First annual Veterans Golf Classic at the Tampa Palms Golf & Country Club


Local veteran owned organization to host charity golf tournament benefitting USF student veterans and FVHFS veteran support program

Gator Tours LLC, owned and operated by combat veteran and local Tampa Bay philanthropist Tom Gates, is excited to announce the first annual Veterans Golf Classic at the Tampa Palms Golf & Country Club in Tampa, Florida. The tournament will kick off on Monday, May 24th with registration starting at 7:00 a.m. and a shotgun start at 9:00 a.m. Proceeds from the event will support student veterans at the University of South Florida and the Florida Veterans Hall of Fame Society veteran support program. Award presentations will begin at 1:30 p.m. followed by a catered lunch from Mission BBQ as well as a VIP meet and greet with Medal of Honor recipient Leroy Petry. Exactly one month prior to the May 24th event, an online silent auction will go live to allow interested participants the opportunity to place bids on items from anywhere around the world up until the end of the day of the event.

Anyone can participate in the unique online silent auction from anywhere.  It will open on April 24th , 2021 and close on May 24th, 2021.   Some of the items include: a signed football by Tom Brady and The Gronk as well as an original bottle of Horse Soldier Bourbon signed by the members of the Special Operations team dispatched to Afghanistan within a few weeks following the 911 attacks.  The movie “The Twelve” shows their story.  Upon transition to civilian life,  their story is legendary on how they learned a new trade and marketed their Bourbon product: “Horse Soldier”.  A statue commemorating their military actions stands at the 911 site in NYC.  This item is a true collector’s piece.  (

Tom Gates has spent years campaigning for institutional and community support for veteran programs with various nonprofits, organizations, and his alma mater, the University of South Florida. At USF, the Office of Veteran Success serves over 2,000 student veterans on all three campuses and has helped to propel USF into the top five ranked schools for veterans nationwide over the past decade. Among the many organizations Mr. Gates is involved in, the Florida Veterans Hall of Fame Society (FVHFS) recognizes and honors Florida’s veterans who have made a significant contribution to the state or local communities. Gator Tours seeks to assist veterans through both the USF Office of Veteran Success and the FVHFS to ensure their continued success.

For more information on the Veterans Golf Classic, please contact Tom Gates by email at

For online event registration and donations, please visit”

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