OAKDALE, MINN. – August 17, 2022 – The Minnesota PGA Section currently has 10 PGA Hope chapters where veterans participate in a 6-8 week golf clinic. PGA Hope is a nationwide program that helps more than 2,500 veterans a year through the game of golf. These golf sessions are used as a form of mental and physical therapy for the veterans. One of the facilities these sessions take place is at PGA Hope Oakdale and they just began their 3rd season as a Minnesota PGA Hope Chapter. They hosted 12 veterans a week throughout June and July at Oak Marsh Golf Course where veterans get fundamental golf teachings from a group of PGA Professionals. The two lead instructors are Steve Whillock and Greg Stang who have been in the golf industry for a combined 60+ years. They have been putting on golf tournaments and events that have benefited veterans for 20 years and wanted to give back even more when they took on the Oakdale PGA Hope Chapter. Steve has been a PGA member for 34 years and the Head Golf Professional at Oak Marsh for 26 of those years. He said “The main goal is like any golf clinic, to get better but more importantly have fun.”
One of the veterans in Steve’s program is battling Parkinson’s Disease and comes to each session with a positive attitude and stories to tell each week. Steve would go on to say, “We don’t need to be on the course to have fun. Some of the best times are chatting and storytelling.” He and the other instructors will sometimes take away more from a session than the veterans, because they are amazed by these heroes’ dedication. Steve and the other 350 PGA Professionals around the country that are part of PGA Hope go through training that gives them the tools and knowledge to teach veterans with physical and mental disabilities. These PGA Professionals build lasting friendships with veterans through coaching, encouraging, and bringing a smile to their face. “This is not a task. We love doing it so we are going to keep on doing it” Steve said. The PGA Hope program has been a staple point of PGA Reach because of the impact it has and will have on veterans’ lives.
All programs are funded by PGA Reach and PGA Section Foundations. If you are interested in learning more, donating or getting involved, please visit: https://www.minnesotapga.com/pga-reach-mn/military/
About PGA REACH Minnesota
PGA REACH Minnesota is the 501(c)(3) charitable foundation of the Minnesota Section PGA. The mission of PGA REACH Minnesota is to enable access to the game of golf utilizing PGA Professionals to positively impact the lives of youth, military, and diverse populations with an emphasis on inclusion. For more information about the Minnesota PGA and PGA REACH Minnesota, please visit minnesotapga.com and follow us @pgareachmn on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.