HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Golf is often thought of as a relaxing yet competitive sport, but it’s not always thought of as a way to escape the stresses of war.

Golf season is in full swing, bringing dozens of people out to Lido Golf Course, but what many don’t realize is how the sport is used overseas by the men and women who fight for this country every day.

“Hitting golf balls has been praised by the troops as a great team exercise and a way to boost morale,” Hempstead town councilman Anthony D’Esposito said.

Troops don’t always have the proper equipment, however.

So Friday, Hempstead leaders met to announce they’ll be collecting golf equipment — whether it be balls, clubs or other gear — to send to soldiers in war zones through the Bunkers in Baghdad charity.

“People have equipment sitting in their homes. It could be a year old. They’re not using it. This is going to a great cause. It’s going to our men and women overseas, giving them a little pleasure while they’re serving our country,” Hempstead town tax receiver Donald Clavin said.

Bunkers in Baghdad is a charity that sends golf equipment to troops overseas. (Credit: CBS2)

So far, the non-for-profit Bunkers in Baghdad charity has sent 10 million golf balls and more than 700,000 clubs to Afghanistan and 64 other countries.

“I served in the United States Marine Corps in Vietnam. And there’s times where, when you’re not trying to get the objective done or you have some downtime and you close your eyes and you think about home,” Hempstead town councilman Dennis Dunne said.

Donations will also include the thousands of stray balls collected each season at the town’s two courses.

“The next time the ball goes where you don’t want it to, just leave it and remember that it’s going to be headed to a brave serviceman or servicewoman who’s defending this great nation,” D’Esposito said.

You can also donate any golf equipment to Hempstead’s two golf clubs, Lido and Merrick.

Hempstead town leaders partnered with Bunkers in Baghdad for the first time back in 2017. They donated more than 5,000 pounds of golf balls and equipment, and they say they are excited to beat that goal this year.

To learn more about the charity, visit bunkersinbaghdad.com.