By Meredith Hines-Dochterman
IOWA CITY — Several veterans took a swing at something new last fall.
Seventeen veterans, who had served in wars from World War II through Iraq, were the first to complete the Golf For Injured Veterans Everywhere Foundation program.
GIVE has since concluded lessons with its second class and is in planning mode for the third.
“It’s been very well-received,” said Troy Christensen, executive director for the Iowa Section PGA. “It’s had a lot of national publicity and there’s talk of the PGA making this a national model.” The program, administered by the Iowa PGA, teaches veterans the basics of the game. GIVE has four phases of training for veterans to enhance their mental, social, physical and emotional well-being and improve their quality of life: introduction to golf, indoor instruction, outdoor practice at Blue Top Ridge and golf rounds at Blue Top Ridge.
Veterans with physical disabilities aren’t discouraged for participating. GIVE is designed to reach those with physical and mental obstacles.
Sessions are taught by Iowa PGA professionals on a volunteer basis.
“Our goal is to make a positive impact on the lives of some of these injured veterans,” Christensen said.
Early results indicate that it’s working.
By Meredith Hines-Dochterman
Iowa PGA Professionals provide a new lease on life for veterans as part of the inaugural GIVE Foundation
By Bob Denney
Senior Association Writer
The PGA of America
RIVERSIDE, Iowa – The cold, fickle November weather which Iowans have come to expect has done nothing to disrupt the mood among 17 veterans gathered indoors for one of the most memorable classrooms ever assembled in Iowa golf history.
The 17 students, who had served from World War II through Iraq, were the first student/participants in the inaugural Golf For Injured Veterans Everywhere (GIVE) Foundation program. The 17 were busy completing their seventh session on Nov. 12, a day after the country took pause for Veterans Day. A week later, they would celebrate the end of their golf “basic training.”
The program was conceived by Louis King, a veteran and former executive director of The PGA of America. King believes that golf could be an important part of an injured veteran’s recovery. King was asked by Dan Kehl to bring together the Iowa PGA Section and the VA to form the partnership at the Section’s new on-course home – Blue Top Ridge at Riverside. King was named president of the GIVE Foundation.
By John Campbell, TV9 Sports
Riverside-Cedar Rapids golf consultant Lou King had an idea, he has run with it and now things are rolling with the G-I-V-E program.
Under it, injured vets have been given free golf lessons this fall at Riverside Casino and Golf Resort. The teachers have been members of the Iowa Section PGA. They have donated their time. Riverside has donated its facilities. Hy-Vee has donated food and clubs to the vets.
It has all been coordinated by the Iowa City VA Medical Center. 17 injured vets completed the first session. A VA spokesman says they have a waiting list for future golf lessons.
Click HERE to launch video.
By The Press-Citizen Newsroom on behalf of Riverside Casino & Golf Resort
November 19 was a special day for participants in the Golf for Injured Veterans Everywhere (G.I.V.E) program. Seventeen disabled veterans completed their basic training . . . in golf.
The VA Medical Center in Iowa City, the Iowa PGA Section and Riverside Casino & Golf Resort established G.I.V.E. to allow veterans with disabilities being seen at the Iowa City VA Medical Center the opportunity to learn and play the game of golf.
The golf program has four phases of training for veterans to enhance their mental, social, physical, and emotional well-being and improve their quality of life. Instruction is provided by golf professionals from across the state who are members of the Iowa Section PGA at the Riverside Casino & Golf Resort where they have access to the Blue Top Ridge at Riverside golf course.
This first class included veterans from WWII, Vietnam War, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
At the final session the graduates were presented with complete sets of golf clubs donated by Iowans at Iowa City, Coralville, and Cedar Rapids Hy-Vee stores and refurbished and fit to the individual player by PGA professionals. Hy-Vee also presented the graduates with a free Thanksgiving turkey.
Iowa VA Medical Center Director Barry Sharp praised the program calling it a “truly unique partnership” that will benefit our veterans “We could not be more pleased to have the Iowa Veterans for Golf Program start in Iowa City. It shows a commitment from Iowa businesses and organizations to our veterans. It will bring great enjoyment to our veterans, their families, VA staff, PGA staff and Blue Top Ridge at Riverside staff.”
Riverside Casino & Golf Resort CEO, Dan Kehl, said, “We are proud to have been a part of this program and are anxious to have the graduates play the course next spring and summer. Golf might be one small way we can repay the debt all of us owe these great Americans.”