08/30/2011 11:02 am ET Updated Oct 30, 2011

Become a Patriot: Play Golf This Weekend

This Labor Day weekend Americans have a compelling and easy way to pay tribute to the sacrifices of military veterans and their families. You can play golf. Yes, you read this correctly -- go out and play golf. It may seem like a disconnect to associate patriotism and helping military families through golf, but this effort is real, it's national and it's truly awe inspiring to see thousands upon thousands of golfers unite to salute those who have given life and limb in service to our country, and to ensure their families are cared for.

The event is Patriot Golf Day, the largest annual grassroots golf event in the country. The idea behind it is simple: during Labor Day weekend (September 2-5), golfers across the country can add $1 or more to their greens fees.

From that humble ask, more than $8.9 million has been raised over the past four years to help more than 2,100 military families through the Folds of Honor Foundation, a national nonprofit organization that provides scholarships and other educational assistance to the children and spouses of fallen and disabled service members.

This year more than 4,000 golf courses across the country will participate in the effort. President George W. Bush will once again serve as Honorary Chairman and kick off Patriot Golf Day during a special event in Dallas, Texas on Thursday, September 1.

The needs of military families are great, as there are more than 250,000 dependents of fallen and wounded military service men and women from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts alone, and 87 percent of those dependents do not qualify for federal educational assistance. 87 percent. That figure is shocking. We can do better. We must do better.

Patriot Golf Day allows us to present an ongoing tribute to our brave service members by ensuring that the families of fallen and wounded warriors have hope for the right educational start to life and best future possible.

Our effort is jointly supported by The PGA of America and the United States Golf Association. We count many great companies as mission partners, including Anheuser-Busch, Budweiser, Titleist, Pinnacle, AHEAD, Inc., Bushnell, Golf Channel, POLO GOLF, Golf Pride, Lifelock and Pima Direct.

So do your part. Become A Patriot. Join the Mission. Play golf this weekend.

To find a participating course near you or to learn more about how you can help, visit