AUBURN UNIVERSITY – The on-campus Veterans Resource Center will host the first ever Veterans Golf Classic on Wednesday, April 19, 2017, at Moores Mill Club. Community members are invited to form groups of three players for a team to be paired with a student veteran player for the tour- nament. The event will include a lunch and program with special speaker before the shotgun start at 1 p.m. followed by awards at 5:30 p.m.

Kim Evans, Auburn’s winningest retired women’s golf coach, is working with the VRC to host the tournament and a training camp for the student veterans this spring. Evans, in her new position as special assistant in the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, noticed a need for the student veterans on Auburn’s campus to connect with the community.

Through her efforts, a scramble was played on Nov. 3, 2016, at Moores Mill Club and featured a welcome speech from Auburn men’s basketball coach Bruce Pearl. Fourteen student veterans and invited community leaders, including Auburn University Student Government Association President Jesse Westerhouse, played in the event.

Coach Evans invited Buddy Alexander, former championship golf coach at the University of Florida, and Zachary Hutchin- son, a local teaching professional, to help teach six weeks of lessons to give the student veterans the skills they needed before the event.

Evans said how important it is for student veterans, who can feel isolated from the campus due to age and situation, to get invested in the community where they live and work. “They need to get out and make the contacts. I think golf ties you to the community and opens opportunities for friendship and employment,” she said. “It’s a lifetime sport, and these guys just had a lot of fun with it.”

Kyle Venable, student veteran and United States Marine Corps veteran, participated in the fall practice and tournament and said he is very grateful for the program and Coach Evans. “The lessons and friendships made have proven beneficial, both on and off the course,” he said. “It made me more aware of veterans on campus, as well as programs offered through the Veterans Resource Center.”

Evans joined Student Affairs after 21 years of coaching the women’s golf team and winning a battle against ovarian cancer in 2013. She first had the idea to host the tournament and give back to student veterans after writing a book on executive golf skills for students entering the business field. Her decision to bring the program to the Veterans Resource Center has given the student veterans skills to last a lifetime.

“We’re all survivors of some sort,” Evans said. “I didn’t know where I’d end up or find my way, but I have. And it’s neat, I just love working with them.”

For more information on the tournament registration, donations and sponsorships, please visit http://aub.ie/vetsgolf.

Written by Hayley Wright

Last modified: 03/10/2017