11th Annual Riverside GIVE Charity Golf Event

The 11th Annual Riverside GIVE Charity Golf Event Presented By Billion Automotive of Iowa City will be held Wednesday, July 26th and Thursday, July 27th at Riverside Casino and Golf Resort in Riverside, Iowa. [Read more…]

3rd Annual Grand Falls GIVE Charity Golf Event

The 3rd Annual Grand Falls GIVE Charity Golf Event Presented by Billion Automotive will be held on Wednesday, June 21st and Thursday, June 22nd 2017 at Grand Falls Casino and Golf Resort in Larchwood, IA. [Read more…]

New Adaptive Golf Carts for GIVE Foundation

G.I.V.E. 1

Thanks to our sponsors, we were able to purchase three brand new Adaptive Golf Carts to better serve those who served.

Jim Dickerson honored with 2014 PGA Patriot Award

JIM DICKERSON – Patriot Award
Finkbine Golf Course, Iowa City, Iowa & Blue Top Ridge at Riverside – Riverside, Iowa

2014-Jim-Dickerson

2014 Patriot Award recipient Jim Dickerson

Jim Dickerson is a PGA Teaching Professional at the University of Iowa Finkbine Golf Course in Iowa City; and the Director of Instruction for the GIVE (Golf for Injured Veterans Everywhere) Foundation at Blue Top Ridge Golf Course at the Riverside Casino & Golf Resort in Riverside, Iowa. Since 2008, he has been the lead instructor for the GIVE Foundation, a national golf rehabilitation model known for its success in using the game of golf to aid in a veteran’s recovery from both physical injuries and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) issues.

Dickerson, 70, has guided more than 600 veterans and their families to learn the game of golf. Born in Fort Dodge, Iowa and raised in Iowa City, Dickerson is a retired Sergeant Major who served in Vietnam as a member of the 173rd Airborne Brigade in 1968. Following his retirement from the Army in 1991, Dickerson became an assistant professional at Finkbine Golf Course and was elected to PGA membership in 1995. He is the first Iowa PGA Section member to receive the National Patriot Award and was the inaugural Iowa Section Patriot Award recipient in 2013. Dickerson also received the Iowa PGA Section Bill Strausbaugh Award in 2012. [Read more…]

Golf instructor’s GIVE program gives back to veterans

 

Golf-Injured-Veterans-Everywhere-Mark-Burke-01

NORWALK, Ia. — Warrior Run Golf Course is technically closed on a picturesque Saturday morning, but there’s still a cluster of carts lined up at the driving range and the obligatory group of coffee-drinkers sitting in the clubhouse.

 

Assuming golf pros other than Mark Burke would call it a driving range.

 

A few of the men teeing off behind orange traffic cones don’t know that craters and dirt trails pock the course’s west side because of an uprooted irrigation system, and those who do know don’t care.

 

Burke has assembled this hardy bunch for a satellite program years in the making, trying to spread goodwill through golf and get Des Moines-area disabled veterans out for lessons and clubs and sunshine.

 

That means his course is open.

“Using this program and learning how to play golf has been kind of a godsend,” Eugene Cherry, a vision-impaired veteran, shares in the clubhouse. “It’s a challenge, but it’s a blessing, too.”

Starting in 2007, Burke spent weekends pacing Interstate 80 to help the GIVE Foundation (Golf for Injured Veterans Everywhere) get things going at Riverside Casino and Golf Resort. The U.S. Navy Seabee turned certified PGA instructor felt he had to pitch in to a not-for-profit program designed to give veterans at the Iowa City VA Medical Center a treatment option by learning and playing golf.

“I’ve found that teaching is what I love the best,” Burke said. “And I knew there were people sitting in the dark, not getting out. I was excited to give them something to do.”

 

Iowa’s Pioneer GIVE Program Featured On CBS Special, “Get Golf Ready,” Sunday, April 29

Written By: Bob Denney, PGA of America

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – The GIVE (Golf for Injured Veterans Everywhere) program, founded in Iowa in 2007, and today a model initiative that supports our country’s veterans, will be featured by CBS Sports in an hour-long special, “Get Golf Ready,” Sunday, April 29, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. CT.

As a preview to Welcome to Golf Month in May, co-sponsored by Golf Digest, Nike Golf, and the PGA Center for Golf Learning and Performance, Get Golf Ready takes viewers to eight states and our nation’s capital. It features a wide swath of the golf industry – from premier Tour professionals; to amateur golfers nestled in the heart of Manhattan; to East Potomac Park Golf Course in Washington, D.C.; and to military veterans in Iowa and Ohio who have discovered that golf enhances their lives.

Get Golf Ready is hosted by CBS Sports golf commentator and PGA member Gary McCord, and filmed at locations in SunRidge Canyon Golf Club and CrackerJax Family Fun & Sports Park in Scottsdale, Ariz. The CBS special highlights two partnerships between The PGA of America and the United States Golf Association (USGA) – with Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the TEE IT FORWARD initiative, which encourages golfers to play from tees best suited to their abilities. For information regarding the initiatives featured in Get Golf Ready, visit www.PlayGolfAmerica.com

Funded by donations, the GIVE program is a partnership of the Iowa VA Healthcare System of Iowa City, member professionals of the Iowa PGA Section, and the host Riverside Casino & Golf Resort. GIVE has served more than 500 men and women veterans, spanning service from World War II through Afghanistan, and through a specialize golf curriculum formed a bond among families and PGA Professionals. GIVE is featured in the CBS special alongside Clearview HOPE of East Canton, Ohio, which began in 2011 as the first PGA-inspired year-round women’s veterans program.

GIVE was founded by Lou King of Cedar Rapids, a WWII veteran and former executive director of The PGA of America. As president of the GIVE Foundation, King said that GIVE is “as close as you come to a perfect charity, not requiring the taxpayer or any veteran to pay one penny.”

“Our focus from the start was supporting and improving the lives of men and women veterans who were receiving rehabilitative care within the state,” said King. “Golf is the unsung lifesaver for many who have sacrificed for our country. GIVE has produced many success stories, which makes us all extremely proud. We still have much to accomplish, and look to expand GIVE sites across Iowa.” For more information about GIVE, visit www.giveforveterans.com

At closer glance, the CBS special also features:

Get Golf Ready – A showcase for the Get Golf Ready initiative is East Potomac Park Golf Course in Washington, D.C., a public facility that serves as a model for introducing golfers to the game and retaining them. PGA of America Vice President Ted Bishop will highlight the success of Get Golf Ready, which was launched in 2009 as an affordable series of five group lessons with a recommended $99 charge. Get Golf Ready provides golfers with PGA and LPGA on-course instruction, and ultimately drives new players to the game. Visit GetGolfReady.com

TEE IT FORWARD – Tierra Rejada Golf Club in Moorpark, Calif., has embraced the TEE IT FORWARD initiative with a groundbreaking yet challenging 5,600-yard, par-72 layout that allows players to have a more enjoyable experience and play the game faster. With Jack Nicklaus, Dustin Johnson and Paula Creamer as official spokespersons, The PGA and the USGA are encouraging facilities nationwide to incorporate the TEE IT FORWARD initiative into the daily fabric of their golf operations. Visit PlayGolfAmerica.com/TeeItFORWARD

Boys & Girls Clubs of America – The PGA of America’s PGA Foundation and the USGA partnered with Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) to showcase a curriculum at select facilities this year, featuring PGA and LPGA Professional instruction to junior golfers. The Boys and Girls Club program will use the PGA Sports Academy curriculum that includes elements of health and wellness along with golf instruction at each Club. Among those helping PGA Professionals coach in the CBS Sports special are former NBA All-Star Spud Webb and Fitness Hall of Famer Donna Richardson Joyner. BGCA alumni featured include PGA Chief Executive Officer Joe Steranka and baseball great Ken Griffey Jr., an avid golfer and member of BGCA’s Board of Governors. Also featured is new BGCA CEO Jim Clark.

Ryder Cup Junior Academy – Inspired by U.S. Ryder Cup Captains and launched in 2011, the Ryder Cup Junior Academy has enabled young men and women from around the country, who otherwise would not have the means to enjoy golf, experience world-class instruction, and on-course play in the Ryder Cup format. The Academy participants include a boy whose life has been changed because of golf.

On-Course Programs – Among the programs improving the pace of play and delivering fun are: KWIK Golf, which was featured in a youth and family program at PGA National Golf Club in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.; and Nicklaus’ renowned Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, which hosted 12-hole golf tournaments utilizing 8-inch cups to create a fun, fast and friendly golf experience.

Off-Course Programs – Two inner-city golf facilities include Golf Manhattan and The Golf Club at Chelsea Piers on the Hudson River in New York City. The CBS Sports special highlights how those facilities have been a popular stop for golf enthusiasts who do not have the option of playing a golf course on the island of Manhattan. Meanwhile, just outside of Dallas, Texas, TopGolf combines a relaxing social atmosphere, including evening league play, for a one-of-a-kind experience.

About The PGA of America

Since its founding in 1916, The PGA of America has maintained a twofold mission: to establish and elevate the standards of the profession and to grow interest and participation in the game of golf. By establishing and elevating the standards of the golf profession through world-class education, career services, marketing and research programs, The PGA enables its professionals to maximize their performance in their respective career paths and showcases them as experts in the game and in the multi-billion dollar golf industry. By creating and delivering world-class championships and innovative programs, The PGA of America elevates the public’s interest in the game, the desire to play more golf, and ensures accessibility to the game for everyone, everywhere. As The PGA nears its centennial, the PGA brand represents the very best in golf.

The PGA of America, 100 Avenue of the Champions, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418

GIVE Foundation Receives Commander’s Award for Public Service

RIVERSIDE, Iowa –On Tuesday, April 27th members of the G.I.V.E. Foundation received the Commander’s Award for Public Service from General Orr of the Iowa National Guard. The Commander’s Award for Public Service is the fourth highest honor the United State Department of the Army can bestow upon a civilian.

Kirt Sickels, Director of National Special Events for the VA, Jim Dickerson, Director of Instruction for the G.I.V.E. program and PGA Professional, and Dan Kehl, CEO of Riverside Casino and Golf Resort were presented the civilian awards.

The G.I.V.E. Foundation began in 2007 and has achieved national recognition by The PGA of America and the Veterans Administration for its blend of PGA Professional-led golf curriculum and accompanying life lesson support to enhance the mental, social, physical and emotional well-being of veterans.

The GIVE program is a partnership between the Iowa PGA, the Iowa VA Medical Center and Riverside Casino & Golf Resort. The partnership was brought together by Louis King of Cedar Rapids, president of the GIVE Foundation, a Veteran and former Executive Director of the PGA of America.

“The men and women who serve our country are the true American Heroes. We are proud and humbled at the same time for this recognition and award bestowed upon our organization by the Iowa National Guard. We look forward to assisting many more veterans and their families through this program.” stated Dan Kehl.

For more information about the GIVE Foundation and contact the Iowa PGA Section headquarters 319-648-0026 or e-mail iowa@pgahq.com. The GIVE Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) non-for-profit organization, with all donations tax-deductible.

GIVE – Golf for Injured Veterans Everywhere More than a charitable brand, it is Iowa’s Success Model for the Country

By Bob Denney

Since the end of World War I, the “war to end all wars,” Americans have evolved in the manner by which they pay tribute to those men and women who served and paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Ninety years ago today, when “Armistice Day” was first set aside as a solemn day of remembrance, speeches and parades and ceremonies marked the time.

There is a group of Eastern Iowans who have made Veterans Day their daily routine, their passion. They formed a team chemistry that blends Iowa PGA Professionals, a generous host site in the Riverside Casino & Golf Resort and the Iowa VA Medical Center of Iowa City.

The trio has become a winning partnership, a model for the country in how to use the game of golf to restore mental health and add more than a ray of happiness to troubled veterans and their families.

Since the fall of 2007, Iowa PGA Professionals have worked with 190 veterans who had served from World War II through the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Golf for Injured Veterans Everywhere (GIVE) program has performed and has branded itself by providing hope, enjoyment in a game and for many a new chapter in life.

“The GIVE program emulates what good can come from partnerships between government, communities, and businesses in serving our veterans,” says Iowa VA Medical Center Director Barry Sharp. “The GIVE program changes lives, bringing families together in a social setting, and teaches them a sport that all members of the family can enjoy. The GIVE program model will work in any community in the United States if you have the right partnerships.

“While the acronym GIVE stands for Golf for Injured Veterans Everywhere, it is the strength of the partnership that is doing the giving, and as everyone who has supported this program has discovered – when you give you get far more in return. The GIVE program is an excellent way for communities to give back to our veterans for the sacrifices they and their families have made for the United States of America.”

The GIVE model involves participating veterans receiving the best in PGA golf instruction, donated golf equipment and free access to the practice facility and the nearby Blue Top Ridge at Riverside championship layout.

And, there is not one penny being charged to the Iowa taxpayer.

The GIVE program was the idea of Lou King of Cedar Rapids, a former PGA executive director and former senior vice president for Amana Refrigeration. The concept was embraced by Riverside Casino & Golf Resort’s brother combination of CEO Dan Kehl and Executive Director of Golf, Bobby Kehl, who have contributed to make GIVE grow.

“The veterans, many of them joined by family members, come here, go through the classes and leave as your friend,” says Bobby Kehl. “I can’t think of a better feeling inside for me than that.”

Dan Kehl said that he has added respect for the GIVE participants.

“I can’t walk away without feeling humbled by those who have done so much for our country,” says Kehl. “If it wasn’t for the veterans carrying the water for us, I may have been serving over there.”

The Iowa VA Medical Center teamed by screening applicants for the program, which has yielded dividends and a new set of success stories in the heartland.

“This program eased the burden for me of returning home,” says Julie Gorman of Cedar Rapids, a retired Sgt. E-7 after 22 years in the Army, who had returned from Iraq with a severe foot injury requiring two surgeries. She also was suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Today, Gorman, a longtime employee at Crescent Electric in Cedar Rapids, has been one of GIVE’s biggest advocates.

“At first, I did not want to be with any other veterans,” she says. “Now, I have found it helps me to be there to help others. It keeps me coming back. I think that the commitment those PGA Professionals and the resort has made is just wonderful.

Gorman says her personal recovery progress, aided by the VA Medical Center and GIVE, was underscored in her ability to say farewell to friends heading to service recently in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“A couple years ago, I would not have been able to do that,” says Gorman. “Now I feel differently about it. I have stood up to my demons and put it behind me.”

The success stories include Joe Corso of West Liberty, who served three tours of duty in Vietnam and did not leave his home for some two years. He also has contracted leukemia, yet has found himself.

“This program got me closer to my wife,” says Corso. “The pros I’ve met are not going through the motions. They look you in the eye; they care about you. I’ve built more trust. I feel born again.”

Vietnam veteran Larry Phillips of Anita, Iowa, 66, lives some 65 miles west of Des Moines, where there isn’t a GIVE program. So, he and his wife, Mary Lou, also a veteran, have driven three hours one way to Riverside three separate occasions to participate in the GIVE curriculum.

“We were met with open arms and I can’t tell you how that makes me feel,” says Phillips, who became a paraplegic in 1968, a year after his discharge from the Army.

“They found me a solo rider golf cart, where I could hit the ball from a side seat. I was a couple over par for the four holes I played. The PGA Professionals wanted to be there with us. They weren’t looking at their wristwatches. You know you face a three-hour trip, but there is something there that really leaves you feeling that you didn’t begrudge the long drive.”

Dr. Michael J. Hall, a neuropyschologist with the Iowa VA Medical Center, has been a keen observer of the GIVE success stories through his own patients.

“One of my concerns is that people say that this is just golf,” says Dr. Hall. “It is not just golf, it is more than golf. Golf is a venue again to create a positive environment, positive experiences. We have something good here, but essentially what we need to do is replicate what works and to not do what doesn’t work. This is something that works.”

By late today, the speeches, ceremonies, tributes and some TV documentaries honoring those who have fought for peace will conclude.

Yet there are those in Eastern Iowa whose counsel, friendship and a spirit of hope burns well past the 11th hour on the 11th day of November.

GIVE.

It is more than a charitable brand; it is what is right.

Bob Denney, formerly of Cedar Rapids, is the Senior Association Writer for The PGA of America

GIVE Scramble at Blue Top Ridge on October 11th

Contact:  Troy Christensen
September 2, 2009
Iowa PGA Section
319-648-0026
tchristensen@pgahq.com

NATIONALLY-RECOGNIZED GOLF FOR INJURED VETERANS EVERYWHERE
PROGRAM TO HOST FIRST GIVE SCRAMBLE AT BLUE TOP RIDGE, OCT. 11

Golf for Injured Veterans EverywhereRIVERSIDE, Iowa – The GIVE Foundation, which achieved national recognition for its teamwork in bringing together injured veterans, their families and PGA Professionals, will host the first GIVE Scramble at Blue Top Ridge, Sunday, Oct. 11.

The tournament, presented by The Riverside Casino & Golf Resort, will have honorary chairpersons in Champions Tour standout Lonnie Nielsen and his wife, Mary Jo, each natives of Belle Plaine, Iowa.

Earlier this season, Nielsen became the first tour professional to serve as a lead contributor to the GIVE (Golf for Injured Veterans Everywhere) Foundation. Nielsen, 55, a 1976 graduate of the University of Iowa, heads the 2009 “Birdies for Heroes Challenge,” in which he donates $50 for each birdie and $500 for each eagle that he records to the GIVE Foundation. Nielsen’s initiative also received support for the GIVE Foundation from past major champions Larry Nelson and Jerry Pate.

The GIVE Scramble at Blue Top Ridge will feature 28 four-player teams composed of an Iowa PGA Section professional or apprentice along with three veterans who are being treated at the Iowa VA Medical Center in Iowa City, and whom have participated in GIVE program classes. The 18-hole, best-shot event is believed to the first team event of its kind in the country involving wounded veterans.

“What our veterans have given in sacrifice to ensure the freedoms of this country is immeasurable,” said Iowa PGA Section President Steve Hutton. “The GIVE program has been a wonderful sharing experience for our PGA Professionals with both veterans and their families. We are proud to be joining in this first GIVE Scramble at Blue Top Ridge and so pleased to have the support of Tour professional Lonnie Nielsen and his wife, who have set the bar high for supporting veterans everywhere.”

The GIVE Foundation achieved national recognition by The PGA of America and the Veterans Administration for its unique curriculum that blends PGA Professional-led golf instruction and accompanying life lesson support to enhance the mental, social, physical and emotional well-being of veterans.

Nielsen is a member of a GIVE Foundation Advisory Board that includes former Masters Champion Bob Goalby, Champions Tour star Jay Haas; along with former Iowa Governor Robert Ray, former University of Iowa football coach Hayden Fry, former Iowa basketball coach Tom Davis, Iowa wrestling legend Dan Gable; and former Iowa State University basketball coach Johnny Orr.

“It has been a great experience for both me and Mary Jo to support the men and women of our military – patriots who have sacrificed so much for our country,” said Nielsen, a member of the Champions Tour since 2003 and who competed from 1978-83 on the PGA TOUR. “We are excited about the future of the GIVE program and we believe the first GIVE Scramble will be tremendous experience for all participants.

“The veterans competing in this event represent thousands around the country who have found value in the game of golf beyond its recreational and physical attributes. The game has actually played a role in rehabilitating the lives of those same veterans and in many cases restored families.”

The GIVE program is a partnership between the Iowa PGA Professional, the Iowa VA Medical Center and the Riverside Casino & Golf Resort.

Since its founding in 2007, the GIVE program has received more than 400 applications for new students to receive PGA instruction. Louis King of Cedar Rapids, president of the GIVE Foundation, said that the GIVE Scramble at Blue Top Ridge is an effort to provide new golf experiences for veterans.

“We are extremely honored and proud that Lonnie and Mary Jo Nielsen have given their support to this new event, recognizing that it is more than a single veteran who gains from the GIVE experience,” said King. “Lonnie unselfishly led the initiative on Tour to help our veterans and we believe this event – hosted by a great partner in Blue Top Ridge at Riverside and featuring Iowa PGA Professionals – may be the catalyst for future support and new playing opportunities.”

For more information about the GIVE Foundation and the GIVE Scramble at Blue Top Ridge, contact the Iowa PGA Section headquarters 319-648-0026, or e-mail tchristensen@pgahq.com.

The GIVE Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) non-for-profit organization, with all donations tax-deductible.

Champions Tour Professional, Iowa Native Lonnie Nielsen To Lead Birdies For Heroes Challenge In Support Of The GIVE Foundation

Lonnie NielsenRIVERSIDE, Iowa – Lonnie Nielsen, whose golf career is marked with success from the club professional ranks to the highest echelon in the game, has become the first tour professional to serve as a lead contributor to the GIVE (Golf For Injured Veterans Everywhere) Foundation.

Nielsen, 55, a native of Belle Plaine, Iowa, and a 1976 graduate of the University of Iowa, will spend the 2009 Champions Tour season heading a “Birdies for Heroes Challenge,” where he will donate $50 for each birdie and $500 for each eagle that he records to the GIVE Foundation.

In addition, Nielsen will donate $2,500 in the event of his posting a hole-in-one this season. Nielsen has made 16 aces in his professional career.

Begun in 2007, the GIVE Foundation has achieved national recognition by The PGA of America and the Veterans Administration for its blend of PGA Professional-led golf curriculum and accompanying life lesson support to enhance the mental, social, physical and emotional well-being of veterans.

Nielsen issued a call to his fellow Champions Tour professionals, Iowa PGA Section professionals competing in 2009 local and area events, and to PGA TOUR and Nationwide Tour members to join in the season fundraising campaign. The GIVE Foundation Advisory Board currently includes former Masters Champion Bob Goalby and Champions Tour standout Jay Haas.

“My heroes are, and have always been, the men and women of our military,” said Nielsen, who competed from 1978-83 on the PGA TOUR, then spent nearly two decades where he captured 32 Western New York PGA Section victories while a PGA club professional in East Aurora, N.Y. “I believe in the goal of the GIVE Foundation, which has accomplished in a short period of time some remarkable success stories among veterans and their families.

“It’s just great to know that the game of golf has played a key role in the healing process. I want to play well this season to help our veterans. I reach out to all Iowa PGA Section Professionals, my fellow competitors on Tour to see who can lead the Birdies for Heroes Challenge. We are in this to support those individuals who have given back so much for our country.”

Nielsen begins the 2009 Champions Tour season after finishing 11th among the top 30 money-winners in the 2008 season, earning more than $1.2 million with nine top-10 finishes. Nielsen was the winner of the Champions Tour’s 2007 Commerce Bank Championship.

The GIVE program is a partnership between the Iowa PGA Professional, the Iowa VA Medical Center and Riverside Casino & Golf Resort. The program received more than 300 applications in 2008 for new students to receive PGA instruction. Louis King of Cedar Rapids, president of the GIVE Foundation, said that the program has been in dire need of funds for equipment and transportation expenses to allow instructors and veterans to meet at the host site for series of classes throughout the year.

“We are extremely honored and proud to have Lonnie Nielsen, one of the great golf professionals Iowa has produced, to lead the Birdie for Heroes Challenge,” said King. “Lonnie represents the best of his profession and the state of Iowa, where people give back and help others.

“The GIVE Foundation has really just touched the surface of aiding our courageous veterans. We are blessed to have a tremendous partnership with the Iowa PGA Section, the Iowa VA Medical Center and our host, Riverside Casino & Golf Resort. With the support of professionals like Lonnie Nielsen, we can look forward to a brighter year for many veterans and their families, who have discovered that golf is a lifesaver and a new-found passion.”

For more information about the GIVE Foundation and the Birdies for Heroes Challenge, contact the Iowa PGA Section headquarters 1-888-213-8265 or e-mail iowa@pgahq.com

The GIVE Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) non-for-profit organization, with all donations tax-deductible.