Sixteen Military Veterans Graduate from Cape Coral PGA HOPE Program

Sixteen Military Veterans Graduate from Cape Coral PGA HOPE Program

An airman, soldier and a sailor walk onto the fourteenth tee at Coral Oaks Golf Course. This punchline might sound humorous, but when it comes to PGA HOPE in Cape Coral, it’s more of a story of inspiration. One had never swung a golf club before, and another was rediscovering how to play the game of golf with a prosthetic leg. On April 3rd, 2019, sixteen military veterans graduated from a six-week golf clinic free to servicemen and women, taught by PGA Professionals at Coral Oaks Golf Course. All participants of PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere) have served our nation and met at the golf course to receive a new golf game and a new way life.

PGA HOPE doubles as therapeutic rehabilitation and free golf instruction to military veterans, as the flagship military program provided by the PGA of America’s foundation PGA REACH. Here in south Florida, the SFPGA Foundation will host twelve PGA HOPE programs in 2019, and Cape Coral was the trailblazer for this year’s HOPE season.
Over the past month and a half, the sixteen military veterans gathered at Coral Oaks once a week for two hours to gain insight on how to improve their golf game and support their fellow servicemen and women on-and-off the golf course. Ranging from rookies to intermediate golfers, some with visible affects from their time in the service and some with invisible disabilities, all had much to gain from the expert instruction taught by four PGA and LPGA Professionals. Allen Manguson, PGA, General Manager of the host site served as the lead instructor for the course and began the program with ball flight laws and ended the program with an on-course round to practice all the skills the students had gathered.

April 3rd served as the graduation ceremony for the program and involved a scramble followed by a lunch and small ceremony. To kick off the festivities, participants divvied up into foursomes, paired with one of the four instructors and worked on every aspect of the game from tee to green. They headed in to the clubhouse for a lunch and small ceremony where each instructor and veteran got to share in one word, their summarization of their time in the program. Many words included, “Appreciative, Thankful, Honored, Great,” and even “Grip.” Bagged gifts including hats, towels, challenge coins and ongoing golfing opportunities for participants were distributed to encourage all graduates to continue playing and make this program last more than just the six weeks of training.
All in attendance had much to learn. PGA HOPE transforms PGA Professional instructors and military veterans into comrades, each sharing their wisdom in learning opportunities. The SFPGA would like to thank the host site and PGA Professionals that taught this program including Terrie Weiss, LPGA; Fred Cook, PGA; and James Dunn, PGA.

For more information about the South Florida PGA Foundation click HERE now.

For more information about PGA HOPE throughout south Florida, click HERE now. To see images from our most recent graduation, click HERE now.