USGTF Certified Golf Teaching Professional Dennis Daugherty from Clermont, Florida, has a passion for giving back. Through his work organizing golf events for the American Cancer Society, United Way, Make A Wish Foundation and others, Daugherty’s efforts reap rewards for those who face life’s difficulties.
Most recently, he has worked with a group called Fairways for Warriors, an organization that has as its mission providing golf instruction, equipment, and outings for combat-wounded veterans. This helps with the rehabilitation process through physical, cognitive, social, and emotional health benefits through the game of golf. In addition, families are aided through their participation in the programs.
According to its website, “Warriors can’t heal alone, so Fairways for Warriors events and support community is open to the families of wounded warriors, as well. We provide golf equipment, instruction, and outings to wounded warriors and all their family members who wish to participate in the spirit of fun and healing.”
When it comes to rehabilitation, Fairways for Warriors says the most significant injuries aren’t seen, and include depression, post-traumatic stress, and brain injury. The program is designed to help men and women heal from such injuries and the wounded warriors “experience a sense of support and community again.”
In regards to physical health benefits, Fairways for Warriors aims to improve hand-eye coordination and increase functional independence, balance, strength, endurance, fine motor skills, and flexibility, with the goal of reducing the risk of secondary medical complications. Cognitive health benefits include enhanced self-esteem, assisting with managing stress and anxiety, alleviating and decreasing the risk of depression, and increasing coordination skills, focus, and attention. Social health benefits are enhanced relationships among fellow veterans, families and friends; creating networks and providing accessible resources while giving veterans a sense of belonging, and creating a shared space and experience that helps breakdown negative perceptions, allowing individuals to focus on their commonalities. Finally, the emotional health benefits allow veterans the freedom to make choices that lead to meaningful leisure experiences, and draw on their strengths and assets of energy, enthusiasm, skills, and the desire to excel.
A number of veterans sing the praises of Fairways for Warriors. Steven Allberry said, “Fairways for Warriors has changed my life in so many ways…. And I am now part of the biggest family and support team ever. All of the members of Fairways for Warriors are my brothers and sisters.”
Jack Wiseman, a Vietnam War veteran, commented, “Fairways gives the older vets an opportunity to share our experience, strength, and hope, to the younger vets, not just in golf, but in life.”
Bryan C. Coons stated, “This group of people has allowed me to live again through fellowship, friendship, and lastly golf. I love the game of golf and it allows me the camaraderie that I need in the aspect that it mimics life and military state of friendship. Fairways for Warriors has made me a better Christian, husband/father, and all-around person.”
Fairways for Warriors currently has three chapters in Orlando, Florida; San Antonio, Texas; and Jacksonville, Florida. Tom Underdown is the founder and director, and his e-mail address is tom@fairwaysforwarriorsorg.
For more information on the organization, please visit www.FairwaysForWarriors.com.