“Sterling Grove Golf + Country Club is extremely proud to partner with The Patriot All-America as the host venue for the inaugural Thunderbolt,” said Ryan Stemsrud, PGA General Manager of Sterling Grove Golf + Country Club. “The Patriot All-America is so much more than a golf tournament as the event honors and thanks the men and women military service members who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
“We look forward to welcoming many of the top amateur players as well as family members of the fallen soldiers to Sterling Grove.”
The inaugural Thunderbolt will be played at the same time as the 12th annual Patriot All-America Invitational, which will have 84 top men’s collegiate players and 66 of the top collegiate women playing at the Wigwam Golf Resort in Litchfield Park. After the creation of the Patriot All-America Women’s field in partnership with the Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA) for last year’s event, it has been expanded from 42 players to 66 for the 2022 edition.
The Patriot All-America Invitational features PING All-Americans from the previous season in NCAA Divisions I, II and III, NAIA and NJCAA; as well as 2021 First Team All-America Seniors from the AJGA. The 54-hole amateur event is the first of its kind to combine the talents of 150 nationally recognized men and women golfers simultaneously at one tournament.
Named after the Air Force P-47 Thunderbolt, The Thunderbolt has been added to accommodate those players that met the initial eligibility but did not make it into The Patriot. The Thunderbolt consists of players who are ranked in the top 1000 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings (WAGR), are PING Second, Third and Honorable Mention All-Americans from Divisions II, III, NAIA, and NJCAA, or are AJGA Second Team and Honorable Mention All-Americans. An invitation to The Thunderbolt does not preclude a player from later receiving an invitation to The Patriot, and all golfers in the Thunderbolt field will be added to the alternate list for The Patriot.
Conducted in a partnership between the GCAA, the Arizona Golf Association and the West Valley Mavericks, The Patriot All-America honors fallen or severely wounded soldiers in collaboration with the Folds of Honor Foundation. The golfers receive a golf bag donated by PING Corporation at the event’s opening ceremony emblazoned with the name and branch of service of a fallen or injured military member whom they shall represent. Participants also receive a card with the soldier’s story so they can be familiar with that soldier. The golf bags are then sold with proceeds donated to Folds of Honor to support the families affected. Thunderbolt players will also represent Folds of Honor soldiers with biographies on cards attached to their bags.
For all information on The Patriot All-America and The Thunderbolt, including history and sponsorship opportunities, visit patriotallamerica.com.
About The Patriot All-America Invitational
Featuring golf’s stars of tomorrow, The Patriot All-America is regarded as a top amateur event nationally, attracting PING All-America golfers from all three NCAA Divisions, NAIA and NJCAA rankings as well as from universities outside the United States. The Arizona Golf Association (AGA), JDM Partners and the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) partner with the Folds of Honor Foundation to host the tournament, played December 29-31 annually at The Wigwam Golf Resort in Litchfield Park, Ariz. For more information visit patriotallamerica.com.
About Wigwam Golf Club
The Wigwam’s three 18-hole championship golf courses offer a diversity that cannot be matched by any other Arizona resort, with 54 holes of championship golf including two courses designed by the legendary Robert Trent Jones, Sr. The Gold Course has hosted many signature tournaments over the years, including numerous U.S. Open Qualifiers, U.S. Amateur Qualifiers, several NCAA Regional Championships and the annual Patriot All-America Invitational, one of the top amateur competitions in the world. The 7,430 yard, par 72 track has also received various industry awards and accolades since opening in 1965, including being named one of the “Top 100 Golf Courses in America.” In December 2009, The Wigwam (including the golf courses and resort property) was purchased by JDM Partners, led by sports icon Jerry Colangelo. For more information, please visit wigwamgolf.com.
About Arizona Golf Association
The Arizona Golf Association has been serving amateur golfers in Arizona since 1923 when it held the first State Amateur Championship. Today, it is licensed by the United States Golf Association to provide handicapping and course rating services to member clubs, to provide tournament and rules expertise and to oversee the application of amateur status.
About Golf Coaches Association of America
Established in 1958, the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) is the professional organization of golf coaches. The GCAA’s mission is to support its member coaches by creating educational opportunities, providing resources, and promoting its members with the purpose of enhancing their overall performance as coaches, mentors, and teachers. The GCAA also recognizes the excellence and achievements of its members and their student-athletes in academic, athletic and civic endeavors.
About Women’s Golf Coaches Association
Founded in 1983, the Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA), formerly known as the National Golf Coaches Association (NGCA), began as an organization to promote participation in women’s collegiate golf. The vision of the WGCA since its inception has been to encourage the playing of intercollegiate golf for women in correlation with a general objective of education and in accordance with the highest tradition of intercollegiate competition. Today, the WGCA represents the finest coaches in women’s golf with a membership of over 650 coaches of Division I, II & III, NAIA and NJCAA collegiate programs.
About The West Valley Mavericks
The West Valley Mavericks Foundation (a 501(c)(3) non-profit) was born of the imagination and vision of a group of community leaders late in 2012. The West Valley Mavericks (or just ‘Mavericks’) is a group led by gentlemen who believe that the West Valley is an incredible place to live, work, and play. The Mavericks’ charter is to advance charity, culture, community, and commerce in the West Valley of Phoenix. As an organization, we use individual contributions, fundraising events, business sponsorships, ticket sales donations, as well as hands-on community service to raise money to assist children and families, help people in need, and improve the quality of life in West Valley communities. For more information please visit www.westvalleymavericksfoundation.org.
About Folds of Honor
Folds of Honor is a nonprofit organization that provides academic scholarships to the spouses and children of military members who have fallen or been disabled while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Educational scholarships support private school tuition or tutoring in grades K-12, as well as post-secondary tuition (two- or four-year college/university, technical or trade school). Since its inception in 2007, Folds of Honor has awarded over 29,000 scholarships totaling over $145 million in all 50 states. Among the students served, 41 percent are minorities.