His wounds run deep—the invisible wounds of PTSD. And they used to prevent Bennie Higdon from enjoying life.
But several years ago, Higdon decided enough was enough. He sought treatment and fought back against depression and anxiety on the green.
Higdon, a 27-year veteran of the Army and National Guard, learned to golf from his older brother, who is a Navy veteran and legally blind.
“My brother knew of my struggles and even though he’s blind, he taught me how to play,” said Higdon. “He told me I needed to occupy my time.”
That advice proved to be good medicine and the brothers played often. Fellow golfers told the brothers about the TEE Tournament, so they applied.
Now the Higdon brothers are returning for a sixth time, sharpening their golf skills and helping visually impaired veterans learn the game.
“I enjoy talking with other veterans and helping them play golf,” said Higdon. “It is challenging but they learn they can do it. I lead them around if they need it and I help them get around at the end of the day if they want to go somewhere for the evening.”
Marvin learned to golf as he grew up working as a caddie. Because of his gradual loss of sight, he had to relearn how to play.
“One of the best things about the TEE Tournament is the help and tips I get from the professionals and veterans,” said Marvin. “My golf game is better now than when I could see.”
In addition to helping at the tournament, the brothers help physically challenged veterans at home in Indiana. They’ve purchased specialized equipment and given away several sets of clubs.
“We’re blessed that God allows us to help others,” said Higdon.
“Golfing helps me relax,” he said. “It helps me concentrate and focus. I had a lot of dark days when I was suffering from depression. Now I can spread happiness when I’m helping at the TEE Tournament. Happiness is the name of the game.”