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Gaylord Golf League Provides Brotherhood for Military Veterans


GAYLORD-- The Gaylord Veteran Golf League began in 2017 at Treetops Resort. This year, the group is doing things a bit differently, and they will be traveling between three different Gaylord courses: Michaywe Pines, Gaylord Golf Club and Garland Golf Resort.

The group league has become a safe haven for veterans across the Gaylord community. Through playing together, they’ve been able to open up about mental health and what they had experienced while serving.


“I think there’s veterans like myself. It’s been almost 50 years since I served in everything I did in the service, because I worked intelligence, it was highly, highly classified at the various highest levels. So, I couldn’t talk about anything that I did for about 40 years. What I didn’t know, was I was a PTSD fighter for 40 years, until I came here, and started talking to other veterans,” league manager Jim Steward said.

The group was founded by Kevin McKinley, who has been in the golf business for 27 years. Through his numerous outings and events with vets, he’s realized how critical having groups like this are for them. To start this league, McKinley was in need of grants. Part of receiving a grant is going through and interview process in front of a board, and a veteran went along with McKinley to help their cause.

“When he got his chance to speak, and the thing that hit me the most, was that he told that board that day, that if it was not for the game of golf, he doesn’t think he’d be around because of suicidal thoughts and his PTSD. He started playing golf by himself he would call and he would try to get as far away from people as he possibly could, which is also good, it’s a solitude thing and allows you to go relax and be one with nature. He ended up just being in this brotherhood, and that’s what it did,” McKinley recalled.

League manager Dennis White also opened up about what the group has been able to provide for him.


“I’ve been diagnosed with PTSD. I start in May, some counseling. I guess you could say that this program right here, being with the other golfers, and talking with them kind of opened that up to me because, you really don’t know,” he said.

Vets can sign up to be a part of the travel golf league by emailing The weekly golf fee is $20 for Gaylord Golf Club and Michaywe Pines, and $25 for Garland Courses.

The league is also accepting donations from local businesses who would be willing to sponsor a week of golf for these vets. That cost is estimated to be $600-800 for the week.

The group managers would like to thank Judy Mason, J.T. Aude, the Gaylord Elks Organization, the VFW of Gaylord, and all of the other supportive members of Michaywe Pines, Garland Golf Resort, and Gaylord Golf Club for their support.


The managers of the Gaylord Veteran Golf League truly recognize the importance of their league for the local veteran community.

“It’s critical, because it forms a friendship and a bond in that friendship that some of the guys don’t have that coming out of the service,” Steward said. “If you don’t have that, that means you’re at risk for suicide. So that’s what we’re trying to find.”

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