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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Golf Helps the Healing Process

The simplified purpose of any pediatric healing facility is to help kids get better and go home to their family and friends.  Now I realize there is a lot more going on in each and every pediatric hospital or rehabilitation center around the country, but the basic goal of every one is to heal children and get them home.  For each and every patient, many procedures, treatments, therapies, and tools are used to accomplish this goal.  Often times there are standard protocols that can be followed and will work with many of the patients.  Then there are those times where health care professionals have to think outside the box to get through to a child and kick-start their healing process.  I have witnessed some of those occasions and can confidently say that golf is a healing tool.

How can I so confidently make a statement like that?  After all, I am a PGA Professional with no formal healthcare education (although I have stayed at Holiday Inn Express).  What grounds do I have to stand up and say that golf is a healing tool?  The basis of my confidence in saying that is I have seen it happen time and time again.  Week in and week out I have watched kids improve their strength, stamina, balance, coordination, motor skills, etc.  Through my work at Ranken Jordan I have had the honor of meeting and talking to people like Zakki Blatt and Kyle Miller who are prime examples of the significant healing role golf can play in the life of a child.  Do yourself a favor and read their Golf Save My Life articles by Max Adler from past Golf Digest magazines.  Click HERE for Zakki's story and HERE for Kyle's story.

Another contributing factor to my confidence in saying golf is a healing tool occurred in one of our recent golf clinics at Ranken Jordan.  During one of our clinics this winter we had a young man, maybe 7 or 8 years old, who started playing golf from his wheelchair.  Over the course of several weeks his therapy progressed to the point where he was standing for short periods of time with the aid of a therapist.  On multiple mornings, he would come to golf for a short time, work on his swing in his wheelchair, and then head to therapy (times overlapped but he always wanted to make some time for golf).  Each morning it never failed, he would leave for therapy only to return a few minutes later with a therapist in tow.  His therapist told us that he wouldn't stand for her but he would happily stand up to hit golf balls!  To go along with the physical benefits he received through playing golf we also saw changes in his interaction with the other kids and his own happiness.  He always had to watch the other kids hit a few shots, talk to them, and had a smile plastered on his face the entire time.

Jeff Middleton, PGA, Zakki Blatt, & Kevin Corn, PGA
For many people golf is simply a way to escape for a short time or unwind after a stressful day.  Other folks, like me, make our living through golf.  To the kids I teach every week golf is improving their lives.  Regardless of how big or small the improvements are, the fact remains that golf is making a difference.  These kids deserve the opportunity to learn the game of a lifetime and enjoy some of the healing benefits it provides.  Why is this so and what can it really do for them?  Contact me and I will gladly provide more information and details.  Simply stated, when the opportunity is presented to the kids it leads to . . . Possibility.

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