The SMGA's mission is to provide rehabilitative golf experiences and family-inclusive golf opportunities for post-9/11 wounded war veterans in an effort to improve the quality of life for these American heroes. The SMGA believes the rehabilitative benefits of golf can improve the mental and physical condition of each and every post-9/11 wounded warrior.
What the SMGA has accomplished so far:
Equipped more than 500 wounded warriors with properly fitted golf clubs;
Offered free lessons to nearly 1,000 combat-wounded veterans;
Enabled the rehabilitative benefits of golf to improve the mental and physical condition of every veteran who has participated in a SMGA golf program;
Provided wounded warriors with individualized player development programs--offering golf clinics, personal lessons, specialized equipment, and golf experiences.
SMGA Wounded Warrior Tim Lang
Talks About How Golf Saved his Life
Meet Brian "Ski" Donarski
Meet Ramon Padilla
The SMGA Team
Jim Estes, Co-Founder, SMGA, is currently the PGA Director of Golf Instruction at Olney Golf Park in Olney, MD. He has taught and played professionally since 1988. Jim earned his PGA Class A membership in 1993, and he has worked with some of the most accomplished instructors in the game of golf, including: Mike Adams, Jim Flick, David Leadbetter, and Jim Suttie. Jim's playing achievements include: earning exempt status on the PGA TOUR and recording two top 15 finishes in 1998; playing in 5 major championships (4 U.S. Opens and 1 PGA Championship); and a win on the Nationwide Tour. Jim's most rewarding teaching accomplishment has been the founding of the Salute Military Golf Association (SMGA) and teaching unilateral amputee Sean Lewis how to break a score of 100 in just 3 months. Jim received the President's Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition's Community Leadership Award in 2011, was presented with the PGA of America's 2010 Patriot Award, was chosen as one of the top 50 instructors in America by Golf Range Magazine in 2008, and was one of 12 individuals honored with GOLF Magazine's 2007 Innovator Awards.
James Winslow, Co-Founder, Chairman, SMGA, is currently the Senior Director of Government Affairs for the Sumitomo Corporation of America. Mr. Winslow played Division I golf at The George Washington University and was elected to its “All-Decade Team” for the 1980s. Mr. Winslow has extensive board experience with non-profit institutions, presently serving as the Chairman of the Rock Creek Foundation and as a member of the Conference Board's Community and Public Issues Council. Mr. Winslow holds an MBA in Finance and Investments and a BA in Psychology from the George Washington University.
Brian Finan, President, can be contacted at 301.332.8961 for additional information on SMGA clinics, programs, and tournaments.
Darin Ayers, Vice President, has spent the last 15 years in the field of international and domestic logistics. A graduate of the University of Maryland at College Park, Mr. Ayres has held various positions within several large international transportation firms. Currently a sales contractor for FedEx Custom Critical, Mr. Ayres partners with the Department of Defense and the federal government in regard to their logistics needs. In 2007, he was awarded the exclusive “5 Star” award by FedEx Custom Critical, and he also achieved “President’s Club” status in 2009. Mr. Ayres, a U.S. military history enthusiast, coordinates the SMGA's equipment program.
Peter B. Bechtel, Secretary, is the Deputy Director, Army Plans and Policy, and Director, Army Nuclear and Chemical Agency, Headquarters, Department of the Army. As an Army Infantry Officer, Mr. Bechtel had a variety of leadership and staff experiences including deployments to Latin America and the Persian Gulf. Mr. Bechtel also served as a Special Assistant to the White House. He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy, West Point, and holds a Master of Public Administration degree from Cornell University. His awards and decorations include the Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge, Ranger Tab, and Airborne and Air Assault Badges.
Charles J. Eggleston is a retired OIF-OEF wounded war veteran of the U.S. Army. He was a U.S Army soldier and a Wounded Warrior in Transition (WIT) at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC), where he received treatment for 3 ½ years. SSgt. Eggleston is a Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient. SSgt. Eggleston served under the 11th Special Forces Unit and the 818th Combat Brigade, and while in combat in Iraq, he served under the 107th Army Calvary Regiment, the 3rd Special Forces Unit, the 25th Infantry Division, and the 17th Airborne Division. Currently, Mr. Eggleston is President and CEO of Three Seven Consulting, Inc., and serves as the Commander for the Military Order of the Purple Heart for the State of Maryland. He is also on the board of directors for Blue Star Families and In Honor of Our Troops. He also serves as a delegate member of the Maryland Joint Veterans Committee for the State of Maryland.
Chris Johnson has spent 16 years as an executive level media and broadcasting professional with experience as a manager, producer and on-air talent. Most recently, he was the co-host of the “Mike Wise Show” and the host of the “19th Hole” golf radio show on WJFK 106.7 FM in Washington, DC. From 2000 to 2008, Mr. Johnson served as Program Director and Executive Producer for WTEM-AM in DC. There he was responsible for overseeing all operations for the station including programming and marketing. He has also worked in a number of different capacities in the broadcasting world including as the Executive Producer for Washington Redskins games and as a producer on Super Bowls, Final Fours, and NCAA Bowl games.
Contact the SMGA
The Salute Military Golf Association (SMGA)
Attn.: Ms. Gretchen Hamm
P.O. Box 83893
Gaithersburg, MD 20883
Phone: 301-500-7449 email@example.com
Former U.S. Army Specialist Sean Lewis; this picture, taken at Olney Golf Park, by Craig Walker, Denver Post, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.