PGA teams with the US Military to help veterans cope with PTSD
A group of veterans was honored Wednesday with a round of golf, accompanied by local pros. But there was much more to the day than just playing the sport.
Two dozen veterans played nine holes of golf at the Fiddlers Elbow Golf Club in Bedminster. It is part of the PGA’s Helping Our Patriots Everywhere (HOPE) program, which introduces veterans suffering from the physical and mental wounds of war to golf. It is a way for them to obtain the crucial remedies of fresh air, fun and camaraderie.
“For so long I was kind of living in a cycle where I was tense all the time. Coming out, you play a round of golf and you're loose. I come home, I feel good, I feel like I'm more engaged,” says Marine Chris Solivan, who served in the Iraq War.
Chris Hunt of the New Jersey Golf Foundation says that the program uses golf to rehabilitate the vets.
“To rehabilitate socially physically, mentally our veterans that are suffering from PTSD and TBI,” he says.
Marine vet Tom Wicklow credits the program with helping him regain his footing after nine months in Afghanistan.
“This has been a reason to get out of bed and come to the golf course and get out on days when I might just stay home sit on the sofa. I come here and play golf. It's a great program,” Wicklow says. “I'm really having a good time. I still suck at golf, but it's fun to come out and build some camaraderie with some fellow veterans and have a good day out.”
The New Jersey Golf Foundation runs the Hope Program in New Jersey. It includes weekly lessons for the veterans free of charge and golf outings like Wednesday’s Veterans Day event – where each foursome was comprised of three veterans and a PGA Pro.
PGA Hope programs enroll about 2,500 veterans at 130 different locations across the United States.