Sign up to The American magazine's newsletters (below) to receive more regular news, articles and updates on America in the UK.
The Simpson Cup 2018 – Team USA – Chris Bowers
American Golfer Chris Bowers 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 was born and raised in Virginia.
How did you become involved with the On Course Foundation, and the upcoming Simpson Cup?
In 2012, I was invited to be a member of the inaugural Simpson Cup, held at TPC Sawgrass. I began to get more involved with the On Course Foundation after our defeat, and worked with the National Programs Director to help build the programs that exist today. Through an ambassadorship and outreach, our membership numbers have swelled, making us more competitive during the more recent Simpson Cups. I’ve been privileged to have been a part of every US team since its inception.
What does being involved in the organization mean to you, and how has it helped you personally?
The On Course Foundation gave me the ability to help disabled veterans through the game of golf. Whether it was instruction, or job placement, the On Course always stood ready to assist veterans in need. They have allowed me to interact and develop life long friendships with my fellow American veterans, as well as our brother and sister veterans across the pond.
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’s truly an honor to represent your country, and the men and woman of On Course USA at the Simpson Cup. It is not taken lightly, and often time battled for a win at our two national qualifiers. Golf allows us to compete, regardless of injury. The USGA’s handicap index system provides an even playing field, where we can compete against anyone, it just happens to be our Allied counterparts.
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 had been playing golf for about 18 months, when I first participated in the OCF’s inaugural Simpson Cup. I learned two hard lessons that weekend. I was not prepared for that level of competition, and I was completely hooked on match play. It gave me the drive and determination to work on my game, my body, and my mind to be a better asset to the American Team. That confidence allowed me to qualify for future events, become a leader in our community, and help the American team finally tie the series at 3-3! The game of golf has blessed me with the ability to aid in the countless recoveries of so many of our nation’s most deserving veterans. For that, I will forever be grateful.
How has your golf improved since getting involved with the On Course Foundation?
I started as a 26 handicap and have gotten down to a 10 at one point. Due to my amputation, I struggle with consistency and seem to hover around a 13 handicap. By no means am I the best golfer on our team, but I consider myself steady, and a fierce competitor. I’m a student of this great game, and strive to get better, everyday.
What makes Golf an ideal sport for recovering service personnel?
Anyone can play this game. We all can’t hit 300+ yard drives like the pros, but many of us are pretty sporty, when playing for our friends, teammates, and country. Regardless of the overall score, anyone who could witness this event would leave, at its conclusion, with two things. A full heart, and a new perspective on perseverance. Effort is plentiful, and emotions run high, we both want to win, but being given the opportunity to compete means more to us then anything else. It’s a true brotherhood, and we look forward to the battle every year.
Is it important to you that disabled golfers can play against able bodied ones on an equal basis?
Absolutely. I frequently wear pants when playing amateur events. I want their best, and I don’t want my visible injury to effect their effort level. We learn best through heartbreak and defeat. I enjoy the pressure of playing with scratch golfers. I am a visual learner by nature, and often times mimic what I see to help piece together my game. The lessons I’ve learned in defeat, have made me the player I am today.
How does it feel to be representing the USA ahead of the Simpson Cup on home soil?
Incredible. Having the opportunity to play is very humbling, but being able to play in front of your friends and family makes it that much more special. We are hoping the community will come out to support us, and our families make the journey to the Hamptons to watch us defend the cup.
The Simpson Cup is a Transtlantic competition pitting the USA against the UK. Have you served alongside British forces before?
Unfortunately, I did not. I met these men post injury, and have formed some close friendships with several of them, throughout the years.
How intense will the competition be for the Simpson Cup?
You can expect both teams to leave every ounce of energy on the course, both days, at Maidstone this year. With the series tied 3-3, this years competition will set the stage for a momentum swing, if the Americans can finally take the lead in the series. Our preparations began months ago, and you can rest assured that Team USA is fired up, and ready to battle to keep the Simpson Cup on US soil.
What aspect of being involved in the foundation and The Simpson Cup are you most proud of?
Being an ambassador. This role allows me to recruit veterans into the program, support fundraising initiatives and provide mentorship to rising members of the team and organization as a whole. Allowing me to engage, and directly support the longevity of the program has driven me to dig in, and make the program better and better each and every year.
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!
>> MORE SPORTS