PGA providing therapy for vets with PTSD at Dothan golf course

(Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News)

DOTHAN, AL (WSFA) - PGA Hope Wiregrass is looking for donations to extend and expand their program. Friday, they held a golf tournament at Highland Oaks Golf Course in hopes of raising funds.

The organization brings together local veterans to play golf every Monday at Highland Oaks Golf Course.

"A lot of times veterans come home and they feel like they don't belong. I believe here they're having more of a purpose," said T.J. King, Staff Professional at Highland Oaks Golf Course.

King is also a veteran and works as a golf instructor with the program.

The sport is used as therapy to help veterans cope with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Veterans say golf helps them focus their thoughts.

"We're trying to give them what we call one minute in time. You look at that golf ball for a minute and then you hit another one. You do that for a half hour or 30 minutes, you're not thinking about all that other stuff," said Ty Andersen, PGA Golfer.

Veterans who participate in the program say the impact is life changing.

"I'm not always looking at other people as a possible person who is interested in harming me," said Jazzma Gwynn, Veteran.

PGA gives the local organization money for veterans to play for several weeks free of charge, but the organization wants to be able to do more.

"We started this project over a year and a half ago. It was supposed to be an eight-week project. We just finished our 68th week in a row. Every Monday. We're not stopping. How do you tell someone with PTSD that they're better after eight weeks? We want to keep this thing going. That's why we have the golf tournament," said Ty Andersen, PGA Golf member.

A round of golf at Highlands Golf Course is $86 for 18 holes. Currently, the golf course allows veterans to play on Par 3 free of charge. The money raised will go towards paying for veterans to have access to more areas of the course and help pay for PGA instructors to help with the golf classes.

The goal is to also expand the program to help others.

"We want to expand the program. Not only here, but throughout the Wiregrass. There are other golf courses that we can use to do that with. It's just a question of what kind of budget we have to go do it," said Andersen.

For more information on how to participate in the class or if you're interested in donating you can visit their Facebook page, PGA HOPE Wiregrass or visit their website.

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