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Headline: Golf For All and Birdies For The Brave Hosts Special Golf Clinic to Help Kick Off 2016 Deutsche Bank Championship Week at TPC Boston
For Immediate Release: August 29, 2016
|Scenes from the 2016 Golf For All & Birdies For The Brave event held at TPC Boston|
Norton, Mass. – While the 2016 Deutsche Bank Championship won’t kick into full gear until Friday, September 2 with the event’s first round of professional play, there was plenty of action taking place at TPC Boston on Monday evening.
A special clinic was held for those involved with Golf For All, a Massachusetts based non-profit organization, and Birdies For The Brave, a non-profit organization associated with the PGA Tour and hosts events in each Championship city throughout the year.
In conjunction with the Championship taking place at the Norton course this week, the PGA Tour invited Birdies For The Brave to join Golf For All for a special clinic for veterans and families, autistic, Special Olympic and other physically challenged golfers.
“You see the smiles and the high fives and the fist bumps,” explained Fred Corcoran, the Executive Director of Golf For All. “That’s the best part.”
On the same practice area where more than 100 of the top players on the PGA Tour will prepare for their rounds later this week, those smiles and high fives and fists bumps were in full effect as all participants got to take turns learning and practicing the basics to golf, including driving, chipping and putting.
Those smiles, high fives and fist bumps were prevalent; whether it was the first time or the hundredth time that each of the individuals had picked up the golf clubs.
Rotating between a series of stations, each individual received instruction on everything from how to hold the club to where to make contact and how to the follow through so that the golf ball goes straight off the tee. Bob Beach, a local golf professional from Braintree Municipal Golf Course, helped instruct the particpants.
With a team of volunteers, family members and caretakers, all participants were welcomed with an introduction from golfers from various backgrounds, including Bill McMahon, a golfer who is 100 percent blind and Jerry Donovan, a golfer who is paralyzed from the waste down but uses a ParaMobile machine, an electronic wheelchair especially designed for the terrain of the golf course, to play golf.
Both McMahon and Donovan gave a quick demonstration to the participants before the individuals themselves picked up their clubs and got to work for the 90-minute session.
Bringing people together of varying skills and backgrounds through the game of golf is something Corcoran feels is important. It’s something he’s had a large role in since the Golf For All program was initiated six years ago.
“You have opportunities in golf that you don’t have in other sports,” said Corcoran. “People of widely disparate skill levels can compete effectively against each other.”
In addition to being able to compete against each other and learn something new, Corcoran explained that golf brings people together unlike many other sports, especially for veterans of former conflicts, who have suffered both physical and mental injuries as a result of war.
He said, “We feel very strongly that the biggest part of [Post Traumatic Stress Disorder] is isolation and anything to relieve that isolation is good.”
Golf does just that. Since no other sport is as socially active as golf, being able to bring people together with similar backgrounds and similar stories, allows for the participants to create a common thread amongst their peers.
Corcoran hopes that thread will help aid some of the problems that veterans have endured since returning from action as they look to re-enter society, regardless of when they served or their branch of service.
Monday night’s event was the first time that the Deutsche Bank Championship has hosted the Golf For All and Birdies For the Brave programs to the Norton site during Championship week, and the opportunity to be involved with the program was one Corcoran was grateful for.
In addition to Monday’s clinic, Corcoran will be present throughout the week in Norton, as the Golf For All program will be manning the military outpost on the 17th hole throughout the entire Deutsche Bank Championship.
The Golf For All program is “dedicated to providing free, accessible golf programs for US military veterans, children and adults with autism and autism-spectrum disorders, and others facing physical, emotional, and cognitive challenges. Our programming utilizes the inherent therapeutic qualities of golf to promote inclusion, self-confidence, and independence, while also providing a community in which participants can thrive.” More information on their program can be found at: www.golfforall.org
PGA Tour player Phil Mickelson and his wife, Amy, established the Birdies For the Brave program in 2006 as a way to honor and show appreciation to the courageous men and women of the United States Armed Forces and their families. According to their website, www.birdiesforthebrave.org, “The PGA TOUR subsequently adopted the program, and expanded it to include a wide variety of military outreach and appreciation activities during PGA TOUR events, as well as a series of fundraising events conducted at the PGA TOUR’s Tournament Players Clubs (TPCs) and partner courses across the nation.”