PGA Hope

Keeping Hope Alive: Veterans, Golfers Continue to Team Up for Event Amid Pandemic

PGA Hope, which stands for Helping Our Patriots Everywhere, has introduced golf to more than 1,000 veterans in Northern California over the past five years.

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Every year, the PGA and U.S. Service Veterans come together for a program designed to enrich the lives of vets through the game of golf.

The PGA tells NBC Bay Area due to COVID-19 restrictions, it was unable to host a sanctioned event this year. But that did not stop veterans and pro golfers from finding a way to meet up this week at one of the most respected golf venues in the nation.

"I've heard a lot of stories about this place, and just to be able to be here and play a round of golf is fantastic," Marine veteran Kevin Hoy of Stockton said of the Olympic Club Ocean Course, which has hosted seven PGA majors since 1955, including give U.S. Opens.

For the past two months, Hoy and 23 other veterans with physical disabilities have trained with golf professionals to prepare for a unique opportunity playing on the legendary golf course.

The veterans learn the game and on Monday got to put it to practice on one of the most challenging and picturesque courses in the world.

"That really helped us learn how to become consistent," said Art Bermudez, an Air Force veteran from Fairfield.

Mary Lou Bermudez, also an Air Force veteran, added "We are so grateful for the PGA Hope and the Olympic Club for having us still, despite all of the circumstance with the COVID-19, and that we have this opportunity to gather and play with other veterans."

PGA Hope, which stands for Helping Our Patriots Everywhere, has introduced golf to more than 1,000 veterans in Northern California over the past five years.

The PGA is unable to sanction an event this year because of pandemic restrictions. But the Olympic Club volunteered to host an unsanctioned "social gathering" of golfers and veterans.

"You talk about heroes -- golfers are heroes, but these guys are true heroes," said Michael Carr, an Olympic Club member. "And they put their lives on the lines for us."

The veterans equally are grateful to test their skills where most golfers could only dream about playing.

"And I'm going to thoroughly enjoy every minute that I'm on this course," Hoy said Monday.

The Olympic Club is also taking the pandemic seriously. Everyone who attended the venue had to undergo temperature check and wear face coverings.

The face coverings only were allowed to come off while eating and while social distancing on the course.

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