East Bay

‘It Saved My Life': East Bay Iraq War Vet Credits Golf Program With Bringing Him Back From a ‘Dark Place'

Even though he's only been working on the staff of Blackhawk Country Club in Danville for a few months, Mike Myers is getting the hang of fixing that which needs fixing around the golf course.

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A fair trade, Myers would say, because the sport of golf fixed him.

"So, that's why when people are like, "What does golf do for you?" I say it saved my life," Myers said. "Because, I mean, I was in a dark place."

That "dark place" was Myer's life after serving his country as an Army sergeant in Iraq. It had been Myers' dream growing up to be a soldier. The reality of it lived up to all Myer's expectations. The East Bay native loved the purpose and structure military life gave him.

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"I knew what to expect every single day," Myers said. "I knew I'd get up and there's a 100% chance I was going to do some push-ups and 100% I was going to do some running, 50% chance there'd be some breakfast."

But after just two years, an ankle injury led to a medical discharge. Myers tried going back to school and worked a few different jobs but nothing filled the void the military had left in his life. Which is why he considered ending it.

"I'm thinking about going up to Travis and buying a pistol and shooting myself in the face because it's not working out and failure is unacceptable," Myers said.

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What Myers needed was a challenge. And, it turned out, trying to put a little white ball into a slightly larger cup was just the challenge he needed.

Myers discovered golf after hearing a program called PGA HOPE. Run by the Professional Golfers Association of America, PGA HOPE offered free, weekly golf instruction to veterans, particularly disabled ones like Myers. In the process, the veterans not only learn a sport they can play for the rest of their lives, they reap the benefits of exercise, fresh air, and, perhaps most importantly, the camaraderie of other veterans.

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Myers took to all of it so well he now not only works at a golf course, he wants to improve his game to the point he could be an instructor for PGA HOPE. He would love nothing more than to use gold to help other vets get their lives back on course. Just like it did his.

"Until I am no longer able to play, I'll be swinging a golf club."

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