The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced an inaugural Down Range Golf Clinic (DRGC), an exciting new therapeutic program for disabled Veterans. American Lake Veterans Golf Course will serve as host, April 8, near Tacoma, Wash.
The DRGP is a new initiative developed by VA’s Office of National Veterans Sports Programs and Special Events in partnership with Deloitte Consulting LLP and The Professional Golfers’ Association of America (PGA). The goal of the program is to encourage disabled Veterans to be more active and healthy in their communities through the game of golf.
“The Down Range Golf Clinic represents what has taken place in other parts of the country – a unique, fun and instructional opportunity connecting PGA Professionals with the heroes who have sacrificed so much for our country,” said PGA of America President Ted Bishop. “We are excited that American Lake Veterans Golf Course, which has received the master touch of Jack Nicklaus, will bring together Pacific Northwest PGA Professionals to kick off what we believe will be a wonderful program.”
The clinic will deliver convenient, accessible golf instruction, resources, and support to Veterans with a range of disabilities and diagnoses.
“Deloitte is proud to support the Down Range Golf Clinic, which is part of our strong commitment to our nation’s veterans,” said Mark Goulart, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP and lead client service partner for the Department of Veterans Affairs account. “Getting involved in sports brings major benefits to the participants and that’s the reason why we sponsor activities like this clinic.”
The clinic is anticipated to bring together more than 20 Pacific Northwest PGA Professionals, who will serve between 80 and 100 veterans. Participating Veterans include those with spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, visual impairments, and amputees. The clinic will utilize a three-pronged approach to improved health through sports:
• Exposing Veterans to the basic skills and techniques of the game of golf through this one-day clinic.
• Focusing on post-clinic continued success for the Veterans by providing each with an individualized plan tailored to their specific needs.
• Expanding opportunities for golf participation and education through local Down Range Golf Clinics at VA medical facilities.
“I believe American Lake is the only golf course in America designed specifically for the rehabilitation of our wounded and disabled veterans,” said Jack Nicklaus, who is donating his design services and support to expand the heavily used nine holes at American Lake to 18 and renovate the existing layout. “You would not believe the stories of how golf has helped these veterans transition back into the mainstream, how the healing powers of golf have given these soldiers purpose, and helped them regain their lives and happiness.
PGA Professionals and VA rehabilitation staff will work collaboratively to provide the most elite level of instruction to Veterans of all skill levels while ensuring a safe environment for participation and providing adaptations as needed. Additionally, VA rehabilitation staff in attendance will receive training, education and management materials to be able to facilitate their own future Down Range Golf Clinic at their respective VA Medical facilities.
For more information on VA adaptive sports programs visit www.va.gov/adaptivesports.