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Tee it up for the Troops is this weekend

For the past two years, soldiers and veterans who wanted to go golfing the Friday closest to Sept. 11 were met with a pleasant surprise. Their golf session was free, and if they had family members with them, they got to play for half price.

It's no coincidence, and it's happening again this year. The third annual Tee it Up for the Troops event is being held this Friday through Sunday, Sept. 9 to 11, at Hidden Greens, Bellwood Oaks, Emerald Greens and Afton Alps golf courses.

Tee it Up for the Troops is a non-profit organization based in Burnsville that runs fundraisers and campaigns to support military families. A few years ago, Dean Markuson of Hastings' Beyond the Yellow Ribbon group started working with Lisa Swanson to get Hastings involved. Swanson contacted J.B. Ball from Tee it Up for the Troops and found out the organization hosts a flagship golf tournament each year the Friday closest to Sept. 11, but found it would be difficult for local golfers to participate, Swanson explained.

"Why not just do something locally?" she figured.

So she reached out to the four local golf courses and they all agreed to dedicate that same Friday to the troops and their families. The second year, they decided to extend the event across the entire weekend, and are doing so again this year.

"I think it's just showing our appreciation for what they do," Swanson said.

Current and past military personnel will golf for free this weekend. Their families can join them for half price. Riding carts are additional and military IDs are required.

Military personnel aren't the only ones allowed on the greens.

"It's not exclusive," Swanson said. "Anybody can golf this weekend."

Non-military golfers will be asked to contribute at least a $1 donation, which will go to Tee it Up for the Troops.

As a fundraiser, Swanson said they're hoping to raise about $1,500 between the four courses. Golfers can also receive golf balls stamped with the Tee it Up for the Troops logo, donated by the organization.

For more information about Tee it Up for the Troops, go to