City golf manager Whelan serves as scorer at Secretary’s Cup for veterans

May 25, 2024 | 12:12 am

Updated May 24, 2024 | 10:03 pm

Charles Whelan, Owensboro City Golf Course Manager and Vice President of the Kentucky Professional Golf Association (PGA), served as a walking scorer at the prestigious Secretary’s Cup last week. The golf classic runs in conjunction with the PGA Championship and features teams of four veterans from a PGA HOPE program and a PGA or LPGA pro. 

PGA HOPE, an acronym for Helping Our Patriots Everywhere, is the flagship military program of the PGA of America’s charitable foundation, PGA REACH. The program, a beacon of hope for many veterans, includes a developmental 6-8-week curriculum led by PGA professionals with a HOPE certification, offering them a new lease on life through the game of golf. 

“This program gives our veterans an avenue through golf to deal with certain things in their lives, whether it’s a physical injury or PTSD,” Whelan said. “It was an amazing time and one of the highlights of my career.”

Several PGA HOPE chapters exist throughout Kentucky, each teaching veterans how to play golf with a therapeutic emphasis. 

The event offered participants a jam-packed Saturday at Churchhill Downs, followed by a practice round on Sunday and the scramble on Monday at the University of Louisville Cardinal Golf Club. A total of 16 four-person teams qualified for the event from across the state. Coincidentally, Whelan was the official scorer for the winning team, which hailed from North Carolina. 

“I had a great time at the PGA championship this past weekend. I even took a photo with the champion, Xander Shauffele, but Monday was special,” he said. “The VP of PGA America, Don Ray, always says this is the one initiative where we’re able to save lives in addition to growing the game, and that’s true.”

The closest HOPE programs to Owensboro are in Elizabethtown and Paducah. Whelan said his goal is to become HOPE-certified this offseason and launch a program locally. 

“Our biggest issue to overcome will be the lack of PGA pros and volunteers in this area. We will want to source volunteers so the entire thing can be run properly,” he said. “I met one guy, who was still active in the military, who was already working on his PGA certification so he could obtain his HOPE certification and create a program.”

Whelan expressed his gratitude to the City of Owensboro for their continued support of his efforts with the initiative. 

“Amanda Rogers with the Parks Department and our City Manager Nate Pagan are wonderful when it comes to supporting me when I have these opportunities,” Whelan said. “I’m grateful to our leadership and this community for their continued support of our courses.”

May 25, 2024 | 12:12 am

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