PGA Hope Program gives local veterans support, golf lessons

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is an everyday battle for Bob De Diemar.

“I got knocked on my butt a couple times…from artillery shells hitting close by,” De Diemar said. “When I came back from Vietnam, I was very hostile—losing my temper, or yelling…PTSD.”

But he now finds ways to cope through his community and a local golf program.

“The PGA Hope Program stands for helping our patriots everywhere. The program is actually designed to help disabled veterans, but it’s not just for disabled veterans. It’s for all veterans and this is an opportunity to introduce people to the game of golf as another way of therapy,” said Blayne Lytle, Alico Family Golf manager, instructor and Navy veteran.

“If I’m having a bad day, I’m going through something bad because I do have PTSD. I need to clobber something,” De Diemar added. “I can get a bucket of balls and hit it and get some of the frustration out and that helps me.”

Starting April 9, veterans are invited to weekly free golf instruction, practice and bonding on Alico Family Golf Course—for life.

“I give them a PGA Hope pass, and what that does is give them an opportunity to utilize this facility absolutely free from this point on, so this isn’t a one and done. As long as we are here, and they are too, they can come out and practice here at the facility and it costs absolutely nothing,” Lytle said.

And veterans like De Diemar say it means everything to them just to be recognized.

“They acknowledged our presence and what we had done and it was nice and a long time coming,” De Diemar said. “It makes us feel good when we’re thanked.”

If you or someone you know would benefit from the PGA Hope Program, it’s not too late to sign up.

The instruction starts Monday and will continue throughout April’s “Stress Awareness Month.” You can find more information here.

Reporter:Melinda Lee
Writer:Erica Brown
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