The SOWGF 2024 Ireland Retreat annually held at the Waterville Golf Links in Waterville, Ireland is scheduled for the fall of 2024 (October 5-12).  The exact dates are subject to changes due to course availability and travel issues.

Background: The annual Ireland Retreat (which serves as the signature annual retreat for SOWGF) is a product of the vision of Tom Gates (Co-Founder of SOWGF) and the partnerships he created with USSOCOM Care Coalition and Waterville, Golf Links. More specifically, for five years beginning in 2015, Tom organized and raised the funds necessary to have 8-10 wounded special operators attend a retreat at Waterville Golf Links.  SOWGF’s selection of participating warriors for each retreat was assisted by USSOCOM which at that time was commanded by Colonel Cary Harbaugh (Co-Founder and current Chairman of the Board of SOWGF).

These retreats utilized golf as the core activity, focused on the mental and physical health of the warriors, and provided data that golf can have a “healing effect” both psychologically and physically on wounded warriors. Comments received from the warriors following each retreat reflected not only their gratitude. but more importantly, revealed the common theme that the retreat gave them a new focus in life and helped them deal with their emotional struggles resulting from their time in and transition out of military service.
This message was promoted by the Golf Channel which produced two documentaries on the Waterville Retreat.  The last was aired during the 2019 British Open telecast and can be viewed on the Home Page of this website. The program focused on Sergeant First Class Jose (“Mike”) Morales. Green Beret, who had been seriously wounded by an RPG in Afghanistan and includes interviews with Tom Gates and Colonel Cary Harbaugh, our Chairman of the Board.
In 2022, SOWGF added its Career Transition and Mentorship Program to the Retreat format. Under this program, SOWGF recruits members from the business community to serve as sponsors and mentors for the warriors assisting them in their career transition.  The Mentors attend the retreat and participate with the warriors in the instruction and play, share meals, and join in the day ending fireside chats. The addition was greatly appreciated by our participating warriors and has become a major focus of SOWGF.

Venue: The venue for this year’s retreat is again the Waterville Golf Links located on the Ring of Kerry in Waterville, Ireland. The Waterville Links Course is one of the highest rated links courses in Ireland and the World. Golf instruction will be provided by legendary Irish Pro Liam Higgins (assisted by Jimmy Kinsella, David Higgins, and Brian Higgins). As an added bonus, part of their instruction will be given from the perspective of how to play links golf the Irish way. SOWGF is and will forever be indebted to Waterville Golf Links for its role in our formative years and is once again very grateful to Waterville for providing the opportunity to this year’s Warriors and Mentors to experience this very special place.

SOWGF 2024 Ireland Retreat Proposed Schedule:

Day 1 (Sat):    Depart US

Day 2 (Sun):    Arrive Shannon/Travel to Waterville-Check in at The Butler Arms Hotel

Day 3 (Mon):   Waterville:  Morning-Instruction/ Afternoon Play

Day 4 (Tue):    Waterville:   Morning-Instruction/Afternoon Play

Day 5 (Wed):   Waterville:   Morning Instruction/Afternoon Tournament/Evening Closing Dinner

Day 6 (Thu):    Waterville: Morning-Play Dooks Golf Links/Afternoon-Free time

Day 7 (Fri):     Travel to Tralee Golf Links Morning/ Afternoon: 1:00 PM Play Tralee/Evening Dinner at Golf Club Pub
Travel to Shannon and check in at the Park Inn Airport Hotel
Day 8 (Sat):      Return to US

NOTE:  We are currently recruiting 4-6 members of the business community to serve as mentors and sponsors for our participating warriors.  If you are interested in taking advantage of this unusual opportunity, please provide your contact information on our Contact Us page or email the contact info directly to or


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Oct 05 - 12 2024


Waterville Golf Links , Waterville, Ireland


Special Operations Warrior Golf Foundation
(813) 712-8742

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