“EMPOWERING WOUNDED VETERANS, ONE FAIRWAY AT A TIME.”
The SMGA’s mission is to provide rehabilitative golf programs, experiences, and family inclusive golf opportunities for post 9/11 wounded war veterans in an effort to improve the quality of life for these American heroes. Eligible veterans and service members include those wounded or injured in post 9/11 military operations, including those with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and/or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
THE STORY OF SMGA
Jim Estes, a former PGA Tour Player, and childhood friend Jamie Winslow co-founded the Salute Military Golf Association in late 2006. They both saw first-hand the positive force the game of golf could play in the recovery process for our nation’s wounded veterans. SMGA began with the purpose of creating a therapeutic outlet for post-9/11 veterans undergoing prolonged medical treatment at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland.
Jim’s and SMGA’s efforts have been recognized by numerous media outlets. Jim was awarded the prestigious (2010) PGA Patriot Award for his contributions to the recovery of wounded veterans. The following article from ESPN.com tell how several trips from Walter Reed Army Medical Center to Olney Golf Park, where Jim Estes is a PGA Teaching Professional, eventually evolved into a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation aimed at supporting post-9/11 wounded veterans.
OUR IMPACT ON VETERANS
The Salute Military Golf Association aims to meld a love of country and love of golf in an effort to support the mental and physical rehabilitation programs of post-9/11 wounded and injured warriors. SMGA golf professionals, skilled in teaching adaptive golf, understand the unique needs of veterans returning home from service and have witnessed first-hand the powerful benefits the game of golf can provide in improving quality of life of wounded service men and women.
PHYSICAL & MENTAL REHABILITATION
Golf embodies strength, flexibility, endurance, balance, and mental discipline, all central qualities of a successful rehabilitation program. The camaraderie and lasting friendships SMGA warrior golfers forge among themselves have helped many return to active duty or successfully reintegrate into civilian life.
MILITARY FAMILIES SERVE TOO
The SMGA recognizes that when our nation’s men and women serve our country, their families do too. Since 2001, over 2.5 million service members deployed in support of the wars. These long deployments are often stressful for those family members left to support the family and home. Because of this, the SMGA promotes a family-inclusive golf instruction environment and encourages clinic participation from our veterans’ families. All family and caregivers can participate in our clinics at no cost to them.