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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Disabled Vets to Learn Golf Free with Met PGA Pros

Met PGA Hope (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere) got off to a good start yesterday at the John Kennedy Learning Center at Westchester Country Club when dozens of local pros gathered to find out how they can help veterans with disabilities benefit from the game of golf.

"There's a special link between golfers and our veterans," said Charles Robson, Executive Director of the Met PGA. "With West Point in our backyard, it just seems like a natural."  The eight-week golf instructional program for veterans with disabilities is slated to roll-out at West Point GC this spring.  "For us, it all comes down to giving something back to these people to whom we owe so much. For the vets, it's a great chance for them to benefit from the game."

Elmwood CC's Pete Stefanchik
swings wrong-handed on one leg
The pros attended a morning presentation by PGA Professional David Windsor, an expert in teaching adaptive golf programs for individuals with physical and cognitive challenges.  In the afternoon, they experienced first hand what the vets feel like trying to play golf while coping with various disabilities. The pros wore various devices that forced them to hit a ball on one leg, or with the opposite hand like a switch hitter in baseball, or with only one eye.

"The sensation is totally different," said Heath Wassem, Met PGA President and head pro at Fenway Golf Club. "It really gives you a great appreciation of what they go through."  There were also several disabled vets in the crowd who demonstrated their prowess.

PGA HOPE is the flagship military program of PGA REACH, the charitable foundation of the PGA of America. It is designed to introduce golf -- at NO cost -- to veterans with disabilities in order to enhance their physical, mental, social, and emotional well-being. The HOPE program, led by PGA professionals, helps veterans assimilate back into their communities through the social interaction the game of golf provides.

Interested participants should contact the Met PGA to learn more.

Among many other books, Dave Donelson is the author of Weird Golf: 18 tales of fantastic, horrific, scientifically impossible, and morally reprehensible golf

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