Bringing HOPE to PGA Frisco
December 15, 2022 by Hayden Lewis, PGA
For the golf industry as a whole, PGA Frisco represents new opportunities, future championships and taking the game of golf to new, unimaginable heights. But as we began visiting, working and learning out of the new home something else happened – lives were being forever changed through the game of golf.
PGA Frisco is a place where people come to discover new passions and develop a love of the game. This was on display this past week.
35 PGA Professionals made up of Northern Texas Section and PGA of America staff members participated in the very first PGA HOPE training to be hosted at our space in Frisco.
Led by National PGA HOPE Trainers Judy Alvarez, PGA/LPGA, Bob Epperly, PGA and Brian Oliver, PGA, the attendees learned what it means to use adaptive golf techniques and equipment while diving into important topics surrounding military cultural competency.
Not often seen in golf instruction, this group of PGA Professionals was invited to adaptively stand in the shoes of Veterans who could be taking up the game for the very first time. Just imagine swinging a golf club from a seated position with your body rotated 90 degrees or hitting a shot while standing on one leg.
The collaborative instruction even went as far as blindfolding the newly minted PGA HOPE instructors to hit a routine chip shot around the indoor short-game area to simulate the experience of Veterans who have low vision or blindness. Those simple tasks quickly became complicated and unfamiliar to golf professionals who experience the game every day. The ability to adapt to any golfer, however, is exactly where a PGA Professional shines.
“I think this is what this place is all about, right? It’s amazing to be able to walk from a classroom setting right into a simulator out onto the practice facility and teach these valuable programs,” said Chief Membership Officer of the PGA of America John Easterbook, PGA.
“To go through PGA HOPE training personally, and see the depth of the knowledge our instructors bring combined with the value the Home of the PGA of America is just incredible.”PGA HOPE is now an indelible piece of the journey of these 35 PGA Professionals working to change lives through the game. Maybe that’s how they originally got introduced to the game – sparking a lifelong interest and passion that has brought them where they are today. Or maybe they want to honor a friend or family member who served in the military, and create life-changing opportunities through golf for other Veterans.
“I’m so honored to be here, my brother is in the Air Force and I understand the sacrifices that he makes on a daily basis,” said Jennifer Bermingham, PGA/LPGA about participating. “Going into the classroom this morning and learning about what Veterans experience and what we may face as PGA HOPE instructors is so critical. To then apply what we learned in the afternoon is just as important because this is exactly how I learn to connect those two dots.”
So here’s to the start of something special and creating more opportunities for golf to make its mark. The Home of the PGA of America was built around the idea that golf is truly a game for everyone. It’s a game that can bring hope and joy in unexpected ways. For these 35 PGA Professionals, it’s just another way for this vision to become reality as the PGA of America continues to settle in and take shape at its new home in Frisco.