Jamie Winslow co-founded Salute Military Golf Association in 2006 with childhood friend and former PGA Tour player Jim Estes. As life-long golf buddies, the two recognized the therapeutic and rehabilitative power of the sport and set out to improve the quality of life of post-9/11 wounded war veterans. SMGA provides pro golf experiences and family-inclusive golf opportunities to wounded war heroes and incorporates the healing power of music in many of their events. SMGA maintains a strong warrior presence at Hootie and the Blowfish Monday After the Masters, and Darius Rucker, Branford Marsalis, Rascal Flatts, Edwin McCain and Amy Grant – not to mention President George W. Bush have all supported SMGA in one way or another.
Jamie is also Senior Director of Government Affairs at Sumitomo Corporation of America and chairman of the board of directors of the Rock Creek Foundation for Mental Health. Jamie was named to George Washington University’s “All-Decade Golf Team” for the 1980s and has run in and completed five Marine Corps Marathons.
Music has the power to mend; it can offer us an escape from our daily reality; and just a few well-placed chords have the ability to elicit our deepest, rawest emotions. Even if you’ve never thought of music primarily as a tool for healing, there’s no mistaking that countless artists have used song to work through lost loves, addictions, and sorrows. Music also has the ability to transport us in space and time. Each of us, I’m sure, can associate a specific song or lyric with a particular person, place, or time in their life. Fight songs and love songs, opposing sides of the musical coin, carry within them the capacity to strike passion even in the coldest of hearts.
Golf has the power to mend; it can offer us an escape from our daily reality; and just a few strokes have the ability to elicit our deepest, rawest emotions. You’ve probably never thought of golf as a tool for healing, but the Salute Military Golf Association (SMGA), the non-profit I co-founded, incorporates the game of golf into the mental and physical rehabilitation programs of post-9/11 wounded and injured warriors. For the past eight years, we’ve used the serenity of the golf course to offer more than 2000 veterans an opportunity to both heal and escape their battlefield injuries, whether mental or physical. And for anyone who has ever faced one, a downhill four-foot putt has the capacity to make even the coolest of us sweat.
What if these two vehicles, music and golf could be combined? That is the idea behind the Hootie and the Blowfish Monday After the Masters. Each year, Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday and the Del Monte Corporation invites as many as twelve SMGA warriors to take part in this unique eventâ€”a weekend of golf and music. It’s an experience that offers more healing and rehabilitation in a few short days than the band members, companies, artists, and golf professionals could ever imagine.
I’ve had the opportunity to make this trip on more than one occasion. Before a packed house, there, I was able to make my House of Blues karaoke debutâ€”a completely tone deaf version of Billy Idol’s Rebel Yell. Thank god, Edwin McCain bailed me out by following close behind me with his Top-5 hit “I’ll Be.” But the Monday After the Masters wasn’t designed for me to experience the dream of being a rock star. It was created to support underprivileged kids, and through SMGA’s partnership with several great companies and the band itself, our nation’s wounded war heroes.
One comes back from the Monday After the Masters a changed person. I received the following note from a warrior who attend this year’s experience. “…one of the highlights for me was being recognized prior to the National Anthem. Being able to say that I sang the Anthem with Darius Rucker is a memory I’ll never forget. Meeting Darius and presenting him with my retirement coin was the absolute memory of a lifetime.”
Music and golf…escape, emotion, and healing.
– Jamie Winslow
To learn more: Salute Military Golf Association www.SMGA.org
To be inspired: WATCH
To support SMGA: DONATE
For warrior testimonials: WATCH
SMGA and Jamie Winslow at George W. Bush Institute: WATCH (scroll down a bit)