Veterans tee up

Published 8:53 pm Saturday, May 28, 2011

Golf: Wounded veterans got to learn some of the basics of golf during a workshop May 5 sponsored by local Disabled American Veterans chapters. The skills were taught by golf professionals.

Disabled vets learn golf skills

An unusual round of golf was played at Suffolk Golf Course on May 5.

That’s when some area veterans got together to play golf. Maybe not so unusual, were it not for the fact that the 17 veterans all were wounded during their service and still suffer from the effects of their injuries.

“We try to instruct them in basic golf skills,” said Isaac Baker, who hosts the event with his wife, Thomasine. “It’s a way of getting them out to remain active rather than to sit around and think about the pains.”

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A veteran himself, Baker was inspired to do the event when he heard of a similar event in another area.

“We thought it would be a good program to bring to the Hampton Roads area,” Baker said.

The program has been successful for the last three years at Suffolk Golf Course. One year, the veterans hosted were blind.

“I think they do quite well,” Baker said. “They did better than I do, and I can see it.”

This year’s veterans included some amputees.

The clinic began with golf instruction from professionals Eddie Luke, Rick Bidnick and Billy Judah. The veterans practice driving and putting and work on their stance and swing.

“They perhaps, at some point in time, had aspirations or inspirations about playing the game of golf,” Baker said. “It gives them something positive. It lets them know, ‘You can still do this. Maybe not at the level you once were, but you still can do it.’ They do very well.”

Suffolk Golf Course hosts the lessons in exchange for help from the local Disabled American Veterans chapters.

“We support them by working some of the greens” during special events, Baker said. “They help us when we come with the veterans. It’s a win-win situation.”

The sponsors of the event included Amici’s Pizza, Chick-fil-A, Mike Duman Auto Group, Walmart at North Main Street, Tony’s Trophies, Pepsi Bottling of Suffolk, Major Signs, Peanut Kidd Company, International Golf Discount of Yorktown and Virginia Beach, Eastern Amputees Golf Association, National Amputees Golf Association, PGA, LPGA, USGA, DAV Charitable Service Trust and DAVA unit 5 and chapters 41 and 6.