GIVE Scramble at Blue Top Ridge on October 11th

Contact:  Troy Christensen
September 2, 2009
Iowa PGA Section


Golf for Injured Veterans EverywhereRIVERSIDE, Iowa – The GIVE Foundation, which achieved national recognition for its teamwork in bringing together injured veterans, their families and PGA Professionals, will host the first GIVE Scramble at Blue Top Ridge, Sunday, Oct. 11.

The tournament, presented by The Riverside Casino & Golf Resort, will have honorary chairpersons in Champions Tour standout Lonnie Nielsen and his wife, Mary Jo, each natives of Belle Plaine, Iowa.

Earlier this season, Nielsen became the first tour professional to serve as a lead contributor to the GIVE (Golf for Injured Veterans Everywhere) Foundation. Nielsen, 55, a 1976 graduate of the University of Iowa, heads the 2009 “Birdies for Heroes Challenge,” in which he donates $50 for each birdie and $500 for each eagle that he records to the GIVE Foundation. Nielsen’s initiative also received support for the GIVE Foundation from past major champions Larry Nelson and Jerry Pate.

The GIVE Scramble at Blue Top Ridge will feature 28 four-player teams composed of an Iowa PGA Section professional or apprentice along with three veterans who are being treated at the Iowa VA Medical Center in Iowa City, and whom have participated in GIVE program classes. The 18-hole, best-shot event is believed to the first team event of its kind in the country involving wounded veterans.

“What our veterans have given in sacrifice to ensure the freedoms of this country is immeasurable,” said Iowa PGA Section President Steve Hutton. “The GIVE program has been a wonderful sharing experience for our PGA Professionals with both veterans and their families. We are proud to be joining in this first GIVE Scramble at Blue Top Ridge and so pleased to have the support of Tour professional Lonnie Nielsen and his wife, who have set the bar high for supporting veterans everywhere.”

The GIVE Foundation achieved national recognition by The PGA of America and the Veterans Administration for its unique curriculum that blends PGA Professional-led golf instruction and accompanying life lesson support to enhance the mental, social, physical and emotional well-being of veterans.

Nielsen is a member of a GIVE Foundation Advisory Board that includes former Masters Champion Bob Goalby, Champions Tour star Jay Haas; along with former Iowa Governor Robert Ray, former University of Iowa football coach Hayden Fry, former Iowa basketball coach Tom Davis, Iowa wrestling legend Dan Gable; and former Iowa State University basketball coach Johnny Orr.

“It has been a great experience for both me and Mary Jo to support the men and women of our military – patriots who have sacrificed so much for our country,” said Nielsen, a member of the Champions Tour since 2003 and who competed from 1978-83 on the PGA TOUR. “We are excited about the future of the GIVE program and we believe the first GIVE Scramble will be tremendous experience for all participants.

“The veterans competing in this event represent thousands around the country who have found value in the game of golf beyond its recreational and physical attributes. The game has actually played a role in rehabilitating the lives of those same veterans and in many cases restored families.”

The GIVE program is a partnership between the Iowa PGA Professional, the Iowa VA Medical Center and the Riverside Casino & Golf Resort.

Since its founding in 2007, the GIVE program has received more than 400 applications for new students to receive PGA instruction. Louis King of Cedar Rapids, president of the GIVE Foundation, said that the GIVE Scramble at Blue Top Ridge is an effort to provide new golf experiences for veterans.

“We are extremely honored and proud that Lonnie and Mary Jo Nielsen have given their support to this new event, recognizing that it is more than a single veteran who gains from the GIVE experience,” said King. “Lonnie unselfishly led the initiative on Tour to help our veterans and we believe this event – hosted by a great partner in Blue Top Ridge at Riverside and featuring Iowa PGA Professionals – may be the catalyst for future support and new playing opportunities.”

For more information about the GIVE Foundation and the GIVE Scramble at Blue Top Ridge, contact the Iowa PGA Section headquarters 319-648-0026, or e-mail

The GIVE Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) non-for-profit organization, with all donations tax-deductible.

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