PGA Hope introduces golf to local veterans

EAST AMHERST, NY (WKBW) – In the summer, Wednesdays are circled on the calendar for local veterans and local golf professionals. The PGA’s “Helping our Patriots Everywhere” (Hope) program has been growing for years.

“It becomes a family, you know? said U.S. Marine Corps veteran Joe Wooley. “It’s something a lot of us lack in the military, because it’s very hard to find in the civilian world.”

The Glen Oak Golf Club family welcomes veterans of all ages, experiences and skill levels to the golf course. The eight-week program is not limited to greens and tee boxes.

“[Veterans] are quite remarkable people. And golf is a magical game, said PGA Hope Ambassador Scott Smalter. “When you bring people like that and the sport together, it makes conversations – deeper conversations – a lot easier to have. “

The camaraderie and conversations that happen on the golf course can make all the difference in the world, especially if a veteran is in trouble. The instructors don’t take their job or their impact lightly either.

“In fact, a few years ago a veteran came and said, ‘Golf saved my life. You saved my life teaching me the game of golf,” Glen Oak chief golf professional Anthony Schiro said. “They thank us, and I just feel like it’s a little back.”

PGA Hope started in early June and will run until the end of July. Golf clubs in Youngstown, NY, Rush, NY and Waterford, PA also offer summer programs. Veterans interested in future sessions can learn more from their local Veterans Affairs offices.

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