(WBTW) Non-profit ‘Project Golf’ uses golf as therapy to help veterans, youth and newcomers along the Grand Strand

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Golf fans and pros will convene along the Grand Strand for the Myrle Beach Classic May 9-12.

It is the first PGA tour event in the city’s history.

Myrtle Beach has been long known as the golf capital of the world and a local non-profit, Project Golf, has made its mission to advocate for the game as a means for therapy.

Project Golf was established in 2017 and has helped underserved communities like veterans get back active through the sport.

News13 had the pleasure to attend one of the classes and spoke to those who went through the program, ambassadors, and professional instructors.

Thomas Maneely, an ambassador of Project Golf, went through the class that features roughly two dozen veterans to help them get acclimated to the game.

“Once you get out, you don’t have that comradery, the brotherhood and sisterhood of it, of being in the marines,” Maneely explained. “We’re a small unit so you know.”

Maneely served from 1990 to 1992 before he was injured.

“I got injured and then I did a lot of wheelchair support, after I got injured,” Maneely said. “I didn’t think I was ever going to play golf, and then I found out about Whispering Pines having a disabled cart.”

Project Golf acquired a similar paramobile golf cart that allows golfers with disabilities to stand upright with ease and practice their swing.

It was made possible thanks to Titos Vodka, and it’s used during their classes.

“We do seven classes a year of 22 veterans, the reason we pick 22, there’s a ratio we’d like to have with our instructor so they’re really getting some hands on experience,” said Executive Director of Project Golf, Gary Schall. “Plus 22 is a signal, there are 22 veterans that commit suicide per day.”

Since its inception, Project Golf has helped to improve the life of 600 plus veterans and active military members, 150 underserved youth, and 500 plus newcomers through the game of golf.

“It’s a success because we’ve graduated 500 over the last four years and there are 300 chapters in the country that we’re one of and we’re leading the country,” Schall explained.

The experience is just as beneficial for the volunteers.

 “It’s therapeutic for me, I’ve had four trips over to Iraq, so I have baggage, so this is how I release my baggage,” said Dennis Primiano, a volunteer ambassador for Project Golf. “I come out and hang out with my friends who all military are, we say things, we do things, we laugh, we have fun. It’s the best part.”

The veterans not only have the chance to learn skills from PGA professional instructors, but they also fellowship.

“Again, golf isn’t even it, it’s getting out, it’s enjoying the sunshine, the club, it’s just one of my biggest thrills as a PGA member,” said Paige Cribb of PGA of America, and an instructor through Coastal Carolina University Golf Management Program.

For Maneely, Project Golf has been a life saver.

“It’s allowed me to meet new people, play at places that I never thought I could play, it’s a stress reliever too,” Maneely said.

If you are interested in learning how to receive golf lessons from Project Golf or participate in their programs, click here.

On May 7, the organization is hosting a Myrtle Beach Classic Youth Clinic at Barefoot Resort. The session will bring together 50 junior golfers and four PGA golfers for group lessons on the range of the resort. It runs from 3:30 p.m. until 5:30 p.m.

2051 Golf Academy Way
North Myrtle Beach, SC 29582

© Project Golf • All rights Reserved.

Project Golf is a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Organization

Project Golf is a member of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce.

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