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On the golf course at Camp Walker in Taegu, South Korea, Frank Lickliter II, right, a touring pro with the Professional Golfers Association, gives golfing pointers to Army Staff Sgt. Richard Young, 8th U.S. Army golf champion, during a golf clinic Monday.

On the golf course at Camp Walker in Taegu, South Korea, Frank Lickliter II, right, a touring pro with the Professional Golfers Association, gives golfing pointers to Army Staff Sgt. Richard Young, 8th U.S. Army golf champion, during a golf clinic Monday. (Galen Putnam / Courtesy of U.S. Army)

PYONGTAEK, South Korea — When soldiers who like golf heard that two PGA touring pros would hold a clinic at a U.S. Army post in Taegu, they showed up last Monday and picked up plenty of tips.

But tips weren’t the only thing the two Professional Golfers Association pros gave the soldiers at the golf course on Camp Walker that cold morning.

The visit also brought an unexpectedly emotional expression of thanks to members of the Taegu military community for their national service, said Galen Putnam, a spokesman for the Army’s Area IV Support Activity in Taegu.

The words of thanks began at the very start of the clinic, which featured Frank Lickliter II and Cameron Beckman.

“We’re not just here to say ‘hi,’” Lickliter told the crowd, his voice choking with emotion, “We’re here to say ‘thanks.’”

“The time you guys spend protecting our freedoms isn’t lost on us,” Lickliter said. “Thanks to what you do, I can live a dream. I truly owe each one of you a debt of gratitude. If not for your sacrifice, we couldn’t live the lives we lead.”

“In his opening remarks, right when he started … he was just choking up on the spot,” Putnam told Stripes Wednesday.

“It was a very raw, emotional moment. You could see the true emotions coming through,” Putnam said.

“There was an obvious reaction,” Putnam said of the spectators. “People definitely took note,

and people commented on it afterwards.”

Lickliter previously has flown to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to donate golf equipment to U.S. Marines stationed there.

“My dad was in the Navy and flew P-3 Orions during the Cuban Missile Crisis, taking pictures of Russian transport ships,” Lickliter said after the clinic. “Man, it means everything to me to be able to come out and do this. We want the soldiers to know that there are a lot of people thinking about them.”

Beckman, winner of the 2001 Southern Farm Classic, agreed. “The time we are sacrificing to be here is nothing compared to the sacrifice these soldiers are making on a daily basis,” he said.

“I was eager to be able to say ‘thanks’ to the troops. It is a pleasure for us to be here and express our appreciation for how much you do for us.”

The clinic came about after the new manager of Camp Walker’s Evergreen Golf Club, Ray Cragun, contacted the PGA tour to ask if Lickliter would be willing to hold a clinic.

Lickliter said yes and asked Beckman to join him.

“We both jumped at the chance to come out here,” Beckman said. “This has been a great opportunity. We are both excited to be able to come on base and meet with the soldiers.”

As for golf tips, players must master three key aspects of the game, Lickliter told the spectators: putting, driving and wedge shots.

A weakness in one can be made up for, but a weakness in two or more will impede nearly any golfer’s progress, he said.

“I think it is great that they came here,” said Staff Sgt. Richard Young, the current 8th U.S. Army golf champion. “They could be down in Cheju practicing, where it is warm, but they came here in the cold to be with us.”

Lickliter and Beckman are in South Korea for the Shinhan Korea Golf Championship, held Thursday through Sunday on Cheju Island.

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