KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. (WCBD) – Golf’s biggest names are set to tee it up in the Lowcountry this week at the PGA Championship on Kiawah Island but they’re not the only ones getting a chance to play a round of golf at the golf resort this week.
Veterans from across the Carolinas and country took to the course Monday morning for the Secretary’s Cup. The veterans are part of PGA HOPE, a program offering support for veterans through the game of golf.
Whether played competitively or just for fun, some say golf can offer an outlet to escape. For some veterans competing in the event, they say the program putting the event on most likely saved their life.
Teeing up a round of golf, it’s a sport providing new hope for those who served their country.
“It’s very emotional to talk to some of the veterans in this program and they tell you, they look in your eyes and say this saved my life,” says Jim Richerdson, President of PGA of America.
Richardson says the program has helped more than 2,000 veterans nationwide teaching them the game of golf at various courses.
“It’s the only golf related military program that is actually approved as rehabilitation,” says Richerdson.
More than just a day on the course but a time for veterans to bond and share combat stories while playing the game.
“Now they can sleep at night because they have found a sense of peace and ease through the game of golf,” says Harold Hill, a veteran participate in the program.
For the PGA professionals teaching the game, they say it’s a special opportunity to work with the veterans.
“I kind of hope that my working with them is my way of giving back,” says Perry Green, Director of Golf at Wescott Golf Course in Summerville.
For veterans participating like Hill, he says he didn’t start golfing until five years ago but believes it saved his life.
“And it helps relieve and release some of the tension that some of us may have from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or physical ailments.
From teeing it up to putting on the green, Hill says the game serves as a symbol of hope.
“So it’s more than just hitting these little balls, it’s so much more than that,” says Hill. “This is just a microcosm.”
The 8 week training course through PGA hope is offered at several courses locally. Veterans interested in the program can sign up here.