CLIFTON PARK -- Edison Club golf pro Brad Gardner will spend his Sept. 11 golfing from dawn until dusk while raising money to give to the families of veterans.
The Edison Club and Gardner will host their second annual Patriot Golf Day with the intention of raising thousands of dollars for veterans charity Folds of Honor, which raises money for and provides educational scholarships to the families of soldiers who have died or been injured while serving in the military.
This year, during his golf-a-thon, Gardner's goal will be to complete 200 holes on the club's course. Last year, he said, he hit 171. He'll start his day on the course at dawn and keep going until he can't see, he said. The earlier start time could possibly give him an advantage, he said.
"We'll see how that goes," he said. "The charity is really why I'm doing it."
Last year, according to Gardner, the event raised over $22,000 for Folds of Honor. People can either donate money per hole that Gardner hits, or donate a flat rate.
Last year, he said, since people didn't know how many holes he would ultimately hit, there was a larger number of per-hole donations. This year, since the event is not new, people have been pledging flat sums instead.
"I think we definitely exceeded people's expectations last year," he said.
Out of last year's 194 donations, 190 of them were made by club members. This year, Gardner said, the club has been doing outreach about the event ahead of time, including television and newspaper appearances, to try to bring in more members of the public.
"You see a big opportunity like that, if I can keep that up and get the public involved a little bit, that's really what we went after this year," he said.
Veterans charities are something that Gardner has been interested in for years, he said, and he learned specifically about Folds of Honor from Ron Ireland, the manager of the Saratoga Golf and Polo Club at a PGA meeting a few years ago. He decided immediately that he wanted to learn more about the organization and how he could help raise money.
"It just seemed like something I needed to get involved in, and wanted to get involved with," he said. This year, about 86 percent of proceeds donated will go directly to the organization.
Last year, a few people moved around the course with Gardner to watch him golf, which is allowed this year as well, but mostly the day will simply consist of him making his way across the course until he can't anymore. Donations for the charity are accepted year-round, and donors can contribute money for the golf-a-thon right up until he completes his last hole, but ultimately, Gardner said, the day has little to do with his golfing prowess, and everything to do with raising awareness, and money, for families who need help.
"They do such good work there. It's pretty cool what they do, and who they do it for. I think this is a really good opportunity to provide for the veterans' families," he said.
Those interested in donating can visit www.foldsofhonor.org and search for Gardner's donation page under the Patriot Golf Day tab online.