The Simpson Cup provides an excellent spectacle, and plenty of work goes on behind the scenes to ensure that the week-long showpiece in September continues to go from strength to strength.
But, for the remaining 361 days of the year, it is all about the On Course Foundation (OCF), which offers hope and the opportunity for a better future to those injured, sick and wounded servicemen and women on both sides of the Atlantic. Simple things which many of us take for granted, like going to work each day, are anything but a given for these brave individuals, who have given so much for their respective countries. As well as training and teaching golf skills, OCF strives to create work experience and employment opportunities within the golf industry for those discharged from the military.
It is thus greatly rewarding to observe the progress that each of these men and women are making, and few exemplify that better than New Jersey’s Craig Richardson, who in May became the first On Course Foundation member to gain employment at VPAR, the global leader in live scoring.
VPAR has worked closely with OCF in recent years, providing the scoring at events organised by the charity and the 2016 Simpson Cup in September. However, much to the delight of all parties involved, this close relationship has been solidified by the recruit of their newest employee.
Richardson, who lost his right leg below the knee whilst serving in Afghanistan in 2008, joined the team at their headquarters in New Jersey last month and has taken on the important role of Events Assistant.
Speaking about his new career, Craig said: “The On Course Foundation has been tremendous for me in my recovery from injury. Not only did they introduce me to the game of golf, but they have also opened a door for me with VPAR. I was disappointed when my military career came to an end, but through the Foundation I have kept that military link, sharing experiences with like-minded guys who have also gone through life-changing injuries like me. I now look forward to a challenging and equally rewarding career in the golf industry with VPAR. “
OCF USA Executive Director John Dodds said: “The support from organizations like VPAR is critical to the continuing success of the Foundation. Our employment programme sets us apart from other organizations and we strive to provide employment for all those wounded, injured and sick veterans with an interest in working in the golf industry.”
VPAR will be providing tournament services for the 2016 Simpson Cup, which is taking place between 19 – 21 September at Oak Hill Country Club, Rochester, New York. And although Richardson won’t be there as a player, he will be present in an equally important capacity – as an integral cog in the excellent tournament services that VPAR offers.
With a growing programme of events, and more and more individuals looking for employment in the golf industry, OCF is already a long way down the line in reshaping the lives of many incredibly deserving heroes who have sacrificed so much. Richardson is one of many who have now set the tone, and demonstrated first hand that a prosperous future beckons for those with the right support structure in place. The Simpson Cup looks forward to seeing many more follow in Craig’s impressive footsteps.