Shooting for 72 on a golf course will have an entirely different meaning for punter Jeff Locke on June 19, the day after the Vikings mandatory minicamp breaks.
Locke will be participating in the second annual "The Longest Day of Golf for the Troops" at Bunker Hills Golf Club in Coon Rapids. A scramble format and prolonged daylight from the summer solstice weekend might allow his team a run at 72 holes.
Locke, who was born in Germany while his father was stationed in the U.S. Air Force, enjoyed raising more than $2,400 for teeitupforthetroops.org in participating in the inaugural event last year.
He's upping his already strong commitment to the military and veterans by raising his goal to $5,000, and the Vikings have offered a pair of VIP pre-game field passes and lower bowl tickets to Minnesota's Oct. 18 game against Kansas City that will go to the highest donor. Locke wrote a blog about the upcoming event and has set up a fundraising page.
"I'm very excited because last year I had no idea what to expect. It was my first time working with that organization," Locke said. "I met their president and the people that help run it and a lot of the veterans I played with. It was something I wanted to do bigger and better this year. I'm trying to start a little earlier with raising money. We've got some Vikings tickets up for it, so whoever gets the most money into my page gets two tickets and field passes."
Tee It Up for the Troops distributes funds to non-profit partners like Fisher House Foundation, Hope for the Warriors and Disabled Sports USA. Assistances offered include: housing for families of ill or injured servicemen and servicewomen, sports rehabilitation programs, family care and professional development and service dogs.
Like most players do, Locke scheduled a flight soon after 2014 minicamp ended that overlapped last year's event, but he planned ahead this year to allow full participation, potentially 72 holes or possibly even more.
"Last year I made the mistake of scheduling a flight that night so I only got in 45 holes, but they ended up getting 70 in," Locke said. "They picked the right days, the longest, so we'll see. It's a scramble half the time so you're not swinging the club all day, so hopefully I don't get too worn out."