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Minnesota PGA Professionals Look to Make a Difference for Local Veterans through “PGA Hope” program

September 30, 2015

PGA Professionals have been looking for ways to help in the community and in addition to their annual Bad Pants Open charity golf tournament benefiting Special Olympics, the Minnesota Section PGA has been assisting local veterans in therapy through the game of golf. PGA Hope, a program that was started by PGA of America and adopted locally five years ago, is a therapy program for veterans who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, brain injuries, and chronic pain. The program uses the game of golf as an escape and means of rehabilitation for veterans to not only result in golf improvements but positive change in everyday life especially significant social changes. “We started the program 5 years ago and it has grown each year. This past year we expanded to include pain victims through the polytrauma-outpatient clinic along with the polytrauma transitional rehabilitation program,” said Woodhill Country Club’s Head PGA Professional Paul Kelley.

PGA Hope is a 10-week summer program that consists of twelve volunteer PGA Professionals from across the Minnesota Section, and three recreational therapists through the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs department as well as contributions from the entire therapy staff. There is also a 4-week winter program that is conducted in a local golf dome in the Minneapolis area. “The first 7 sessions are focused on putting, chipping/pitting, full swing, rules, etiquette, golf course access, and social interaction. The last 3 weeks we take the group on the golf course to play,” said Kelley who has been heavily involved over the years.

Many of the veterans who have participated in the program now play golf outside of the program and on a regular basis. Friendships are created that last beyond the program and continue to grow through the passion for the game of golf. The PGA professionals involved truly enjoy teaching the game and making a positive impact on the lives of local veterans,

“It is so rewarding for myself and other PGA professionals to be a part of this because you can see the improvements on a week by week basis,” Kelley stressed.

PGA Professionals continue to make a difference in the community for those in need through a mutual passion, the game of golf.

The Minnesota Section PGA consists of PGA Professionals who are experts in the game and business of golf. Our mission is to promote the enjoyment and involvement of the game of golf and to contribute to its growth by providing services to golf professionals, the golf industry, people who play golf or would like to start playing golf. PGA Section Offices oversee the 41 geographic regions throughout the United States and provide the grass-roots network for the nation’s 25 million amateur golfers and with the PGA’s 27,000 members.

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