Sports are well-known as not just competitive but therapeutic pursuits. The golf industry has a well-established reputation for helping bridge the divide between war and civilian life for countless servicemen and women and their families.
There are large organizations like Folds of Honor and the Wounded Warrior Project, whose interactions with the game have channeled millions of dollars and thousands of hours of people's time and expertise toward noble work.
There are also more modest pockets of healing, too. I wrote about one of them, the Caddie School for Soldiers, in this space earlier this fall.
Another is underway in one of America's great golf hubs: Myrtle Beach, S.C. There, cooperation between three organizations is giving veterans immeasurable joy while also providing a peaceful road into civilian life.
Project Golf is the service-oriented arm of Golf Tourism Solutions (formerly Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday), which promotes the destination throughout the world. PGA HOPE is a weekly, six-session program that the PGA of America coordinates to teach veterans to play and enjoy golf as part of their rehabilitation and reintegration process. The third leg of this triangle of good works: John's Place, a five-apartment complex that serves as a respite from homelessness for area veterans, overseen by the Eastern Carolina Housing Organization (ECHO).
These three interests come together on Tuesdays at Barefoot Resort. There, residents of John's Place take part in the PGA HOPE program, courtesy of funding from Project Golf. As a recent Myrtle Beach Sun News article elaborates, it is a therapeutic chance to engage with a potentially transformative game.
These veterans have a long road back to stability ahead of them. For some, it is paved with golf course grass.