SOURCE: Help Hospitalized Veterans

September 07, 2010 10:58 ET

Fore the Love of the Game

WINCHESTER, CA--(Marketwire - September 7, 2010) -  Love it or hate it, golf is part of American culture that's here to stay. And if you play golf with any regularity, you've likely experienced both feelings about it -- maybe even simultaneously. It's a game of precision that requires coordination, proper stance, positioning, speed and good hand-eye coordination. Even with all of these mastered, hitting the ball can still be challenging.

That's what makes the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) annual TEE Tournament so remarkable -- the Tournament is for blind golfers. Originally the National Blinded Veterans TEE Tournament, the event is now open to include physically disabled as well as visually impaired veterans. From September 6-9 in Riverside, Iowa close to 200 veterans who, "for the love of the game," will have the opportunity to participate in adaptive golf and other sporting activities. The game of golf is difficult enough, but to have a physical limitation and still maintain a desire to play is commendable. Becoming visually impaired or disabled can make participating in activities one has always enjoyed, such as golf, much more of a challenge. And for the blind it can be especially daunting.

The annual TEE Tournament has become a great way to introduce therapeutic adaptive sports activities to veterans while demonstrating that having a visual or physical disability need not be an obstacle to achieving an active and rewarding life. For four days, at locations throughout the Iowa City area, blind and disabled veterans will once again taste the thrill of competition. One might wonder, "How can golfers who can't see hit the ball?" The answer is a 'golf buddy' -- an individual assigned to each visually impaired golfer. The golf buddy helps in every imaginable way, from setup and position to aiming, tee-off and play on the greens. It's both amazing to watch and inspiring to realize what veterans with disabilities must endure in order to embrace life.

This annual event is hosted by the VA medical center in Iowa City, Iowa and sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs and Help Hospitalized Veterans (HHV). "HHV continues to be committed to its mission of assisting VA with their rehabilitative goals for veterans, whether through its arts & crafts program or providing support to outstanding rehabilitative events like this," said Mike Lynch, HHV's President and CEO. "VA programs such as this have shown to improve veterans' rehabilitation, self-esteem and promote healthy leisure activities." For more information on HHV and its products and services, visit www.hhv.org or call 1-888-567-VETS.

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