â€‹Veterans from the metro area wrapped up a sixâ€week tour of golf-course duty at an outing at Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point on July 5. The event was their graduation from PGA HOPE, a program from the Met PGA designed to use golf to help with the rehabilitation of veterans and improve their quality of life.
The acronym, HOPE for “Helping Our Patriots Everywhere,” describes very well the program’s ambitious goal. The program is in its fourth year under the auspices of the Metropolitan Section of the PGA. It boasts three chapters in the Bronx, West Point, and Long Island and as of this year has served close to 600 veterans. It’s part of PGA Reach, the charitable foundation of the PGA of America, which supports 94 PGA HOPE programs nationwide serving over 2,000 veterans a year.
Veteran John Brady, who served in the US Army and Army Reserve for 34 years, took up the game through the program three years ago. “It’s a challenge and keeps me in shape,” says the 76-year-old Bronx resident who plays at Moshulu Golf Course.
Golf Club of Purchase director of golf Carl Alexander has volunteered for the program since its inception and reports that it’s an incredibly rewarding experience for the pros as well as the vets. “It’s really been great to play a small part in the program,” he says. “It’s great to introduce the vets to a game that gets them out into a social community and helps them escape their problems for a few hours on the golf course.”
PGA HOPE is a sixâ€week adaptive golf program offered to veterans free of charge by PGA Professionals from the Metropolitan area. The program is open to all veterans, but is geared specifically to those suffering from disabilities and is meant to help them assimilate back into their local communities.
Bob Miller, head professional at Knollwood Country Club, says he’s learned as much from the vets as they have from him. “I love their enthusiasm,” he says. “It’s an honor to work with them, especially when you consider what they’ve given to us.”