Golf program brings veterans together in Lincoln

“Our veterans are no stranger to hard work. After years of service in the military, their strength and endurance is being put to the test again…on the golf course.”

Over a dozen area veterans took to Holmes Lake Golf Course Thursday morning for the start of a unique program meant just for them. It’s called PGA HOPE – Helping Our Patriots Everywhere.

The event is ran through PGA Reach Nebraska and is in its second year, but this is its debut in Lincoln.

“It’s just an opportunity for local veterans to come out, get free golf lessons from our local PGA professionals, and more or less kind of get out, hang out for six weeks and provide an opportunity for these veterans to learn some golf,” Seth Scollard of PGA Reach Nebraska said.

The free six week program will meet every Thursday. Some veterans even received a free set of golf clubs. PGA HOPE welcomes veterans of all ages regardless of their level of golf experience for a little friendly competition, exercise, and bonding.

“I golfed a little bit when I was in the Army and in my last two years in the Army I started picking it up quite a bit more,” Nate Meyer, a U.S. Army veteran, said. “In the three years that I’ve been out I’ve played it on and off for quite a bit.”

The program helps to close the gap between different generations and military branches, share their stories, and interact more with the public.

“It’s neat because we all have different experiences and we get to share those with each other and learn. I like it,” Joshua Perkins, a U.S. Army veteran, said.

Meyer said it’s interesting to learn how military technology has changed over the decades. He also said he enjoys having conversations with those who have had similar experiences as himself and others.

Although the program has only just started, Meyer has learned the value of patience.

“It’s a game that you can’t hurry. If you have patience and you learn to hit the ball correctly and to swing the club correctly you’ll get a better result,” he said.

Perkins also learned a good deal on his first day, namely is balance so he doesn’t fall over on the course when swinging.

For these dedicated veterans, having fun may be what’s most beneficial.

“The camaraderie here is awesome. If you actually sit down and listen to these guys there’s a little bit of competition because they know which branch of military they’re from, so you got the Army versus Navy,” Scollard said.

“It’s relaxing, it’s peaceful. It helps to take a lot of that anger out on the golf course,” Perkins said.

PGA HOPE wants to see continued growth in the coming years and their ultimate goal is to have a type of PGA tournament just for veterans. Registration for this year is closed, but hope to bring the program back next fall.

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