I’ve been working with the PGA of America as one of their PGA HOPE (Help Our Patriots Everywhere) National Instructor Trainers for many years. By traveling the country and training other golf professionals how to teach golf to Veterans who are disabled, these professionals than conduct their own 6-8 week HOPE programs. We are helping change and save lives through our sport—golf. It’s amazing how powerful a sport can be to anyone after an injury or life-changing disability.
On a local level, it’s been fun being involved in two golf programs for the Veterans. One has been working alongside Donna White, LPGA/PGA and Dave McNulty, PGA at our HOPE chapter in the West Palm Beach area and a weekly winter golf program I’ve been running in the Palm City/Stuart area free of charge, for the Veteran’s.
Watching these Veterans come out of their shell during these fun, safe, and education golf programs has been pretty cool. Watching their self-confidence and self-dignity and even their golf skills grow weekly proves the power of these golf classes. When a Veteran who suffers from PTSD says, “I didn’t have flashbacks for a few hours today during our clinics. Thanks for putting these on and giving me a place to come to”, it’s a great day for all.
Or…Jerry, who’s “legally blind” but can still see some light. He wears a Golfbuddy Voice GPS to aid him with his yardage; one less thing he has to do to be dependent on someone else. He sees the color yellow best, so he uses yellow golf balls, yellow tees and a yellow alignment stick to best help himself. To identify what club to pull out of his bag, we used yellow numerical tape purchased from a arts store and taped on the top of his woods and hybrids and added a strip of yellow electrical tape to the center of the top of his woods and hybrids so he knows where the center of the club head should be in relation to the ball on the ground. It’s the little things in life that allow someone else to have a big experience in life and on the course.
In closing, remember to look at someone’s ability, not their disability; someone with a disability can do everything we can do, they just do it differently.
LPGA Master Professional/PGA