGINEER COMMANDO UNIT, LOST HIS LEGS SERVING IN AFGHANISTAN.
OTG Express 122
OTG Express 124