Thursday, August 17, 2017

Wounded Vets Honored at WGA BMW Championship, September 12 at Conway Farms Golf Club

(RELEASE) - Tuesdays before PGA Tour events are typically serene practice days when the competing golf pros learn the course and plot their tournament strategy. But Tuesday, September 12 will be quite a bit more exciting for the 50 or so wounded veterans from the Chicagoland area who will be on hand during Pro Practice Day at Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest, Illinois, home of the WGA’s BMW Championship, which begins on September 14.

September 12 is Disabled Veterans Appreciation Day (DVAD) at this PGA Tour event and these honored soldiers will view golf demonstrations and receive tips from the golfing stars. The vets also will enjoy a “meet and greet” with the pros and get the opportunity to watch their favorite players practice. It is a day to let vets with special needs know that golf can still be a fun, fulfilling part of their lives.

Hosted by The Freedom Golf Association ( in conjunction with the Western Golf Association, the veterans also will enjoy a special luncheon in their honor and learn about how they can become part of the Freedom Golf Association family as adaptive golf players or adaptive golf coaches. FGA is the Illinois-based non-profit organization that is helping to spearhead the growing local and national movement to make the game of golf accessible to persons with impairments.

“We are thrilled to honor our veterans at this great BMW Championship,” said E.Q. Sylvester, a triple-amputee who founded FGA and is a Director of the WGA. “We have found that these amazing people who have taken up the great game of golf, have seen wonderful improvements in their lives resulting from the social, therapeutic, and rehabilitative benefits of this game. Some have attended our clinics to learn how to play golf, but others have gone on to be trained as adaptive golf coaches, adding more joy to their own population.”

The day will begin with special luncheon at noon under the Patriots Outpost at the WGA/Evans Scholars hospitality tent near the 16th green. E.Q. Sylvester will speak to the group, thank them for their service, and encourage them to make golf part of their lives.

After lunch, the honored veterans will spend the afternoon viewing the action and then be treated to a golf demonstration at the practice range at 3pm. As part of this special day, the vets will learn about the many types of adaptive golf equipment that are available to them and how the FGA goes about assessing their needs, helping them find the right equipment, and offering coaching and clinics led by players who are specially trained to teach adaptive golf. Finally, they will learn about the growing number of golf courses that have become aligned with FGA and are becoming accessible to golfers with special needs.

To show their appreciation and support, the Western Golf Association has arranged for the veterans to receive passes to attend all four days of the BMW Championship. Veterans who are unable to walk the course will be offered golf carts and staff assistance.

“We know that there are many disabled vets—and other people with special needs—who have not lost their love of golf and still want to play to the best of their ability,” said Vince Pelligrino, Tournament Chairman of the Western Golf Association. “We hope that this day will bring inspiration to those who didn’t realize that golf was accessible to them. There still is nothing that beats a day out on the course and we encourage everyone with the passion to get out and enjoy this wonderful pastime.”

For more information about the BMW Championship FGA’s Disabled Veterans Appreciation Day on September 12, please contact Sally Ruecking, Director of Development for the Freedom Golf Association, at 630-455-6018 or send an email to

About Freedom Golf Association
Freedom Golf Association (FGA), a 501(C)3 non-profit charitable organization, is the leading adaptive golf organization in Illinois and is a charter member of the United States Adaptive Golf Alliance. FGA was founded in July 2012 by Edmund (E.Q.) Sylvester. E.Q. is a director of the Western Golf Association (WGA), member of the United States Senior Golf Association (USSGA), member of the United States Golf Association (USGA) and a triple amputee. FGA is dedicated to bringing joy and a sense of freedom to the special needs community through their inclusion in the game of golf.

FGA believes that all special needs individuals deserve a chance to accomplish the same things as any others do and work towards bringing a positive transformation to their lives. FGA contributes to the positive development of those with special needs through the magic of golf.

FGA works to assist individuals with disabilities in many ways:
- Provides professionally run instructional clinics and golf events
- Engages children, adults and veterans with special needs in FREE golf instruction with other classmates
- Conducts adaptive golf training workshops to increase the number of qualified golf coaches to instruct individuals with special needs
- Provides leadership and collaboration with nationally recognized organizations on how to expand/grow adaptive golf programs

Based on its growing understanding of the needs of disabled golfers, the FGA has developed a ground-breaking Adaptive Golf Enhancement Program that increases the golfing ability of special needs golfers. FGA’s golf coaches learn this six-step process, which helps them better understand and enhance the capabilities of special needs golfers.

To assist coaches and special needs golfers in determining what adaptive measures would be most beneficial, FGA recently invested in what they call a “personal swing sensors and computerized program” to 1) measure the disabled golfer’s initial swing path and limitations; 2) develop an appropriate exercise program to improve flexibility and range of motion; and 3) to chart the golfer’s progress, using the initial swing measurements as a baseline.

In 2016, FGA provided more than 1,300 adaptive golf lessons. In the same year, 110 special needs golfers went out and played on the course. Ten individuals became trained FGA Adaptive Golf Coaches, growing the total number to 42.

79 cents out of every dollar received goes to FGA’s special needs golf programs and events. FGA has led 40 Chicagoland courses in becoming accessible to the disabled community.

For more information about the Freedom Golf Association, please visit the official website at and the online newsroom at Contact FGA by phone at 855-342-4465 or 630-455-6018, or by email at Donations to Freedom Golf Association can be made at

Follow FGA on Facebook at Follow FGA on Twitter at

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