The Folds of Honor Collegiate touches heart out on the golf course


The leaves are falling and the air is cooling as September comes to an end. As October rolls around, men’s college golf teams from around the country traveled to the old Grand Haven Country Club to play for a different cause. 

The Folds of Honor Collegiate Golf Tournament is a memorial golf event for college golfers from all corners of the U.S. from UCLA to Florida State. This 54-hole competition raises money for individuals affected by the loss of a military family member to help cushion the financial and mental hardships brought on when they died. 

Eighteen teams gathered for this tournament including Virginia Union, Texas Southern, Florida State, UCLA, University of Kentucky, Michigan State University, Central Michigan University, Grand Valley State University, Clemson, Air Force, Army, Navy, University of Illinois, Eastern Michigan, NC State, Liberty, Oregon State, and the University of Arizona. These teams have all different backgrounds covering historically black schools and represent 41% of minorities that receive these scholarships and support that the Folds of Honor offer. 

Because this tournament covers so many different backgrounds of people, some Division II schools get to participate and compete with the best of the best.

“This tournament means we are allowing smaller Division II schools to be able to say we can come and compete and play with the best and the biggest of the boys so it is awesome to be here and we are excited to see where the week takes us,” Virginia Union’s starting player Zaccheus Spann said with pride. 

Alongside the smaller schools that got to show their grit, the military teams that showed up to play had a deeper meaning to playing due to the impact that fallen soldiers have on them being connected to service forces. 

“Obviously being a service academy, we are touched by the military every day. I think some schools get the exposure to what the Folds of Honor is and what it really means to in the military and in military families which is awesome,” said coach Tyler Goulding of the Air Force Academies. 

Dan Rooney, the creator of this event, spoke alongside Tom Izzo about what got him thinking about starting this tournament and why he went for it despite not knowing the impact it would have. 

“If you listen to what is in your heart and have the courage to go, great things will happen in your life, and the same thing goes for this situation right here as we live by my sang of ‘Go before you are ready’ walking into this idea not knowing exactly what would happen,” Rooney stated. “Everything that we work for here all culminates with this event.”

As stated before, Big Ten basketball coach Tom Izzo also made an appearance at the event. With Michigan State University being the host of this event, Tom Izzo spoke about how the whole experience of the course and what the opportunity to talk in the opening speech meant to him.

“Well, Dan Rooney and Kacey Lubon were the ones to get the ball rolling. Kacey started this and Dan joined but of all things I was going to get to play this course with Jack Nicklaus and it was during COVID. So then I played it myself and then did end up playing with Jack up in Grand Blanc where I really got to know the inside story to this whole thing and when you see all of that and how much work it took to put it all together and then being able to be a little small part of it because Jack couldn’t make it today, is a thrill for me,” Michigan State legend Tom Izzo said.

With all the emotions in the air, everyone on and off the course felt the power of the Folds of Honor and what the idea stands behind to move people of all backgrounds to support those who are going through some of the worst feelings one can have. Although the tournament only lasted three days, the lasting impact of the organization will forever be one to appreciate and support because you never know what you have until it is gone.