PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere) is the flagship military program of PGA REACH, the charitable foundation of the PGA of America. PGA HOPE introduces golf to Veterans with disabilities to enhance their physical, mental, social and emotional well-being.
The program introduces the game of golf through a developmental 6-8 week curriculum, taught by PGA Professionals trained in adaptive golf and military cultural competency. All programs are funded by PGA REACH and supplemented by PGA Section Foundations, so the cost of programming is free to all Veterans.
PGA HOPE has a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), which enables Recreational Therapists to refer Veterans to the PGA HOPE program as a form of therapy. Through a robust program strategy, PGA HOPE aspires to create a physically and emotionally healthier Veteran community by shaping lives, changing lives, and possibly saving lives through the game of golf.
The Hero video below, featuring Jack Nicklaus, highlights the positive impact that PGA HOPE has on the lives of military Veterans.
After a recommendation from one of the providers at my VA hospital, I attended a four-week golf clinic sponsored by PGA HOPE and was later asked to be an Ambassador for the program. This opportunity has changed not only my game, but also my perspective. Having been an avid golfer before the Marines, I was so grateful to be welcomed back into a sport that I had been away from for nearly 15yrs. The professional staff of PGA HOPE gives veterans like me that little nudge we sometimes need to remember things we have forgotten about ourselves and encourages us to re-imagine our post-military lives through the game of golf. Being an Ambassador for this program is truly an honor.
PGA HOPE has made a huge impact on my life. I had both football and baseball scholarships to college but didn’t stay in school long initially. In the military, I was constantly participating in sports and athletic competitions. After being injured in Iraq, and enduring a total of 15 orthopedic surgeries, all hope of athletic competition was put aside for years. Through PGA HOPE, I was able to learn and participate in a sport for the first time in well over a decade. It does the heart and mind wonders to be able to find competitiveness and camaraderie again, especially with other veterans.
The PGA HOPE program has given me new purpose and direction. As a PTSD and suicide survivor, I have found golf as an incredible tool for focusing on the positive in life, and dealing with the negative by providing challenges, rewards, camaraderie,and personal development.
The PGA HOPE program has meant a lot to me in that it fosters an environment of safety, trust and genuine support for the overall wellness of the veteran community. Nowhere else have I been able tofeel comfortable and completely welcomed given the challenges I had integrating back into society after leaving the Marine Corps with multiple combat tours to Iraq and Afghanistan. The environment thatPGA HOPE creates for veterans saved me from the dark place I was stuck in; attributable to the Staff and PGA Professionals’ authenticity, the lessons learned about the game of golf that parallel life’s challenges, and the culture of camaraderie amongst all the veterans participating. It’s as if I’ve been given a “breath of fresh air” and can start to enjoy life again!
In 2019, PGA HOPE impacted 2,500 Veterans nationwide, taught by over 350 PGA Professional from around the country.
There are currently 162 PGA HOPE programs across the country, hosted in 38 participating PGA Sections.
PGA REACH recognizes Veterans Day as the PGA National Day of HOPE. On this day, PGA REACH works in partnership with the golf community to celebrate and honor our nation’s heroes as well as spread awareness about the PGA HOPE program.
Veteran suicide is a major issue in the Veteran community, and statistics show 22 Veterans a day commit suicide. PGA HOPE is working to change this statistic by utilizing the game of golf as a form of therapy.
PGA REACH works with PGA Sections, PGA Professionals, and VA hospitals to identify golf courses and communities that are willing to host and would benefit from the program
Local PGA Professionals are trained to teach golf to Veterans with physical and emotional disabilities as well as important aspects of Veteran rehabilitative culture
Local VA hospitals, warrior transition units, and other Veteran service organizations recruit Veterans to attend a one-day introductory golf experience
Six to eight week golf program led by trained PGA Professionals that provides Veterans with golf instruction, course access, and adaptive equipment if needed
A celebration of the completion of the first session. Specifics vary by market but graduation ceremonies include golf, lunch, and an equipment giveaway. A graduation card is issued that affords the Veteran with a range of golf related benefits in their local area