Met PGA Gives Vets HOPE

Local pros teach—and learn from—disabled military heroes as as part of annual program

The Met PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere) class of 2016 topped off their season with a graduation scramble at Metropolis Country Club in White Plains last week. This year, the program’s second for the Met PGA, more than 80 military veterans (last year’s had 25) from Westchester, the Hudson Valley, and the Bronx participated in HOPE, a six-week adaptive course presented by PGA professionals that’s designed to improve these warriors’ physical and mental well-being through golf and enhance their overall quality of life. The program is open to all veterans, but is geared specifically toward those suffering from disabilities and is meant to help assimilate them back into their local communities.

Metropolis recently hosted their final class assignment, a shotgun-start tournament that was followed by a graduation dinner. It was a capstone to a month-plus period that saw the vets put their skills to the test in a friendly team contest.

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Old Oaks teaching pro Pat Eggeling (red cap) guides vets on green at Metropolis CC

HOPE is taught by dozens of volunteer PGA pros, many of whom are military veterans themselves. They have been specially trained to work with people with all kinds of disabilities, both physical and cognitive. Many vets in the program suffer from PTSD, traumatic brain injury, require the use of a wheelchair, or have prostheses.

Each participating veteran receives his or her own set of golf clubs, and the Met maintains a league specifically for the veterans so they can continue to play with others. Additionally, each golfer receives a HOPE card that entitles them to discounts and other benefits at golf courses around the Met PGA section.

The PGA Foundation, regional PGA sections, and PGA professionals nationwide work with local VA hospitals to present this program at 62 locations in 39 states.  In the Met Section, classes were held at West Point Golf Club, Eisenhower Park Golf Club, and Mosholu Golf Club throughout May and June.

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