High hopes: Mundelein Park District, PGA team up to teach golf to local veterans
There's nothing like swinging a golf club on a crisp, cool autumn day. And the PGA Helping Our Patriots Everywhere program wants to bring that joy to veterans.
Recently, the Mundelein Park District's Healthy Minds Healthy Body program, which is for "wounded, ill or injured military personnel to provide a way of transitioning back into the community as a civilian, through fitness," teamed up with PGA HOPE and Revelation Golf to enhance the golf skills of local veterans. PGA HOPE is the flagship military program of PGA REACH, the charitable foundation of the Professional Golfers' Association of America.
The program is designed to enhance participant's physical, mental, social and emotional well-being. Each golfer attends one session a week for five weeks at Pine Meadow Golf Club in Mundelein. PGA professionals trained in adaptive golf instruction spend time with the individuals on the driving range teaching about grip, swing posture, chipping and putting. The program culminates with the veterans playing a few holes on the course.
Currently, there are six participants in the program, but a waiting list was created because of the positive feedback. The PGA is providing a shorter two-week program for those on the list.
"Participants have shared their excitement about learning new techniques and skills to improve their golf game, or begin a new sport," said Christine Lopez, Healthy Minds/Healthy Body coordinator. "Others spoke about how much they learned in such a short time from their golf professional. And others talked about all the people they met in their group."
According to Lopez, the HMHB also holds weekly livestream Hero Workouts and monthly networking sessions announcing programs and services available to veterans. They also collaborate on events with Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center, Veterans Assistance Commission of Lake County and Healthcare for Homeless Veterans program.
"It is important for park districts to serve everyone within their community," Lopez said. "Our veteran community here at the Mundelein Park & Recreation District has really taken off because of our Healthy Minds Healthy Bodies Program, which allows veterans and a support person to get a one-year free (NovaCare Fitness) membership. This helps veterans to get back into the community and adjust to life after service."