Jorge Torres sat near the Cobblestone Golf Course putting green with his service dog, Ruey, waiting his turn for one-on-one time with a golf pro.
Torres, 38, from Dallas, is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who suffered traumatic brain and spinal injuries from an IED blast in the Iraq war. “I came back alive, and that’s all that matters,” he said.
Torres joined more than a dozen local military veterans recently for weekly golf lessons from seasoned professional golfers as part of the Professional Golf Association Georgia Hope for Veterans Golf Clinics.
“It’s only my third time with this golf thing. All I knew about it before was from the movie ‘Caddyshack’ and playing miniature golf with my kids. It took one of the other guys to get me out here. I think I like it,” he said.
“We encourage disabled veterans to come and learn the game of golf while overcoming physical and cognitive issues,” explained David Windsor, a Marietta professional golfer who leads the Georgia State Golf Association Adaptive Golf program and coordinates the clinics. The free clinics are taught by PGA/LPGA golf professionals and veteran peer mentors to help veterans transition into the community while enhancing positive values, fun and new social settings, he said.
Any veteran with a specific physical, cognitive and or sensory disability is invited to sign up for the clinics. Sensory disabilities range from back-spine injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, limb loss, vision impairment and strokes, among others, Windsor said.
The clinic is each Wednesday afternoon through Aug. 28 from 4-6 p.m. at Cobblestone Golf Course. At the final session, veterans will receive a graduation card, which features golf-related benefits in their region.
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