PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (Nov. 17, 2020) – The 4th Annual PGA National Day of HOPE was celebrated on Veterans Day, highlighted by all-time major Champion Jack Nicklaus recently hosting three military veterans at The Bear’s Club in Jupiter, Florida, for an experience of a lifetime.
Nicklaus thanked each veteran for their service, shared instructional tips and even introduced them to 2017 PGA Champion Justin Thomas, before sending them out for an exciting round of golf on the Championship golf course.
Among the golfers were Navy veteran Carl Wolf, of Cape Coral, Florida; and Army Veterans Christina Olivarez of Atlantis, Florida, and Dave Thomas of West Palm Beach, Florida. All three are graduates of the PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere) program, the flagship military program for PGA REACH.
Joining them for instruction and a round of golf was 2020 South Florida PGA Section Patriot Award recipient Allen Manguson, PGA, General Manager at Coral Oaks Golf Course in Cape Coral. Manguson conducts the course’s PGA HOPE program.
“We had great fun at The Bear’s Club with the three Veterans and PGA Professional Allen Manguson, a very deserving recipient of his Section’s Patriot Award for his work with PGA HOPE,” said Nicklaus. “We talked a little about their lives and the game of golf, shared some laughs, hit a few golf shots, offered a tip or two they could take with them on the course, and just had a great time. Hopefully, they all enjoyed playing the course.
“I was just delighted we could open The Bear’s Club and our hearts to this group of PGA HOPE Veterans, offer them an enjoyable day as we neared Veterans Day, and, most importantly, thank them. Although for these Veterans and those who have sacrificed life and limb for our freedom, ‘thanks’ just never seems quite enough.”
The PGA National Day of HOPE celebration has two goals: Commemorate our nation’s heroes who protect our freedom; and raise awareness and support for PGA HOPE.
“PGA National Day of HOPE is an opportunity to honor and celebrate military heroes who have sacrificed so much, while highlighting the life-changing golf programming that is available for Veterans across the country through PGA HOPE,” said PGA President Jim Richerson. “It’s truly inspiring to have Jack Nicklaus participate and deliver a once-in-a-lifetime experience for these Veterans.”
PGA HOPE introduces the game of golf to veterans with disabilities through a developmental six-to-eight week curriculum, taught by PGA Professionals trained in adaptive golf and military cultural competency. All programs are funded by PGA REACH and supplemented by the foundations of PGA Sections across America, so the cost of programming is free to all Veterans.
Currently, there are 132 active PGA HOPE program locations nationwide, positively impacting more than 2,500 military veterans each year. More than 350 PGA Members have been trained to specifically train Veterans.
The HOPE program is also championed by 20 PGA HOPE Veteran Ambassadors who have graduated from local PGA HOPE programs and participated in the four-day advanced golf instruction and wellness training program at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland, as part of the 2019 PGA HOPE National Golf & Wellness Week.
“PGA HOPE makes a tremendous impact on veterans lives,” said PGA HOPE Military & Veteran Liaison Chris Nowak, a Marines Corps Veteran. “It’s a special opportunity and a moment in time for Veterans to utilize golf for physical and emotional rehabilitation. Today, we celebrate all of America’s servicemen and women on Veterans Day, as well as PGA HOPE for making a difference through the game of golf for our Veterans nationwide.”
The following 13 PGA Sections will host fundraising campaigns in conjunction with the 4th Annual PGA National Day of HOPE: Carolinas, Gateway, Metropolitan, Middle Atlantic, Midwest, Nebraska, New Jersey, Northern California, Philadelphia, South Florida, Southern Ohio, Tri-State and Western New York.
Among the 2020 Campaign highlights:
- Northern California PGA Foundation – Veteran Drive, Chip & Putt Competition
The Northern California PGA Foundation celebrated military heroes with a Veteran Drive, Chip & Putt Competition on Nov. 9, at Chardonnay Golf Club in Napa, California, and Nov. 10 at Mariner’s Point Golf Center, in Foster City, California. A total of 100 military Veterans (50 at each location) competed in the longest drive, closest chip to the hole and a putting competition for prizes and bragging rights.
- PGA REACH Carolinas HOPE Cup – On, Nov. 9, the Carolinas PGA Section hosted the 3rd Annual PGA REACH Carolinas HOPE Cup at Cougar Point Golf Course at Kiawah Island (S.C.) Golf Resort. The annual season-ending event showcases the life-changing HOPE program. All 13 PGA HOPE programs in the Carolinas participated, and each team consisted of one PGA HOPE certified Professional and four PGA HOPE Veterans who have graduated from their program.
- PGA HOPE New Jersey Veteran Golf Outing – For Veterans Day, 20 Veterans in the PGA HOPE program through the New Jersey Golf Foundation are participating in a spirited nine-hole golf outing alongside PGA Professionals at Fiddler’s Elbow Country Club in Bedminster.
- The PGA REACH Marathon Team is running to raise funds for PGA National Day of HOPE. Eight PGA Professionals across the country are running 10 miles each on Veterans Day in support of PGA REACH.
To further support PGA National Day of HOPE, PGA REACH launched a campaign through the GoFundMe Charity platform, where individuals and organizations can contribute to meaningful fundraising events in support of Veterans and PGA HOPE programming.
To make a donation, click here.
For more information on PGA HOPE, visit PGAREACH.org