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PGA HOPE

PGA HOPE Wisconsin (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere) is the flagship military program of PGA REACH Wisconsin. PGA HOPE introduces golf to Veterans with disabilities to enhance their physical, mental, social and emotional well-being. Scroll to the bottom of this web page to find a program near you!

PGA HOPE FACTS

It is a fact that suicide is a major issue among military Veterans, with recent statistical studies showing that 22 Veterans a day commit suicide. PGA HOPE is working to change this statistic.

Participants of PGA HOPE programs include military Veterans living with physical or cognitive challenges such as Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and amputees, among other challenges.

The Department of Veterans Affairs research and clinical experience verify that physical activity is important to maintaining good health, speeding recovery and improving overall quality of life. For many injured Veterans, adaptive sports provide their first exposure to physical activity after injury.

PGA HOPE programming is fully funded by PGA REACH and is NO COST for Military Veterans.

PGA HOPE has a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Department of Veterans Affairs, which enables Recreational Therapists to refer Veterans to the PGA HOPE program as a form of therapy.

 

PGA National Day of HOPE Campaign runs from October 11th – November 11th to benefit PGA HOPE Wisconsin. To donate or learn more, click here.

 

 

Information for Veterans Thinking About PGA HOPE

Check out the “2022 PGA HOPE Site Locations”  to find a site near you! Contact the PGA HOPE site with the contact information provided and fill out the waiver form below to bring with you to your PGA HOPE location.

PGA HOPE Participant Waiver

PGA HOPE Wisconsin serves Veterans all throughout Wisconsin. Specific program locations can be found under “2022 PGA HOPE Site Location Information”. If you do not live in Wisconsin and would like to find a PGA HOPE program near you, please visit pgareach.org/services/military.

All Veterans are eligible to participate depending on the space available at each host site. This will be on a first-come first-serve basis.

Only Wisconsin PGA Members and Associates who have been certified through the PGA HOPE training program are able to teach the PGA HOPE clinics.

Physical:

  • Can help improve cardiovascular health
  • Can help improve muscle strength
  • Can help improve balance, coordination, and flexibility

 

Emotional:

  • Can help improve your sense of confidence and self-esteem
  • Can be an outlet
  • Helps with things such as precision, control, and etiquette
  • Challenges you in new ways

 

Social:

  • Use golf to come together with other Veterans and people who can relate to what you have been through
  • Forms sense of comradery
  • Forms sense of community
  • Helps others understand the wounds of war and how they may affect everyday life

 

Cognitive:

  • Can help improve focus and concentration
  • Can help improve memory
  • Can increase blood flow to the brain
  • Can improve visualization skills

 

PGA HOPE’s goal is to enhance your physical, mental, social, and emotional well-being.

“I was led to the PGA HOPE Program by a friend who had seen an ad in his local newspaper. I can only speak for myself, but golf gives me a sense of peace while playing. Most Veterans, depending on their experience while serving, do not like to be around a lot of people especially cooped up indoors. Golf is the perfect outdoor recreation. Fresh air, beautiful landscape, plenty of space and good friends. While in the military, you are taught that teamwork is everything. Always look out for your Brothers and Sisters. No Man or Woman left behind. Veterans benefit from programs like PGA HOPE because they feel understood by people who may have gone through the same experiences that they had. Veterans will never disparage another Veteran. I think this leads to more participants because they know they’ll receive help versus ridicule from another Veteran. It is a feeling of belonging and being a part of something. Camaraderie. Everybody wants to belong to something with people like themselves. Veterans yearn for that feeling of camaraderie after they are discharged. I’m a Veteran and I’ve also played every sport to one extent or another and that’s what brings me to participate in programs like PGA HOPE. That’s why these programs are great.

Last year was a special one for our program in Wisconsin. The Ryder Cup was here and PGA HOPE invited us to the opening ceremonies.

I recommend this program to all Veterans. This type of program helps Veterans whether they sat behind a desk stateside or were injured combat Veterans.”

-John Harvey, E4 Communications Specialist. U.S. Air Force

John Harvey, USAF Veteran

John Harvey was an E4 Communications Specialist with the U.S. Air Force. Outside of his time in the military, he coached girls and boys baseball and basketball for almost 20 years at the elementary, jr. high, and highschool levels. Along with being a Veteran, he is also an avid golfer, which is part of what led him to the PGA HOPE Program initially.

“The program is designed to help Veterans become involved in golf. Whether you sat behind a desk stateside, or are an injured combat Veteran, this program is beneficial to all Veterans who participate. Being semi-retired I’ve decided to become a mentor in the PGA HOPE Program. Last year our group had so much fun! There were Vietnam Veterans (me), Enduring Freedom Veterans, and Iraq and Afghanistan War Veterans all together to have fun, learn the sport of golf, and to get outside and enjoy themselves with people who understand and care about each other. Getting back the feeling of camaraderie while competing in an outdoor activity is soothing to the soul. I recommend this program to all Veterans. Do not hesitate to contact me and I can point you in the right direction on how you can be involved with this program. If you email me, I will give you my cell number and we can speak directly!”

Email: j.harv70@hotmail.com

Contact Erika Pirkl, Director of Player Development at epirkl@pgahq.com or call our office at 414-443-3570

2022 PGA HOPE Site Location Information

Location: Brookfield, WI

Golf Course: Storm’s Golf Range; Graduation day at Brookfield Hills Golf Course

Time: Summer 2022

Dates: June 11th, 18th, 25th & July 2nd, 9th, and 16th @ 1:30pm – 3:00pm; Graduation day: July 23rd

How to Sign Up:  Contact Rob Elliott at relliott@pga.com

View Flyer Here

Location: Franklin, WI

Golf Course: Oakwood Park Golf Course

Time: Fall 2022

Dates: September 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th from 1-3pm

How to Sign Up: Call Chet Hendrickson at 414-257-4856

Location: Kohler, WI

Golf Course: Whistling Straits

Time: Summer 2022

Dates: July 6th, 13th, 20th, 27th & August 3rd from 12pm – 1:30pm

How to Sign Up: https://kohlercollection.com/products/pga-hope.html

View Flyer Here 

 

Location: Madison, WI

Golf Course: The Oaks Golf Course & Vitense Golfland

Time: Summer 2022

Dates: June 15th & 22nd (The Oaks); June 29th, July 13th & 20th (Vitense) @ 2pm – 3:30pm

How to Sign Up: Contact Pat Gorman at patgormangolf@gmail.com

View Flyer Here

View Program Schedule Here

Location: Milwaukee, WI

Golf Course: TBD

Time: Fall 2022

Dates: TBD

How to Sign Up: Coming Soon! 

Location: Stevens Point, WI

Golf Course: SentryWorld

Time: Summer 2022

Dates: August 25th, September 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd & 29th — @5pm

How to Sign Up: Contact: Joe Wood

Email: joe.wood@sentryworld.com

Phone: 715-295-7425

View Flyer Here

Location: Tomah, WI

Golf Course: Jason Simcakoski Memorial Golf Course

Times: Summer 2022

Dates: May 4th, 11th, 18th & 25th — @ 2pm & 3pm

How to Sign Up: Contact: Joe Wood

Email: joe.wood@sentryworld.com

Phone: 715-295-7425

View Flyer Here

Read More About the Simmy Foundation Here

Print and Fill Out The PGA HOPE Participant Waiver Forms Here and Bring It With You!

Meet our PGA Hope Ambassador, John Harvey

John was nominated to go to Congressional Country Club for the 2022 National Golf and Wellness Week to become Wisconsin’s first PGA HOPE Ambassador. As an Ambassador for PGA HOPE Wisconsin, John will be working closely with the Wisconsin PGA Staff to recruit more Veterans to join the program, strategize on how to grow the program in Wisconsin, and ultimately represent the PGA HOPE Wisconsin program at both the local and national levels. We are confident that John will make a great addition to the team and help us impact as many Veterans as we can here in Wisconsin.

 

John Harvey was an E4 Communications Specialist with the U.S. Air Force. Outside of his time in the military, he coached girls and boys baseball and basketball for almost 20 years at the elementary, jr. high, and highschool levels. Along with being a Veteran, he is also an avid golfer, which is part of what led him to the PGA HOPE Program initially.

“The program is designed to help Veterans become involved in golf. Whether you sat behind a desk stateside, or are an injured combat Veteran, this program is beneficial to all Veterans who participate. Last year our group had so much fun! There were Vietnam Veterans (me), Enduring Freedom Veterans, and Iraq and Afghanistan War Veterans all together to have fun, learn the sport of golf, and to get outside and enjoy themselves with people who understand and care about each other. Getting back the feeling of camaraderie while competing in an outdoor activity is soothing to the soul. I recommend this program to all Veterans. Do not hesitate to contact me and I can point you in the right direction on how you can be involved with this program. If you email me, I will give you my cell number and we can speak directly!”

Email: j.harv70@hotmail.com

Click Here to learn more about National Golf and Wellness Week

PGA HOPE Veteran Mentorship Program

The PGA HOPE Veteran Mentorship Program is a program of Veterans leading other Veterans. Our mentors are Veterans who have already gone through the PGA HOPE Program who want to stay involved, and are there for our new PGA HOPE family. They will be a reference, someone to ask questions to, someone who is relatable, and someone who can bring some insight so that we can continue to make our PGA HOPE programs the most impactful that they can be.

This is strictly volunteer — the only requirements are that you have gone through the PGA HOPE Program as a participant and that you go to at least one PGA HOPE Program as a mentor per year.

As a mentor your responsibilities will include:

  • Giving testimonials to the Wisconsin PGA about your experience as a participant in PGA HOPE
  • Answering questions that Veterans looking to join a PGA HOPE Program may have about how the program works from a fellow Veteran’s perspective
  • Being a relatable figure at the PGA HOPE Programs

To become a PGA HOPE Veteran Mentor, you must have already been a participant in a PGA HOPE Program. If you would like to become a mentor, please contact Amelia DeCeanne at adeceanne@pgahq.com.

Thomas Fischer, Retired US Army Veteran

Thomas served in the Army, Army Reserve, and Wisconsin Army National Guard. He enjoys fishing, curling (in the winter), golf, lots and lots of travel, and he volunteers for multiple veteran service organizations such as Hometown Hero Outdoors, Fishing for Good Foundation, Wounded Warriors of Wisconsin, and a few more. He retired from Active Service in 2020 as an Active Guard Reserve Senior Logistics NCO. Thomas and his wife, Kay, have been married for over 27 years, and they have two daughters whom Thomas describes as strong, independent women. Thomas continues to do some contract work in the logistics field. He volunteers and networks as often as he can. His passion is getting youth involved in lifelong hobbies such as golf, fishing, curling, and pretty much anything outdoors. 

“I was led to the PGA HOPE Program because I had a lot of trouble adjusting my golf game and swing to some of my physical problems. Going into it, I was hoping to be able to find a swing that wouldn’t aggravate my back and knees on a regular basis. That, plus improving certain aspects of my game such as getting rid of my horrendous slice. My experience in the PGA HOPE Program was very professional and one-on-one. I really enjoyed how I never felt judged during the whole process. The instructors seemed to understand that I had some physical limitations and realistically and cautiously looked for ways for me to improve. I would certainly recommend PGA HOPE to other Veterans because I have met several other Veterans in my area and have golfed several rounds with them since. It is always great to make new friends and share a laugh or two. Plus, why would you not seek out professional instruction to improve your golf game?”

Email: tafish2020@gmail.com

 

Doug Nelson, Retired US Army Veteran

Doug was a Logistics Officer in the Army, both Active and Reserves for 29 years. Since becoming an Honor Caddy at age 12, he has enjoyed golf at various levels. However, for about 20 years, his golf game took a back seat to training and running a lot of marathons and half-marathons. He also loves to travel and has visited 49 of the 51 National Parks in the lower 48 states. He says, “Back in 69′ if someone would have told me that I would spend 29 years in the service, I would have said that they were nuts. You make it if you set that goal and keep at it. Find the positives in your current situation and progress from there.” He invites everyone who might be interested in the program to feel free to email him. He will provide his cell number as well to communicate on a more personal level. 

“I was led to the PGA HOPE Program after I had a fall and broke my elbow and shoulder. I had just started to swing a club, so instead of playing 18 holes, I joined the clinic on the range. When joining PGA HOPE, I was just looking to get my swing back, but the more I looked into the program, the mentorship part appealed to me. The curling club that I belong to offers adaptive curling. Five to six times a season, 8-10 Veterans from the VA come over and we have some fun throwing rocks on the ice. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with those guys, and so I thought that part of the PGA HOPE Program would be enjoyable as well. My experience with the program was very organized and working with the PGA Professional (Rob Elliott) was informative and at my own pace. I would highly recommend the program to other Veterans for an enjoyable 90 minutes. 6-8 weeks to work on your golf game at whatever level you are at and for whatever reason you are participating.”

Email: dougnelson33@aol.com

 

Information for PGA Members Wanting to Get Involved

Contact our section office for a program near you — Look out for a training here in Wisconsin in 2023!

Check out this booklet from PGA REACH that explains everything you need to know about leading a PGA HOPE Program!

PGA HOPE Guidelines for PGA Members

“Going into leading a PGA HOPE program, I did not know what to expect. I was hoping the veterans would enjoy the class and possibly meet a friend or two. The one thing that caught my attention early was that the participants showed up and kept their distance from me and the others when checking in. All were friendly but cautious. The biggest change over the course of the program was the openness to each other and to myself and my fellow instructors. They opened up fairly quickly. At first, there was a lot of hesitation but that soon turned to excitement as each week they looked forward to being at the lessons.

What led me to lead a PGA HOPE program is that I wanted to do what I felt was the right thing and give back to our Veterans. Over the years that I have led these programs, it has given me a greater appreciation of what this Program means to the Veterans. I also learned that while they put their lives on the line, the golf is a HUGE thing in their life. I will continue to do PGA HOPE as long as I can.

For any Veterans who are thinking about joining a PGA HOPE program I would advise you to give this program a shot. Come out with a friend or two and enjoy the fresh air, camaraderie, and fun.”

-Rob Elliott, PGA

Photo Courtesy of the Milwaukee VA Medical Center