PORTSMOUTH (WAVY) – Like so many others who have served, Sean Bowman felt a lack of purpose after leaving the service. That is, until he found golf.
“When I got out of the military, that comradery I was missing, I ended up finding here on the golf course,” said Bowman, a Navy veteran who still battles severe post-traumatic stress.
Along with several other veterans, Bowman enjoys a free golf clinic every week at Bide-A-Wee Golf Course, thanks to program known as “PGA Hope.”
“It’s way more than what I would have expected to see (as far as) the reaction to us helping them,” said Adam Relan, the PGA pro at Bide-A-Wee.
Hope stands for “Helping Our Patriots Everywhere,” and is a program sponsored by the PGA’s Reach Foundation.
The goal of the PGA Hope is simple; introduce the game to those who have sacrificed so much.
“The impact the program has had on me is incalculable,” said Matt Underwood, another Navy vet who still deals with PTSD after his final tour in Afghanistan.
There are 162 PGA Hope programs all over the country. The Portsmouth chapter is the only one in Hampton Roads, but Relan and others will try and change that.
“We hope to expand this throughout the region,” said Relan. “It’s incredible what this program is doing for veterans across the country.”