For true golf fans, the name is Ben Hogan is all too familiar.
Generally considered one of the greatest players in the history of the game, Hogan’s heart was not only filled with the love of golf, but for children and the military.
After winning 15 tournaments in less than three years, Hogan left the PGA Tour and joined the Army Air Corps in 1942, so it is no surprise that the Ben Hogan Foundation supports the military and their families.
“A lot of people didn’t know that Mr. Hogan had a soft spot for children, or the fact that he was in the military.” said Robert Stennett, executive director of the Ben Hogan Foundation. “That is why this event is true and dear to our foundation in continuation of support of our troops and their families.”
Since 2013, the foundation, in collaboration with the leadership at Fort Hood, created the Ben Hogan Classic, featuring a golf tournament and youth clinic. Patrons faced the cold, rainy weather Friday to participate.
The youth clinic for 5- to 15-year-olds, which usually takes place on the green at the Courses of Clear Creek, moved into the Montague Youth Center gymnasium.
The foundation partnered with the Miles Foundation to provide instructors from The First Tee of Fort Worth. Youth tried their hand through various obstacle courses which taught the kids everything about golf, from birdies to triple bogeys.
“The goal here is to promote the children in the core values Mr. Hogan is known for throughout his career, including perseverance and symmetry,” Stennett said.
The First Tee also gave the kids a lesson of its nine core values — honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy, and judgement through signs lined throughout the gym.
“Our mission at First Tee of Fort Worth is to give these kids and teens a chance to play golf and gain love for the game,” said Kevin Long, executive director of The First Tee. “It gives us great joy to be apart of something like this every year.”
Although the weather was not what many would consider “golf friendly,” it didn’t stop the huge turnout. More than 200 kids participated making it the largest clinic since its first year.
One of the participants was Timber Ridge Elementary kindergartner William Dano, who was accompanied by his retiree father, Bill Dano.
“I had a lot of fun and it’s great to be here,” said the 6-year-old.
“It’s really great that Fort Hood is doing something like this for the kids. I always wanted my children to learn the game of golf,” Dano said. “The kids are able get out of the house and not stuck playing video games.”
“The turnout this year is amazing, and we here at the foundation are grateful,” Stennett said. “I’m pretty sure Mr. Hogan would’ve loved to see it, as well.”