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The Simpson Cup 2018 – Team USA – Andrew Smith
American Golfer Andrew Smith tells us about the On Course Foundation and taking part in the US v UK Tournament for injured servicemen and veterans
Thank you for talking to The American magazine about the On Course Foundation and the upcoming Simpson Cup. First of all, can you tell us where in the States you're from?
I am from Apison, TN.
How did you become involved with the On Course Foundation, and the upcoming Simpson Cup?
I became involved with the On Course Foundation this past spring. I attended my first event at Dataw Island in one of the qualifiers for the Simpson Cup. I first heard about the On Course Foundation and its mission a couple years ago from another veteran golfer and wanted to become involved at some point. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to participate at Dataw, meet all the other veterans and be a part of the On Course Foundation and the Simpson Cup.
What does being involved in the organization mean to you, and how has it helped you personally?
As a veteran who loves the game of golf and has used it as a means of recovery, being involved with the organization has meant the world. Personally, the Simpson Cup has been a goal that has kept me motivated to continue to get better, and grow in my knowledge of the game. Now that I am involved with the On Course Foundation I am in a better position to use my involvement to help other veterans that have played golf or are new to the game to use it as a means of recovery.
With awareness of the needs of veterans and servicemen and women always growing, how does it feel to be part of a competition which both raises awareness as well as offers an opportunity for veterans to compete?
It feels great to be a part of the Simpson Cup on a number of levels. On a personal level it feels great because it has been something that I have worked towards ever since I first learned about the Simpson Cup and the competition. As a veteran golfer it feels great because it allows me to show other veterans what the game of golf has done for me and hopefully what it can do for other veterans who need something to help with recovery. But from a broader perspective I think what the Simpson Cup does is show the broader public some of the sacrifices that have been made in service to our country, and also show how much people can overcome adversity. Because of the Simpson Cup I have met some veterans that have gone through some extraordinary things, and to see what they have overcome and are now able to accomplish on the golf course is not just motivating to me but also to everyone else that watches. It’s great to be a part of this.
Had you played Golf before your participation in the On Course Foundation? If not, how has the sport changed your life, and if you have, how is it different for you now?
I picked up the game of golf after my injury and fell in love with it. It was a great physical recovery tool for me because it helped me learn how to walk over uneven terrain and balance in all kinds of different situations. Once I learned about the On Course Foundation and wanted to be a part of it, it became more than a physical recovery tool. I wanted to get better so that I could be a part of the Simpson Cup and what the On Course Foundation is all about. Having those goals to get better and focusing on certain aspects of the game of golf as a whole turned out to be a whole different recovery tool itself. It keeps me going and is more than just a casual game now. I think it’s important to have things in your life that keep you moving forward. The organization turned golf into that for me.
How has your golf improved since getting involved with the On Course Foundation?
My golf game has improved greatly. Playing in the qualifiers allowed me to see where I need to focus and what I need to work on. I have spent a lot of time working on my short game trying to get that better.
What makes Golf an ideal sport for recovering service personnel?
I am a double amputee, so golf for me was perfect for teaching me how to walk on uneven terrain, over and around obstacles, up or down hills, and how to balance in all kinds of different situations. Another physical recovery benefit golf has over other sports is there is no running or jumping. For a veteran who has similar injuries as me I think there is no better way to help with physical recovery than golf. On the mental side, I think golf is extremely therapeutic for veterans. It is a game that can never be mastered, there is always something to work on and try to get better at. It puts goals in front of you. It gets you outside on a beautiful golf course, where you can focus on making yourself better. It is also a great way to build camaraderie with other veterans. Golf is probably the most ideal sport for recovering service members.
Is it important to you that disabled golfers can play against able bodied ones on an equal basis?
I think it’s important for disabled veterans to be able to play with able bodied individuals on an equal basis. That’s one of the reasons golf is so great. As an amputee I have physical limitations. I won’t ever have a very fast swing speed and there are lies that are extremely tough for me. But I can put my clubs on a cart and go play against people who are completely able bodied and golf has a handicap system where I am able to do that unlike any other sport.
How does it feel to be representing the USA ahead of the Simpson Cup on home soil?
It is an incredible honor to be representing my country on home soil during the Simpson Cup.
The Simpson Cup is a Transtlantic competition pitting the USA against the UK. Have you served alongside British forces before?
I never had the privilege of serving alongside British forces, but I am looking forward to competing with them.
How intense will the competition be for the Simpson Cup?
This is my first time competing for the Simpson Cup. But I can imagine it will be fierce. Veterans in general are highly competitive, but this golf competition will make things even more so. I am very much looking forward to competing.
What aspect of being involved in the foundation and The Simpson Cup are you most proud of?
I am most proud that I am able to be a part of a team where I am able to represent my country and compete alongside other veterans who served that same country.
The 2018 Edition of The Simpson Cup takes place at The Maidstone Club in East Hampton, New York between September 23 and 26. Find out more about the Cup and keep to date with results via their website, www.simpsoncup.com. You can find out more about the On Course Foundation via www.oncoursefoundation.com. Good luck Team USA!
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