Military Veterans Find Solace Through GolfBy: Tyler Allan Miller | SCPGA Communications and Marketing Coordinator
- SCPGA Member Joe Grohman, aka “Joe The Pro” has been a staunch supporter of providing military veterans access to the game of golf since 1994.
- Joe has impacted tens of thousands of active duty and retired military personnel though Wounded Warriors Golf Outings and his self organized national events.
- Grohman was integral to the development of the PGA of America’s flag ship military veteran support program, PGA HOPE.
- “Joe the Pro,” still has opportunities for PGA members and the public to get involved/volunteer at numerous events and outings for military veterans.
Joe Grohman, known commonly around the SCPGA Section as “Joe the Pro”, has been a champion for veterans for decades. He discovered his calling in 1994 when he was asked by the Long Beach Memorial Hospital to start a golf clinic for outpatients that have experienced a stroke. Working with active duty members of the armed services and veterans ignited a passion within Joe as he saw firsthand the therapeutic value of golf. Wanting to have an even greater impact, Joe would subsequently add clinics for Disabled Veterans, Wounded Warriors, blind adults and juniors, special education children, and at-risk inner-city youth over the years.
Grohman’s staunch advocacy for helping those who are disadvantaged led to him running a West Coast pilot program sponsored by the PGA of America; with the mission to help veterans with disabilities enhance their physical, mental, and social and emotional well-being. The success of the program led to the formation of PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere), which has become the flagship program of PGA Reach, the charitable foundation of the PGA of America.
Grohman, who is also the SCPGA Diversity and Inclusion Committee Chairman, is only one of four PGA National Trainers for the PGA HOPE program. This impressive distinction means that PGA Professionals need to attend extensive training with a National Trainer before becoming a PGA HOPE instructor. Due to the growing demand of PGA HOPE, the SCPGA Section will begin to implement six-week PGA HOPE sessions at the end of 2021.
When asked why the PGA HOPE program is so beneficial and essential to these veterans, Grohman said, “PGA HOPE isn’t golf instruction, it’s golf therapy. For those with disabilities or severe PTSD, PGA HOPE gives them a community where they belong. From the testimonials we have received, the program has literally saved lives. If they can make it to a class, they are able to develop the confidence to get back out in the world and learn to re-enter life just from the HOPE program.”
Aside from PGA HOPE, Grohman hosts his own clinics for Wounded Warriors. A typical Wounded Warrior clinic can help break participants out of their shell and is sometimes the only reason they leave the house. According to Joe, this is why creating such a fun, safe, and caring environment is so essential to the success of the program. He has been spreading awareness on a grand scale by hosting these clinics on the Monday of the Masters in Augusta for the past seven years and at the PGA Expo in Las Vegas for the last four years.
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