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 middle 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.
Check out the “2023 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 Wisconsin serves Veterans all throughout Wisconsin. Specific program locations can be found under “2023 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. Specifically, our members and associates are trained in military culture and competency as well as adaptive physical specialties.
The following locations are “PGA HOPE Programs.” This means that at each location, PGA HOPE certified professionals host weekly sessions at a driving range or practice area. Typically the final session involves an on-course component. We do offer clinics and special events as well.
Click Here to be redirected to our program location registration page. Please contact Erika Pirkl at epirkl@Pgahq.com if you have any questions!
Is your program location full? Get on our contact list so we can update you when spots become available. We will keep you up to date on special events and program locations.Click Here to Stay in Touch!
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!”
Click Here to learn more about National Golf and Wellness Week
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:
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 email@example.com.
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?”
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.”
Register for one of our PGA HOPE Trainings listed below:
Training is universal for PGA Members and associates. There are trainings happening in every Section. If you cannot make a local training, check out the national calendar linked here and reach out to that Section if you plan on attending.
Check out this booklet from PGA REACH that explains everything you need to know about leading a PGA HOPE Program!
“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