As we come out of the Covid-19 pandemic, the world is still an uncertain place. More important than ever, are the heroes that carry us to the safe space, that lift us up when we are down and out. BuffaloGolfer.Com has decided to end the 2022 year, and begin 2023 with a series on the unsung heroes of golf in western New York. We asked for nominations on Twitter (@buffalogolfer) and Instagram (@buffalogolfer) and are able to begin this run with our third nominee. Please read, then share with friends, then visit our social media accounts to nominate your unsung hero of golf. Thanks and Godspeed to all.
1. Tell us who you are and everything we need to know about your golf history.
Joseph Hanna, Founder and President of Bunkers in Baghdad. Bunkers in Baghdad is a non-profit that collects and ships golf equipment to our troops and veterans around the world. We have shipped 13.4 million golf balls and over 1 million clubs to our brave men and women in 75 countries around the world and all 50 states.
In terms of my golf history- when I was 13 I was delivering papers in WNY and stumbled upon a set of golf clubs in the garbage, put the bag and clubs on my back, and peddled home. I taught myself how to golf at Brighton Golf Course in Tonawanda and the rest is history.
2. What made golf your passion, and how did it keep its hold on you?
The opportunity to give back and help other- coupled with the game of golf, our military members, and our school children- are what keep me going. The feedback that we receive from our brave men and women and the energy of our volunteers drives this charity.
3. Who are the people that you think should receive our attention, to bring them into the game?
I am obviously very biased- but our military members and vets come from all walks of life from all different geographic areas of this great country. The more golf clubs and golf balls that we can get in their hands and the opportunity to introduce the game to people who would have never dreamed of hitting golf balls is great for the game.
4. Does golf have an image problem, or does it need an image touch-up, heading into 2023?
Golf does not have an image problem. Golf does not need an image touch-up. The first rules of golf were drafted in 1744. The game continues to grow and flourish. The greatness of the game and what it really is continues to be on display every day around the world- from junior clinics to Steph Curry’s Underrated Golf Tour to waking up early on a Saturday and playing your favorite muni course to watching the dominance of the Korda sisters on the LPGA to revving up your U.S. pride this week for the President’s Cup. That is what golf is… everything else that is happening is just background noise.
5. What are the top three, golf initiatives in the area, that you currently do not participate in?
Drive, Chip, and Putt
First Tee of WNY
PGA Junior League
6. What are your golf goals for the remainder of 2022 and beyond?
Bunkers in Baghdad is busier than ever. We will continue to send golf equipment to our troops and vets around the globe. As long as we continue to receive equipment support and financial donations for shipping- we will spread the game of golf all around the world.