HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The PGA Hope golf program brings 40 veterans to Harrisburg Country Club for one month to encourage camaraderie and provide an outlet.
“Golf has been known to be an amazing rehabilitation and therapeutic hobby for veterans,” said Courtney Curcio, PGA Reach Philadelphia Director. “This is our core mission is to just get them out of the house and get a club in their hands.”
The program name stands for Helping Our Patriots Everywhere, and is focused on giving veterans a chance to learn or play golf for free.
“[It’s] just a chance to get better at golf and have some professionals teach me how to do that,” said Audrey Butz, a W-4 Chief Warrant Officer 4 in the Army. “I’ve been golfing for a long time. It’s about time I start to get good at it.”
Midstate golf professionals, like head pro Jeff Breiner and Chip Richter, volunteer their time to give these veterans some pointers and help adjust their swings to better serve any injuries they sustained in service.
“Already, I learned something new that I wasn’t doing right,” said Edward Gill, who served for 39 years. “I’ve got arthritis in my thumbs so bad and I have to hold the club a special way.”
The idea is to give veterans a reprieve from some of the troubles they may face in daily life after serving in the military.
“They’re not thinking about what happened overseas, or what was going on throughout there lives previous to that two seconds they’re about to hit this ball,” Curcio said. “They served our country and this is just a small portion of us giving back to them. Giving them hope and showing them that we care about them, and we care about the legacy that they’re leaving behind.”
The program meets for about a month in the spring and fall, and is totally free for veterans or active duty military.
“This program touches some heart strings,” said Harrisburg Country Club Head Golf Professional Jeff Breiner. “My dad was in the Army, and I’ve got two uncles that are Air Force and Navy. This is just a simple way to help my community and that’s what all this is about.”
For information about how to register for PGA Hope, click here.