By Katy Ricalde
For many the golf course is a place of escape, but for Retired Marine Lt. Col. Justin Constantine, who was severely injured in Iraq after a sniper shot him in the head, it was one of the few places he felt he could be himself during his recovery, avoiding stares and forgetting about some of the issues he was facing.
On Sunday, Constantine was hitting a few balls at the driving range at the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, VA where he accidentally left three golf clubs. He went back to retrieve them the next day, but two of the clubs were missing.
Constantine joined the club in 2006 before he deployed to Iraq and although he didn’t have the opportunity to play a lot of golf, he fell in love with the game. His injuries left him disfigured and during his recovery he would play the course on weekdays when few people were around.
He was introduced to the Salute Military Golf Association, which holds clinics and brings local golf professionals in to teach wounded warriors and caregivers the basics of golf and healthy living. With practice, Constantine improved his game and SMGA provided him with a solid base on which to play.
Because of his injuries Constantine has to wear an eye patch when he plays, which makes his stance and swing a little different than normal. PING Golf provided him--and a number of other wounded veterans--with custom-fit clubs complete with his name engraved on them.
Constantine told Fox News that the clubs hold “significant sentimental value” and are “a reminder of the commitment that many across our country have for our wounded warriors and caregivers.” That, far more than the cost of missing clubs, is why the situation bothers him so much.
The head pro at the Army Navy Country Club is working with Constantine to try to find out what happened and PING golf has offered to replace the clubs that have gone missing.
Constantine is not looking to cause any trouble—he would just like the clubs returned and says he won’t ask questions—just assume it was a mistake.