PGA Hope Columbia, Lexington bringing therapeutic golf experience

According to the groups’ lead instructor, Jim Williams, the Lexington group started classes in February.

LEXINGTON, S.C. — As many make their way to Augusta this week for the Masters, others can enjoy golf right here in the Midlands, specifically veterans. 

Jim Williams is the lead instructor for Lexington and Columbia’s PGA Hope chapters. He says that his father was a veteran, and so is his brother. 

The PGA Hope chapters allow those who have served our country a free six week adaptive golf training experience, also inclusive to veterans who are blind, deaf, or struggling with PTSD.

“It’s basically directed at people with PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, amputees, but if you wore the uniform, you’re welcome,” Williams said. 

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The training program is taught by PGA professionals. 

Williams started Columbia’s PGA Hope chapter about five years ago, but the Lexington chapter just began classes in February 2024. 

Williams says that the PGA section office for North and South Carolina introduced him to the national program. Williams said he felt there was a need for a chapter here in the Midlands, so it was just a matter of starting one. 

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“It’s really exciting because some of these people have never ever been on a golf course before, they’ve never swung a golf club before, and this program here … it’ll change somebody’s life, but it also saves lives,” Williams said.

Taylor Baxter, a Marine corps veteran, graduated from the PGA Hope program in Columbia three years ago. 

“Someone who is struggling with maybe some hidden wounds, we talk about hidden wounds, people who have PTSD, or possibly are suffering from affects of traumatic brain injury are some things that, where their mind is just constantly going. Golf is a game that allows you to compartmentalize that for a little while, because you’re thinking about so much about golf, that it gives you an opportunity to kind of quiet everything else,” Baxter said.

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Baxter says that golf is a therapeutic tool and adds that specially modeled golf carts are available to those who use wheelchairs. 

If you’re a veteran, and interested in signing up for this free golf program, the next classes in Columbia will start May 2, 2024 at Spur at Northwoods Golf Club on Thursdays from 10 am – 12 pm. 

The next classes in Lexington will begin May 2, 2024 at the Country Club of Lexington on Thursdays from 3 – 5 pm. 

For more details on how to sign up, click here.

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