How Tim Reeves, PGA, is Supporting Fellow Veterans Through PGA HOPE
January 15, 2024 by Hayden Lewis, PGA
Photos by Abby Ligons / Golf House Kentucky
PGA of America Golf Professional and U.S. Army Veteran Tim Reeves says he was destined to work in the golf industry.
“When it comes to golf, everything has fallen into place just perfectly,” Reeves adds.
Now entering his fifth year leading a PGA HOPE program out of Quail Chase Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky, Tim is excited to see how the program continues to grow and impact the lives of Veterans not just in Kentucky, but the entire country.
Learn more about Tim’s journey with PGA HOPE in the conversation below:
Talk about your golf journey – how did you get started in the game?
Tim Reeves, PGA: It’s actually funny because my military service coincides with my introduction to the game. I never even touched a club until I was 23 years old. I served from 1988-92 and picked up the game right before I got out of service.
I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but I was blessed with the athletic genes growing up, so golf came pretty easily once I got into it more. I didn’t know the first thing about the game other than watching the Masters with my dad growing up. I swung that golf club nine times before I ever made contact with the ball and I was hooked right from the get-go.
After serving in the U.S. Army, how did you become a PGA of America Golf Professional?
Reeves: After my time in the Army, I served in a government job in Maryland for a while. I was still playing a ton of golf. I was within 10 years of retiring and at the local municipal course where I would practice, the owner, who happened to be a PGA of America Member himself, approached me and asked if I would come and work for him – so I said yes and ended up working for him for 13 years. During that time, the same gentleman also encouraged me to earn my PGA Membership because I had grown a keen affinity for teaching the game to others.
“It’s truly been a blessing how my golf journey fell into place the way it did.”
- Tim Reeves, PGA
Can you talk about how you got involved in PGA HOPE?
Reeves: Once I retired, I decided that it was time to go back home to Kentucky. In 2018, the President of the Kentucky Section at the time approached me and asked if I would do some teaching for him. Of course, I agreed and he said, ‘Great, we’re going to be running this program called PGA HOPE.’ I had no idea what the program was nor had I heard of it.
I had worked with Veterans before through other programs, and had always enjoyed working with Veterans because I know how to relate to them. I remember our very first PGA HOPE session and we had six Veterans there. It was so fun getting to see these individuals come to life through golf.
How have you seen PGA HOPE grow & change since you’ve gotten involved?
Reeves: We truly keep an open invitation to any and all Veterans or Active Duty Military. During COVID, like many other programs across the country, we saw a bit of a lull. However, over the last two years, we’ve really seen the program explode and become something that is really special. There’s just something different about PGA HOPE – it’s quite literally saving lives.
We’ve been able to expand our program to be on the Fort Knox Army Post and just started our third session at Quail Chase. To go from hosting six Veterans to now graduating over 200 Veterans is an amazing feeling. We also have Veterans who have graduated from the program and want to stay involved. We’ve been able to create a mentorship program for these individuals so they can still be a part of PGA HOPE every week and help new graduates along their journey.
You talk about how PGA HOPE is saving lives. What does that mean to you?
Reeves: I’ve had Veterans come up to me talking about how before they signed up for PGA HOPE, they didn’t have a whole lot of direction. When they found PGA HOPE, they share how grateful they are to be back in the world and out of their own head. I think when you can provide that escapism for someone who may be going through a tough time, you pat yourself on the back. To achieve this through golf is just icing on the cake – nothing can beat that feeling. To me, it’s truly the greatest day of the week.
As someone who grew up near Fort Knox, having served in the U.S. Army, to now leading PGA HOPE in the same community – that has to be a special feeling.
Reeves: For sure, if there was ever a full-circle moment in my life – that would be the one. Growing up in this area, you just develop this unspoken respect and appreciation for service members and the sacrifice they are making for our country. As a young kid, when you see a soldier, you just look up to them. That always stuck with me.
You’ve had a lot of success with PGA HOPE in the Kentucky Section. What would you say to other PGA of America Golf Professionals who are interested in starting a program or getting trained as a PGA HOPE Instructor?
Reeves: Find the closest program and just go observe – see how the program comes to life and the impact it carries for the Veterans. Of course there are situations where certain facilities can’t host programming, but maybe team up with another PGA Member in your Section and host it at a different facility.
One thing I tell everyone is you don’t need to treat anyone differently than you would any other student. The Veteran is there to hopefully become a better version of themselves and to find a sense of normal again – that’s all they want. Once you find how much they need the program, that’s all the reason in the world I need to raise my hand.
What is PGA HOPE to you?
Reeves: PGA HOPE is very fulfilling. No matter which side of the ball you are standing on, whether you’re leading instruction or receiving instruction. It’s fulfilling for all involved. To me, it’s a joy to play even a small part in helping out my brothers and sisters.
To learn more about PGA HOPE or if you’re a PGA of America Golf Professional who would like to lead a program in 2024, click here.