Veterans honored at Honda Classic

Posted at 10:07 PM, Feb 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-23 05:07:09-05

Round 1 of the Honda classic teed off Thursday morning drawing a massive crowd to PGA National. 

Among them are thousands of veterans who travel from near and far to see the best golfers in the world on Military Appreciation Day. They come to one place called the "Patriots Outpost." 

SPECIAL SECTION: Full Honda Classic coverage

“How can you say no to something like this, it’s all positive, I love that we share high-fives the welcome home,” says 79-year-old US Army veteran Gary Higgins who never misses his opportunity to enjoy the outpost. 

A place that’s earned a reputation for being the spot on the PGA tour for men and women who serve or have served their country. 

“It’s a reunion of sorts every time I come back,” says Wellington resident Bruce Hulin.

They come, not for the free entry, free food or fantastic view, but for the experience. They have some of the best seats tucked into the famous 17th hole Par 3 of the Bear Trap. 

“You just are welcome here, the first year here I literally cried coming in here, the smile on everyone’s face, the joy, welcome home brother, the camaraderie,” says Higgins.

For fans outside it’s a place where they can scrawl their thoughts on a Heroes Wall or pour their heart into packing a goodie bag for troops abroad. 

It's a small place that carries a big return value. Simply put, in the words of one veteran: it’s priceless.

“Long lost attachments being made again, kindling, bonding of brothers, lots of love,” says Higgins. 

25,000 veterans went into the Patriots Outpost last year during the tournament. Honda Classic officials expect to top that number this year.