The Patriot Golf Club & Major Dan Rooney Interview

We’re here in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with our very
special guest, Major Dan Rooney. Dan, how you doing today?>>It is a great day to be an American.>>Absolutely, couldn’t agree with you more. We’re here at the Patriot Golf Club, as well
as the Folds of Honor HQ. Describe the dynamic between the two identities.>>Well, it was 10 years ago that God put
a vision in my heart to build great golf for the greater good, and the unique thing about
the Patriot Golf Club is it’s colocated with the Folds of Honor. The Folds of Honor mission is to provide scholarships
for spouses and children who’ve had someone killed or disabled. Since our inception, we’ve awarded over 16,000
scholarships and north of $100 million raised, and this is truly unique in the game of golf
’cause it is great golf for the greater good.>>This place is very, very special, very
unique. Describe kind of the uniqueness of Folds of
Honor, what you guys do, as well, at the Patriot.>>Well, I think it really comes together
every day out here at 1300, which, for the nonmilitary, is 1:00, and my background’s
unique as a PGA golf professional and also a fighter pilot, to be able to bring those
two things together. But every day at 1300, we play taps, and the
bell tower tolls 13 times, signifying the 13 folds that bring the flag to its triangle
shape, and the entire club shuts down. Hats are off. Mandatory — exit the clubhouse. We look out at the 17th tee and the great
American flag out there, and we reflect on the fact that freedom is not free.>>You guys do a lot of good for military
veterans and their families. Go into that and how you guys help each other.>>Yeah, there’s no doubt there’s great golf
around this country, and this is the most patriotic golf course in America. We have an amazing event on Memorial Day that
brings together some of the greatest golfers in the world, from Corey Pavin, Tom Lehman,
Craig Stadler, Rickie Fowler — all these guys come in, and they play alongside of our
military heroes, guys that have been downrange and done some of the most heroic work in the
world. Rob O’Neill comes, who’s the Navy SEAL that
actually killed Osama bin Laden, and we get together and we celebrate the true meaning
of Memorial Day, and that is when we honor those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice
for our freedoms. And we understand, without that holiday in
this country, there are—-no other holidays. And just a unique day for us, but 365 days
a year, we are free. We understand that at the Patriot Golf Club. Each hole out here bears the name of a great
patriot, from George Washington to Jackie Robinson to Chuck Yeager, Dwight D. Eisenhower,
and it literally is like walking through the history of these individuals who have made
great contributions to this country. That epitomizes the ethos of the Patriot Golf
Club. As I mentioned, it’s great golf for the greater
good, and people come here to play golf, but they understand that there’s a much deeper
meaning at this club.>>You guys have an amazing complex, amazing
golf course, amazing facilities, Folds of Honor right here. Describe the people around you. Walking through this place, everybody says
hello. Everybody shakes your hand. Everybody just asks, “How are you doing?” Right? Tell me a little bit about the dynamic between
the people.>>Well, I always say, you know, we’re in
Owasso, Oklahoma, right? So God and country are alive and well here,
and it permeates the people. You know, our village here, we’re brought
together by those core values. And you see that, and you experience that
warm “flyover state” hospitality, right, at a place that everybody’s proud to be associated
with. And I think that, when guests come in, you
get that patriotic hospitality here that’s unlike any other place in America.>>What you guys are doing here is very, very
profound, and it’s giving me goose bumps just talking about it, not to mention being involved
in it. So we really appreciate you letting us come
out here, standing in your office in the Folds of Honor HQ, checking out the golf course. It’s been an amazing experience.>>Well, we are blessed to have you guys here
from “Golf Life,” and there is a fighter-pilot tradition — As we discussed, I’m a PGA golf
professional, and I’m a fighter pilot, still flying fast jets for freedom. And we have a tradition, which is the military
coin. And we give those to our great wingmen, and
it’s an honor to spend time with you, and thanks for sharing this story on behalf of
our 20,000 recipients.>>Very appreciative. Thank you very much.

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