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To contribute to the Ranken Jordan junior golf program or to ask any questions please e-mail me at This blog is not affiliated with Ranken Jordan. The views expressed on this blog are those of the author and not those of Ranken Jordan. Thank you for reading!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Benefits In Abundance

Very often when I sit down to write a new blog post I find myself drawing a blank as I try to decide on a topic.  Of course those who know me best would say my mind being blank is not an uncommon occurrence!  What I have come to learn about this particular situation is that I am often overwhelmed by the amount of topics available.  Every week we see kids who provide us with so many great stories and memories that can be told.  After over 2 1/2 years of weekly junior golf clinics you can imagine the number of stories I have to attempt to keep straight!  We have no intention of stopping this program so the volume of stories will just continue to grow and grow.

When I look back from where we are at now to the beginning of the program I often times find myself wondering about the exact role golf has played in the recovery of some of the kids.  This past week at Ranken Jordan I was talking about this topic with one of the therapists when we saw one of our regulars on her way to the "tee" with an ever-present smile on her face.  Looking at her it was easy to figure out the role golf has played in her recovery.  This young lady has consistently been at our weekly golf clinics the entire time she has been at Ranken Jordan.  When she first started coming to golf we had to go hand-over-hand with her and she struggled to sit up in her wheelchair for more than a few minutes before needing a break.  Little by little her strength improved.  As this happened she was able to play golf for most of the hour that we are there every Tuesday.  Earlier this summer her strength had improved so much that she began taking swings on her own!  Now she sits up in her wheelchair for the entire hour, hits golf balls the entire time, and has a permanent smile etched on her face.  Golf has been a way for her to build her strength, stamina, and balance in a fun way and show her that she has something extra to look forward to when she leaves the hospital!

Stories about recoveries like this are not uncommon.  Many times in this blog I have described various stories about kids who have been a part of our junior golf program.  Every one of them has talked about how much fun they have playing golf and how they never dreamed it could be possible for them to play.  Putting a golf club in their hands has served as a catalyst in their recovery.  They are part of a sport that has allowed them to set very realistic, attainable goals . . . and then they work to reach those goals.  In many cases the time spent playing golf has served as part of their actual therapy.  The social and emotional improvements are also very noticeable.  Seeing the kids interact with each other on a weekly basis reminds everybody of the important role golf plays in the lives of these kids.

The other aspect I wonder about from time to time is what this junior golf program has meant to the Gateway PGA Section.  Being involved with a great facility like Ranken Jordan has certainly led to me being involved in a variety of golf tournaments, dinners, and other functions that I otherwise would not have been a part of.  But the Gateway PGA Section has also seen some benefits.  Recently I received an e-mail from our Executive Director, Josh Riley, PGA, explaining how the Section has benefited:

Ranken Jordan – A Pediatric Specialty Hospital is a special place to children across the country and to the Gateway PGA.  Through our charitable arm, the Gateway PGA Foundation, we have been able to donate equipment to the hospital.  The donation of equipment would be fruitless if not for the time that has been put in by local PGA Professionals.  The idea and the passion were brought forth by Kevin Corn, PGA.  The concept is simple from the view point that it is providing a reprieve for kids who battle through countless hours of rehabilitation and medical treatment.  However, the concept is much deeper when you look at the relationships that have been formed and the joy that exudes from a child when they realize they can play golf in their own special way.  The Ranken Jordan program has allowed the Gateway PGA to give back through golf while hopefully improving the outlook on a few kids’ lives.

To me it is a sign of a very successful junior golf program when everyone involved sees benefits.  I will be the first one to jump up and say I have seen countless personal and professional benefits from my involvement.  As you read in Josh Riley's comments the Gateway PGA has seen many benefits.  Ranken Jordan has seen happier kids, expanded therapy options, additional media attention, and donations from the Gateway PGA Golf Day.  The game of golf is growing and adding new players from the participants in our program (as well as family members, friends, Ranken Jordan staff members, etc).  But most importantly, the kids involved have received benefits.  Regardless of how everyone else has benefited or improved, none of it would matter if the kids were not having fun and getting better.

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