SOUTHPORT, NC (WWAY)– Southport’s Ben Wilson has been through many things in his life up to now. In 2003, Wilson enlisted in the United States Marines and spent 13 years serving his country.
“Is this a bad nightmare?” Wilson asked. “Am I going to wake up from this horrible dream that I’m having?”
Those were questions Sergeant Wilson asked himself after an IED exploded when his convoy was on patrol. The year was 2009 and this was the third time Wilson had suffered a traumatic brain injury and he knew it might be time to step away.
The St. James assistant golf professional was eventually forced to step away from active duty in 2016, when his injuries finally caught up to him, causing him to medically retire. Wilson then found himself looking for answers and a way to cope with the past. That is when he went back to a sport he had always loved, golf.
“I step on hole No.1, just like I’m headed off for patrol,”said Wilson. “The only difference is when I step off hole 18, I know I’m going to walk away unscathed.”
The golf course has become a get away for Wilson. He can go out to Founders Club and put all of his worries behind him.
“The game of golf is a solace to me,”Wilson proclaimed. “There is that calming factor with it, it just kind of brings me back into my reality.”
Two weeks ago Wilson was selected to play in the 2019 Bush Institute Warrior Open in Dallas, Texas. It is a competitive golf tournament that honors post-9/11 U.S. service members seriously wounded or injured since September 11, 2001. It was a experience of a lifetime for the Southport Marine.
“I couldn’t believe I was selected to play with 23 other veterans throughout the United States, with President Bush non-the-less,”said Wilson. “It was such a honor that not everybody can say they have had.”
Wilson is currently working to obtain his Class A license as a golf professional. That is just one step in his journey towards spreading the game of golf to veterans across the country.
“I want to be able to travel around the country and help other veterans by using golf,”said Wilson. “I want to help veterans find hopefully what it is I am finding in this amazing game.”