PHOTO: US troops get the Royal treatment in County Down
Wounded American veterans play the number one golf course in Ireland
Morning storms closed many courses in the region today, but against the odds the clouds cleared just as the first group hit the tee at Royal County Down. Often regarded as the greatest golf course in the world, RCD was like nothing that the wounded warriors had ever played before.
The wounded US servicemen and women had more to battle than just the famous links in Dundrum bay, as many of the amputees struggle walking great distances, and usually need golf karts to play. So inspired were they by the beauty of the setting and the incredible course that they decided to ignore medical advice and walk the 18 holes.
The soldiers have been brought to Irish shores by Golf Digest Irish Tours, a new company set up by the number one magazine in golf. Among the group was Staff Sergeant Charles Eggleston [pictured], who spent three difficult years recovering from his injuries. The sergeant was serving in Iraq when two improvised explosive devices detonated next to Staff Sergeant Charles Eggleston’s vehicle in Iraq, he was sent was flying through the air, crashing into another vehicle. Eggleston injuries destroyed his left side; he had server arm injuries, his spine was almost severed and his face was severely scarred. In the US, Eggleston is famous for being part of a Washington Post expose that revealed the inadequate ways in which America’s wounded soldiers were often treated. The man is actually titanium in many places, and continues to fight his injuries.
For many American golfers, a trip to Royal County Down would be the highlight of a dream trip to Ireland, but the troops head south next, to play Portmarnock Golf Club and then the legendary European Club.