LAKEVILLE, MASSACHUSETTS — A local golf pro hopes to use the sport he loves to support the nation’s wounded soldiers.
Mark Kitchen, a PGA professional and owner of The Broken Tee Virtual Golf Club, is using his seasonal grand opening weekend to raise money for Home for Our Troops.
All money generated by equipment rentals from Nov. 11-13 will be donated to the Taunton-based nonprofit that builds specially adapted houses for soldiers returning home with severe injuries.
“When I thought about it, I realized my grand opening for the season was going to be on Nov. 11, Veterans Day,” Kitchen said. “I figured I should reach out to them.”
His business, located at 166 County Road, Lakeville, offers use of virtual golf simulators that let customers play simulated rounds on hundreds of courses, the most popular of which is Pebble Beach. The simulators, which Kitchen rents out by the hour, also allow users to participate in international virtual golf tournaments.
To play virtual golf, the customer stands in front of a large screen bearing the projected image of the hole. When he hits a ball toward the screen, infrared sensors detect the launch angle, speed and direction of the ball and plot its path on the projection.
The Broken Tee charges $38 per hour on weekends and $32 on weekdays.
“Any money I get that weekend is going to go to Homes for Our Troops,” Kitchen said. “I’m hoping to get more awareness for them and get more people in here.”
He said he plans to hold the fundraiser every year.
The Broken Tee, which opened in 2008, is typically open from November to April, when winter weather often makes it unfeasible to play on outdoor golf courses. It is also open during the summer months by appointment.
Kitchen, a Freetown resident, said he first heard of Homes for Our Troops when he was working at the Birdies for the Brave tournament at TPC Boston. “I was interested to learn about it,” he said. “I wanted to do whatever I could.”