PGA HOPE National Golf & Wellness Week Comes to Congressional Country Club
Randy Shack during the Golf and Wellness Training Event for PGA HOPE National Golf & Wellness Week at Congressional Country Club, Bethesda, Maryland on October 27, 2019. (Photo by Michael Cohen/ Getty Images)
As golf continues to serve as a therapeutic form of rehabilitation for Veterans, PGA REACH—the 501(c)(3) charitable foundation of the PGA of America—has announced that the 2022 PGA HOPE National Golf & Wellness Week will take place Oct. 13-18, at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland.
PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere) is a national program that introduces golf to Veterans and active-duty military to enhance their physical, mental, social and emotional well-being. It is the only adaptive golf program that has a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Department of Veterans Affairs, which enables medical staff to refer Veterans to the PGA HOPE program as a form of therapy.
PGA HOPE offers golf through a developmental, six- to eight-week curriculum taught by PGA Professionals trained in adaptive golf and military cultural competency. All programs are funded by PGA REACH and supplemented by PGA Section foundations, so the cost of programming is free to all Veterans. There are currently over 215 PGA HOPE Chapters across the country, and the program will positively impact more than 7,500 Veterans this year.
Through a longstanding partnership between PGA REACH and Congressional Country Club, a group of 20 Veterans and two Squad leaders, all graduates of their local PGA HOPE programs, will participate in an immersive four-day event that includes advanced golf instruction and wellness training. Two-time PGA Champion (1970; 1976 at Congressional) and 1991 United States Ryder Cup Captain Dave Stockton will serve as a special guest, interacting with the Veterans during the week. In addition, Adm. William McRaven will be a featured speaker at the PGA National Day of HOPE Sponsor Dinner.
“PGA HOPE is an impactful program for Veterans, as it enhances their physical, emotional and social well-being through the game of golf,” said PGA President Jim Richerson. “In addition, PGA HOPE National Golf & Wellness Week offers an incredible experience for these American heroes, as it provides in-depth training from PGA Professionals to take back to their communities and help fellow Veterans utilize golf as a means of rehabilitation and fun.”
The culmination of the program will include a golf outing at Congressional Country Club, where the Veterans will play golf alongside PGA Professionals and dignitaries at the acclaimed facility that has hosted major championships, including this year’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. Congressional is also scheduled to host seven additional PGA of America championships through 2037, including the Ryder Cup, PGA Championship, KPMG Women's PGA Championship, KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship, PGA Professional Championship and Junior PGA Championships.
Following completion of the training program, each participating Veteran will receive a specially designed golf and wellness tool kit, which includes golf training tips and wellness exercises designed to promote and sustain a healthy and active lifestyle. The Veterans will become PGA HOPE Ambassadors, with a responsibility to serve as a champion for PGA HOPE in their home market.
Congressional Country Club’s PGA Director of Athletics Jason Epstein and his PGA Professional staff will be joined by PGA HOPE National Lead Trainers Judy Alvarez, of Palm City, Fla., and Bob Epperly, of Benicia, Calif., to provide golf instruction for PGA HOPE National Golf & Wellness Week. The wellness and healthy living training will be conducted by leaders in Veteran wellness from Cohen Veterans Network (CVN) of Stamford, Connecticut. The overall curriculum will cover nutrition, stress management, mental health and life skills.
“Congressional Country Club has hosted PGA HOPE programming since 2017, and we see first-hand the immeasurable benefits of using golf as a form of therapy for military Veterans,” said Mark Giarraputo, President, Congressional Country Club. “These are America’s heroes who have sacrificed so much for our great Country and we are proud to support this initiative. PGA HOPE, through the community and game of golf, offers a terrific platform for Congressional to recognize and start to repay those who have given so much.”
The new team of PGA HOPE Ambassadors will be led by Squad Leaders Waco Blakley, of Beggs, Oklahoma; and Sergio Avendano, of San Antonio, Texas who previously attended the program while serving as a PGA HOPE Ambassador in 2021.
The week will also serve as a prelude to the 6th PGA National Day of HOPE on Veterans Day, Friday, Nov. 11. The PGA National Day of HOPE celebration has two goals: Commemorate our nation’s heroes who protect our freedom; and raise awareness and support for PGA HOPE, the flagship military program for PGA REACH. The PGA National Day of HOPE Campaign will run from October 11 to November 11 with a goal to raise over $200,000 for local PGA HOPE programming throughout the country.
To make a donation to the PGA National Day of HOPE Campaign, please click here.
2022 PGA HOPE Ambassadors
Sergio Avendano: Alpha Squad Leader PGA HOPE Southern Texas Ambassador San Antonio, Texas Class of 2021
Waco Blakely: Bravo Squad Leader PGA HOPE South Central Ambassador Beggs, Oklahoma Class of 2021
Jeff Bojanowski: U.S. Army PGA HOPE Pacific Northwest Tacoma, Washington
Sean Bowman: U.S. Navy PGA HOPE Middle Atlantic Chesapeake, Virginia
Dallas Brekeen: U.S. Army PGA HOPE Nebraska Bellevue, Nebraska
Troy Brin: U.S. Army PGA HOPE Connecticut Belchertown, Massachusetts
Hollis Burkes: U.S. Army PGA HOPE Northern Ohio Canton, Ohio
Carter Check: U.S. Army PGA HOPE South Central Tulsa, Oklahoma
Roth Coleman: U.S. Marine Corps PGA HOPE Kentucky Covington, Kentucky
Karen Cooper: U.S. Army PGA HOPE Georgia Fayetteville, Georgia
Chris Cordova: U.S. Army PGA HOPE Colorado Colorado Springs, Colorado
Randy Halsey: U.S. Army PGA HOPE Midwest Independence, Missouri
John Harvey: U.S. Air Force PGA HOPE Wisconsin Wauwatosa, Wisconsin
Colton Hensley: U.S. Army PGA HOPE Carolinas Asheville, North Carolina
Dan Hon: U.S. Marine Corps PGA HOPE Sun Country Las Cruces, New Mexico
Garret Hrynko: U.S. Army PGA HOPE New Jersey Doylestown, Pennsylvania
Mike Jaborek: U.S. Army PGA HOPE Illinois Sugar Grove, Illinois
Jim McReynolds: U.S. Navy PGA HOPE Southern California Coronado, California
Michael Moore: U.S. Navy PGA HOPE Southern Texas Houston, Texas
Steve Reed: U.S. Army PGA HOPE Tennessee Lewisburg, Tennessee
Justin Weglinski: U.S. Army PGA HOPE Western New York Akron, New York
Harold Williams: U.S. Air Force PGA HOPE Gulf States New Orleans, Louisiana
For more information on PGA HOPE National Golf & Wellness Week and PGA National Day of HOPE or to make a donation, visit PGAREACH.org.