PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere) is the flagship military program of PGA REACH WNY. PGA HOPE introduces golf to veterans with disabilities to enhance their physical, mental, social and emotional well-being. In 2017, there were 1,500 veterans impacted nationwide by this therapeutic program. Suicide is a major issue among military veterans, with recent statistical studies showing that 22 veterans a day commit suicide. PGA HOPE is working to change this statistic by helping Veterans to return to civilian life.
Led by local WNYPGA Professionals, PGA REACH WNY impacted the lives of over 100 veterans cross Buffalo, Rochester and Erie, PA. These veterans were given 6-week clinics and access to multiple golf facilities at NO COST.
In 2018, PGA REACH WNY was honored to be able to help place a Vietnam Veteran, Edy Andino, in a job opportunity at Glen Oak Golf Course, which is a local PGA Golf Facility in Buffalo, NY. Mr. Andino was quoted saying, “Without golf, and the instruction from the PGA Professionals, I may not be alive today. Golf has given me a positive outlook on life. I was very self-conscious before entering PGA HOPE, but now since entering the program there has been a positive change in both my mental and physical health.”
In 2019, a group of Veterans from PGA HOPE Western NY were invited to the Secretary’s Cup at Bethpage Golf Course. The annual event occurs in conjunction with the PGA Championship and is named after the Secretary of Veteran Affairs. Each team is made of four PGA HOPE Veterans and a PGA or LPGA Professional. At the 2019 Secretary’s Cup, Nick Martone, a Marine Corps Veteran from the PGA HOPE WNY Program was named a National PGA HOPE Ambassador.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, PGA HOPE WNY served over 60 Veterans and continued to help the lives of Western NY Veterans. We prioritized the health and safety of our participants by continuing to offer the sense of community formed at PGA HOPE and masking up! Partnerships with Bunkers in Baghdad, Verde Golf, and golf facilities across the Western NY PGA make our service to those who have served possible. In our campaign with PGA National Day of HOPE the program was able to raise more than $9,000.
For those interested in participating in PGA HOPE WNY please contact your local Veterans Affairs in Buffalo, Erie or Rochester.
For those interested in supporting PGA HOPE WNY program with donations, volunteering time, or coaching please contact Assistant Executive Director, Victoria Schiro, firstname.lastname@example.org.
2019 PGA HOPE Pro-Veteran Scramble at Glen Oak Golf Course.
2019 PGA HOPE 100-Hole Marathon at Glen Oak Golf Course.
The single rider golf cart serves disable Veterans.
FARMINGDALE, NY - May 13: Members of the Western New York team interact during the 2019 PGA HOPE Secretarys Cup for the 101st PGA Championship held at Bethpage Black Golf Course on May 13, 2019 in Farmingdale, New York. (Photo by Montana Pritchard/PGA of America)
WNY PGA HOPE Veterans participate in the 2019 Secretary's Cup.
FARMINGDALE, NY - May 13: A member of the Western New York team chips onto the green during the 2019 PGA HOPE Secretary’s Cup for the 101st PGA Championship held at Bethpage Black Golf Course on May 13, 2019 in Farmingdale, New York. (Photo by Montana Pritchard/PGA of America)
PGA HOPE Veterans
2020 PGA HOPE WNY Clinic featuring Edwin Andino on the single rider cart with PGA HOPE volunteer, John Osberg, and WNYPGA Executive Director, Steven Bartkowski.
2020 Buffalo Chapter PGA HOPE Clinic at Glen Oak Golf Course. Coach Rob Krajewski, PGA helps a veteran with their chipping.
2020 Erie Chapter PGA HOPE Clinic where coach David Wedzik, PGA teaches veterans about green slope at Lake View Country Club.
2020 Erie Chapter PGA HOPE Class with coaches Steve Crane, PGA and Rich Conwell, PGA at Lake View Country Club.
2020 Buffalo Chapter PGA HOPE Clinic at Glen Oak Golf Course. Veterans chip onto the practice green with the guidance of PGA Professionals.