**Due to ongoing coronavirus-related closures, cancellations and schedule changes, garrison public affairs suggests confirming with any facilities before planning to attend.
Starting next month, Warrior Transition Battalion Soldiers and Family members from Fort Belvoir can enhance their journeys to recovery, by learning the basics of golf during two, eight-week instructional programs, sponsored by the Links To Freedom organization, at the Golf Club. These adaptive sports clinics are designed to introduce wounded, injured and ill Service members to the game, promote therapeutic rehabilitation and encourage outdoor recreation.
The spring clinic begins April 18 at 9:30 a.m. A second training series is in October.
The WTB adaptive golf program, begun more than 10 years ago by Steve Greiner, PGA professional and Links To Freedom executive director, provides Soldiers with chances to develop their skills in driving, putting, chipping and engaging in regulation play.
“We started at Fort Belvoir in 2008 to teach our wounded, ill and injured Service members the great game of golf. We have refined the program to use golf as a therapeutic tool,” Greiner said. “The eight-week program takes students from the classroom to the course. We have instructed over 3,200 warriors and Family members who are proud alums. Our staff is very proud of the program, but the real reward is gifting golf as a game to enjoy for life with Families and friends.”
Greiner developed the Links To Freedom program to bring a sense of normalcy and recreation to those Service members who otherwise would spend the entire week in intense psychological and physical therapy. After successfully engaging this community, Greiner realized that golf is also a vehicle for social and emotional rehabilitation, not only to the Service members, but to their Families and caregivers.
The forthcoming spring session is comprised of eight Saturday classes beginning at 9:30 a.m. Each class lasts about two hours, taught by PGA and LPGA professionals, and includes guest speakers and lunch. Headquartered at Belvoir, Links To Freedom has courses in seven states. Interested veterans and their Families attend the course for free after completing an application at linkstofreedom.org, under the registration tab. Registration for new students is underway. L2F alumni are welcome to register beginning Monday.
Links To Freedom has six principles toward supporting Service members and their Families:
• Utilize golf as a vehicle to extend therapy in a calm, serene environment
• Teach the fundamentals of the game; focus on control of motor skills, mobility and flexibility
• Provide a familiar, fun social environment using PGA/LPGA instructors and military and civilian volunteers
• Conduct skill instruction and on-course playing lessons
• Family members and caregivers are included to re-establish relationships as they learn to golf together
• Work with and recruit other complementary, therapeutic organizations to help rehabilitate the “whole person”
Dick “the Skull” Johns, a retired Soldier, is the program administrator and will be on hand with Greiner to run the instruction. Participants are encouraged to arrive early to warm up and then stay for a free lunch at the Belvoir Golf Club after the lesson is complete. L2F is also offered in Utah, Maryland, Georgia, North Carolina, California and Washington.
“The program has really grown, gaining momentum for our wounded Service members and their Families,” said Rob Koon, Links To Freedom chairman and a retired Airman. “Links To Freedom continues to offer a venue to heal our military members and their Families by teaching the great game of golf.”
To register, go to www.linkstofreedom.org and click the registration tab.
For more information, call 202-803-1515 or email L2F@linkstofreedom.org.
For more photos, visit https://www.flickr.com/photos/fort_belvoir