MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — A local nonprofit is using the game of golf to help struggling veterans get back on their feet.
Project Golf aims to help veterans improve their physical, mental and social well-being.
“I started pitching and everybody started stopping and looking at me and I’m like, I’m pretty good at this,” said Mark Jacobs, a veteran in the PGA Hope Program.
Jacobs is one of 155 veterans that has benefitted from Project Golf’s PGA Hope Program.
“Golf is a great unifier and the veteran community is a need for an outreach and if we can impact that through golf, it’s a fabulous way to do it,” Founder of Project Golf Bill Golden said.
The group partners with the Eastern Carolina Housing Organization that encourages the veterans they help to join the PGA Hope Program.
“We watched these guys come in with nothing, broken, no confidence, looking down — end up with collard shirt, khaki shorts and a mission,” said Kim Pike, Bridge Housing program director for Eastern Carolina Housing Organization.
Jacobs said Project Golf was able to help him realize he wasn’t the only one going through a struggle. He started the program in October and after being addicted to cocaine for 20 years and then homeless, he said he needed to make a change.
“I mean, it was just a lot of stuff going on and the root cause of it was drugs and so I had to get busy living or get busy dying so I decided to get busy living,” Jacobs said.
They handed him a pitching wedge, taught him how to golf, and introduced him to other veterans who he now calls brothers.
“I got to meet some wonderful people,” Jacobs said. “We were able to share our stories and share the brotherhood of actually being in service to our country.”
On Tuesday, Jacobs celebrated being 60 days clean.