Game Changers

A Countdown to Memorial Day: The Mietus Touch

By Keith Stewart, PGA
Published on

Jeff Mietus, PGA

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As we enter May, we are all reminded that Memorial Day weekend and the unofficial start of Summer are just a few weeks away. On that holiday weekend, we celebrate and honor our service members and Veterans in many ways. In the golf ecosystem, programs like PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere) and Patriot Golf Days embrace golf as a special conduit for our Veterans to create community.
PGA Professional Jeff Mietus is a U.S. Marine Corps Veteran and a nearly 30 year Member of the PGA of America. In addition to being a former Western New York PGA Section President, Jeff Mietus is an award-winning PGA Professional.
Jeff Mietus, PGA during his time in the Marine Corps.
Jeff Mietus, PGA during his time in the Marine Corps.
Together with other members of his Buffalo (New York) Chapter, they have a very successful PGA HOPE program. Started in 2012, it has grown significantly and spread to the Rochester and Erie Chapters of the Section.
PGA HOPE’s six to eight week program for Veterans provides the opportunity for them to not only learn the game, but build communities and connections with other Veterans. In 2012, Jeff’s Buffalo program started with serving 6 Veterans in the first year. In ten years, the program has served over 600 Buffalo area veterans.
When asked, Jeff can’t quickly recall his full list of Awards, by year or even locate the plaques, but within seconds he can recall every veteran he has worked with in PGA HOPE.  Through the PGA HOPE program, Mietus and his fellow PGA Professionals are not focused on achievement, but rather how they can connect more Veterans to the game.
Buffalo’s PGA HOPE program started by reaching out to a local VA neighboring one of the golf courses. From there, they found a passionate VA employee who saw the value in giving the Veterans shared time on the course. Mietus explains quite succinctly how their program is really all about the people.
“Our best practice is incorporating personal time to talk and connect with others as part of the clinic experience. It’s not all about golf,” said Mietus. “This opportunity to get outside and play a game with others who you have a shared experience with is amazingly powerful.” 
He points toward a myriad of letters he not only has received from the participants, but from their family members and friends.
“It’s one hour. What may be just an hour to us, is the highlight of the Veterans’ week. Once the program was established, we took our successful and simple blueprint to the Erie and Rochester Chapters. Each region continues to grow.”
For the month of May, is going to highlight some of the amazing accounts we have from PGA HOPE professionals and the Folds of Honor.
For the next couple weeks prior to Memorial Day weekend and the celebration of Patriot Golf Days, please share these stories with friends and family. Each of these individuals is making a tremendous difference and by sharing their success with others we can inspire more to get started helping our military heroes in their Section.
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