River Oaks Golf Club gives back to local military

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - After the swing, there's a lesson and it's one paid for with service.

Instead of a receipt, a simple "Thank you" is given. But first, a question is asked.

"How are we going to step our game up from chasing veterans around Walmart to say, 'Thank you for your service?' said JC Carbonell.

Both Carbonell and Russ Brown created the Thank You Academy, which gives free golf lessons to active and retired military.

Along with Franklin Bursick, Scott Tanguay and Kevin Hollen, the gratitude first brought a couple dozen vets.

"What about an actual academy, not a clinic, not just something that's pretty much the same every week and they're just hitting golf balls, but an actual academy where they can learn golf?" Carbonell said.

Now, dozens show up.

"This community does a lot for the veterans," said Allen Stempin, a U.S. Marine veteran. "I appreciate what they do for us and I hope it continues. The lessons are fantastic; it's taught us a lot. Now all we need to do is learn to practice it here and take it out there."

Vets like Wayne Christensen and Barry Nicol love what the Academy has done for their game, and community support.

"I'm dropping a few strokes here and there as long as I stay with it," said Christensen. "If I go two to three weeks and don't play, then you can see the scores going back up again."

Coming from a military family, Carbonell just wants to do his part.

"Too much of the country has either forgotten or not been educated on the fact that the extinction of freedom is only one generation away," he said.

Not only does the Golf School of Myrtle Beach offer free lessons every Wednesday, you can see them all in action May 29 for the Folds of Honor Tournament.

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