After a decade of military service, Staff Sgt. Andrew Bachelder is now a warrior on the golf course.
Bachelder served 10 years in the United States Marine Corps, and while he was deployed to Afghanistan, a terrible accident left him severely wounded.
“We were escorting two Army helicopters for an insert,” Bachelder tells the story. “We (the two Marine helicopters) lost sight of each other and ended up colliding together at about 500 feet. I sustained a broken right tibia/fibula, left hip, left shoulder, six broken ribs, an open book pelvic fracture, three fractured vertebra and a TBI (traumatic brain injury).”
He had his hip replaced in December 2013, but his back injury is the most limiting of his injuries. As part of his physical and mental therapy, Bachelder started playing golf, a sport he grew up playing but put aside during his military career.
In 2012 his mother told him about the Warrior Open, a wounded warrior golf tournament hosted by former President George W. Bush at the Las Colinas Country Club near Dallas. He applied to the 2013 tournament and, not only was he accepted, he placed fourth in the event. Bachelder returned for the 2014 competition and took home The Warrior Cup which is awarded to the low-net winner.
“Participating in this event has been amazing,” Bachelder said. “President Bush is so down to earth with his warriors and service members. Attending this event allows the wounded to come together and build a camaraderie that we once had in the military. It is a once-a-year gathering where we meet new service members and play fun, competitive golf in front of the former Commander-and-Chief. The Bush Center is amazing, as is the whole event.”
When he’s not playing golf, Bachelder is spending time with his wife, children and attended classes at Weatherford College where he is pursuing an associate’s degree in business.
“I have not decided if I am going to transfer to a university after this,” he said. “I am really trying to work hard and make it onto a mini-golf tour, maybe the Nike, Web.com and ultimately the big show. The biggest part is finding sponsors to help with travel cost and tournament fees.
“I really, truly enjoy the game of golf and, other than my wife, Debi, and children, Kaitlin (10), and Jacob (7), the game of golf has been one of the things that has saved my life.”