Golf clinic helps local veterans

"It's just a way for us to say thank you"
Posted at 6:43 AM, Jun 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-30 07:43:02-04

We play sports because they're fun and they teach us discipline and hard work, but for one local veteran, golf means much more than we could ever imagine.

“Who would have thought that just outside a golf club can put a smile back on somebody's face, change your tears to laughter,” said Golf War era veteran Steven Pitcher. “It's wonderful.”

Pitcher is smiling again. Something he hasn't done since serving in the Golf War.

Pitcher was stationed in Hawaii. He never saw combat and was discharged in 1997 but still lives with PTSD.

“For me, it has to do with a lot of depression, regrets, things that I wished that I could have changed but was unable to,” he described.

Now he's making changes he never even thought he could.

“I've opened up a lot,” he said holding back tears. “It's tough but yeah, I find myself giving people chances and I've been happy coming out here and something I haven't been for quite a long time.”

And it was made possible by PGA Hope, helping our patriots everywhere. It’s a golf clinic that was started by the PGA of America. It's offered at no cost to the veterans.

“It's a great way for me to kind of show thanks to the veterans and they appreciate everything we're doing here to make them better at golf. It's just a way for us to say thank you back to them,” said the head pro at the Oakwood Park Golf Course, Andy Gieryn.

But what Pitcher is thankful for goes far beyond the game of golf.

“Life isn't over,” he said. “I can still learn new things. I can still do things. I'm not all the way broken and it shows that healing is taking place so to me it means just so much… I feel whole again.”