• Wes Kerr

Sampson’s golf marathon with a mission still going strong

In 2009, Billy Sampson set foot on the first tee of Old Tabby Golf Links, preparing for what would be a memorable day ahead. After taking a moment to consider the lives he was about to touch, he teed up his ball and began the first of 114 holes: all in an effort to help the families of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice to our nation.


Twelve years later, Sampson’s tradition continues, and he will take to the course again to raise money for Folds of Honor, an organization founded in 2007 to provide educational scholarships to family members of fallen or disabled soldiers. The director of golf at the Spring Island track has raised over $750,000 during the past decade, and he will be back to do it again this Labor Day weekend.


When Sampson lost his high school friend serving in Afghanistan — a war that came to a bitter end this month — he knew that he had to find a way to continue the legacy that his heroic companion left. He then learned about Folds of Honor from founder Lt. Col. Dan Rooney, who served three tours of duty in Iraq. Sampson shared his story with the F-16 fighter pilot at a Carolinas PGA seminar and was inspired to take action and make a difference for families who needed the support.


The emotion got to him as he took on his first golf marathon in 2009, receiving messages from military members and friends along the way rooting him on. While he was out on the course in 2012, Sampson was greeted by a Sergeant Major who came all the way from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to support his efforts and help him reach a whopping 200 holes in a single day. With donors pledging on a per-hole basis or a lump sum each year, Sampson crossed the $750,000 mark in 2020, giving out 151 life-changing scholarships to families in need.


This year, the money raised will be more important than ever before. With the many challenges that have risen from the COVID-19 pandemic, 164 qualified applicants in the Carolinas Section were turned away this past year due to a lack of funding. In 2021, Sampson hopes to raise $120,000, which would be good for 24 full scholarships.


That’s 24 people, 24 honorable families across the Southeast who would be given an opportunity to carry out their dreams.


Every donation counts in order to reach that goal and change the lives of individuals and families hoping to get back on their feet. Just one pledge can be all it takes to make the difference. When Sampson walks out to the first tee on Sept. 5, he may be on foot alone. But he’ll have a whole army of supporters behind him.


To support Sampson’s golf marathon and the Folds of Honor Foundation, make your donation on a credit card or send it as a check to the Old Tabby Links Golf Shop at 42 Mobley Oaks Lane, Okatie, SC, 29909. For more information, please contact the Golf Shop at 843-987-2013 or email otlgolfshop@springisland.com.

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