In West Virginia, Veterans Finding Solace Through PGA Member Monty Goff & PGA HOPE
By Hayden Lewis, PGA
A golfer since the age of three and a PGA Professional for over 30 years, Monty Goff has made it his life’s mission to use the game he loves as a means to give back.
Early in his career, Goff found it so important to create new opportunities for people to experience and fall in love with the game – he has carried out this mission in every way imaginable throughout his career.
“The more I shared the game with others, it became more and more apparent this was my calling. I just loved it,” he says.
Early on in his career, Goff became extra fond of working with Veterans. After playing in multiple events and outings across the country he became awe-inspired by some of the stories he heard from the Veterans he met. Even though he never personally served in the military, Monty says he developed a special bond with Veterans and saw firsthand how much weight the game could carry.
“It was remarkable to hear about what some of these individuals have been through," says Goff, the PGA Director of Instruction at Cacapon State Park Golf Course in West Virginia. "For them, turning to golf was their chance to escape the issues they were facing.”
This past spring, Monty got the chance to share the game with Veterans on a whole new level – by starting the very first PGA HOPE program in the state of West Virginia at his home course. Situated a little over an hour from Washington, D.C. and a handful of miles from two state borders – Maryland to the north and Virginia to the south – Cacapon has now become one of the newest homes for PGA HOPE.
Goff admits that because Cacapon is more secluded and serves a semi-rural area of West Virginia, he didn’t think there would be much demand for the program. To his surprise, after dedicating ten spots he received 19 registrations for his inaugural program.
“As I was going through PGA HOPE training, it dawned on me that I needed to do more than just support these local Veteran events,” adds Goff. “As a PGA Professional, I feel called to elevate myself and my understanding of how to teach and grow the game for this group.”
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Monty believes PGA HOPE is game-changing for Veterans who are looking for a chance to join a community of others who may be struggling to find their way, whether they're recovering from a physical injury or post-traumatic stress.
“There’s just nothing else like PGA HOPE around here and I think Veterans care that much about getting involved – it’s pretty amazing,” says Goff.
Now, with one program under his belt, Monty quite literally can’t stop talking or thinking about PGA HOPE. His relationships with that first group of Veterans have grown stronger and deeper each week, too.
“It was such a great group of people who just want to be better versions of themselves,” notes Goff. “It’s cool that I was able to be that person helping sort of guide them along this journey. I’ve become good friends with a handful of them who I now get to see outside of hosting PGA HOPE on a regular basis – that feels really special.”
All the stars have aligned for Monty as he has taken PGA HOPE and created something more meaningful and impactful than he could ever imagine. His bright, eager disposition equally matches the energy given by his ‘trademarked’ Loudmouth red, white and blue pants – which, of course, compliments a true patriot.
“I'm so grateful to be in this country. I get to do what I do because of these men and women. To me, it’s less about a golf lesson and more about having respect and just doing the right thing.”
Monty Goff, PGA
Monty’s legacy will continue to echo throughout the Appalachian foothills and beyond. He believes he’s found something that will take him through retirement.
“I realize I’m on the back-half of my career, but I just don’t want to give this up,” he says. “At the end of the day, it’s a brotherhood and a sisterhood I can’t imagine missing out on. As long as I’m living, I’ll be involved one way or another.”