The balls are part of Spike Donnelley’s grass-roots campaign to gather, package and send golf balls to American soldiers in Iraq. Donnelley got the idea when he heard on the radio that troops were asking for people to send golf balls over for use as recreational stress relievers.
“I heard about it (golf balls) on Paul Harvey’s syndicated radio program, and I thought that would be a way I could help,” said Donnelley, who lives on the Bethel Island course. “So I put out a trash can on the course and within two weeks I had collected 2,000 of them. People were very generous.”
The troops not only hit the balls for fun, but also as a way to check for land mines. Either way, the balls are not retrieved; hence the need for lots of them. Donnelley’s goal is to collect 5,000 golf balls and get them packaged up and sent off to Iraq within the next few weeks.
For the Korean War veteran, it’s the very least he could do. “I know what it’s like to be in a war zone, and I understand a little of the stress they’re under,” said Donnelley. “I know how important recreation is under those conditions.”
But postage is not cheap. Donnelley said the cost to ship the balls to Iraq is approximately 8 cents apiece; a number that quickly adds up. “I’m going to send them over no matter what, but if people feel like they would like to help with the postage, that would be great,” he said.
New and used golf balls can be dropped off at the Bethel Island Golf Course. For donations of 100 balls or more, Donnelley will arrange to have them picked up. For more information, call 684-9316.