Golf courses added to Lifetime Liberty Pass


The Town of Hempstead officials announced a new program Monday at the Merrick Golf Course that will allow qualifying, disabled veterans to play golf for free, at courses throughout the township.

The resolution was adopted at the Town Board meeting on March 12 and was officially launched Wednesday.

Joined by local veterans, golf enthusiasts and representatives from the Metropolitan PGA Foundation, Town Supervisor Don Clavin and other members of the Town Board, shared the details of the program. Representatives from PGA HOPE — which stands for Helping Our Patriots Everywhere — were also present.

PGA HOPE is an adaptive golf program offered to veterans free of charge, to introduce to them to the game in effort to enhance their overall quality of life. While the program is open to all veterans, it is geared specifically towards those suffering with disabilities.

In the Town of Hempstead, there are two golf courses — a 9-hole course in Merrick, and an 18-hole course in Lido Beach. Each course has a driving range. Veterans currently pay $10 for every round of weekday golf, and $12 on the weekends. Non-veterans pay $20 on weekdays, and $23 on weekends.

“A number of our veterans have pointed out a great program in New York state called the Lifetime Liberty Pass, and it gives an added bonus for veterans who have a disability of 40 percent or more,” Clavin said.

“I’m happy to announce that after the advocacy of our wonderful veterans, and of course Town Board members, we’ll be passing legislation where we will be adding the town facilities, particularly our golf courses, to the Lifetime Liberty Pass.”

The Lifetime Liberty Pass permits qualified New York state veterans with disabilities discounted use of state parks, historic sites and recreational facilities. It includes free vehicle entry to most state parks and other facilities.

To qualify, a veteran must reside in the state and have a 40 percent or greater service-connected disability, as certified by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. Veterans who have been awarded an allowance by the federal government towards the purchasing of an automobile because of their disability at any time in their life may also be eligible.

Once the pass is issued, it never expires.

“This is a piece of legislation that makes sense,” Clavin said. “How do you say thank you to the men and women who put their lives out there? And now for those who have disabilities — they want to enjoy our town facilities, and they will.”

Town Councilman Dennis Dunne, who represents Levittown and parts of Bellmore, East Meadow, Merrick, Seaford and Wantagh, played a major part in introducing the program to the board. A United States Marine Corps veteran, who served in the Vietnam War, Dunne has been at the forefront of advocating for veterans while in public office. He was previously a Nassau County legislator, before his appointment to the Town Board in 2017.

“If you have a 40 percent disability or more, you’re entitled to this free pass,” he said. “We’re including our golf courses in it, which means a lot, because (there’s) a short period of time in our lives where we’re going to be able to physically play golf without the pain. This is for the guys and gals that are serving right now, and the guys and gals that have served, that still have the ability to get out on the course.”

Dunne said the program is all about helping people.

“I love what we’re all about — helping people, helping disabled (people) and especially helping the men and women who served our country,” he said.

Clavin said veterans who want to apply for the pass must also go through the state. Visit for more information on the program and to learn how to apply.

“We’re working very closely with the state,” Clavin said. “If anybody ever has a question, where to get it from the state, you can talk to any of our teams at any of our town facilities, and we’ll direct you there.”

Clavin said the program is just one small part of what the Town of Hempstead has done, and will continue to do for veterans.

“We can never do enough to thank our vets,” he said. “This is just a small step and if anybody has any other ideas about what we should be doing more of, we always will embrace it.”

For more on the town’s golf courses, visit