News: Wounded Marines rehab with pro golf help
Story by Lance Cpl. Joshua Murray
CARLSBAD, Calif. – The first injured Marines from Wounded Warrior Battalion West to participate in Operation Game On were professionally fitted for new golf equipment at Taylormade the Kingdom in Carlsbad, Calif., Nov. 26, 2013.
Operation Game On teaches injured troops how to golf as a means of rehabilitation after suffering combat-related injuries.
Tony Perez created Operation Game On in January 2008 as a rehabilitation program for injured troops at Naval Medical Center San Diego. This year, the program expanded to include injured Marines from Wounded Warrior Battalion West.
“The program starts with the basics of the golf swing,” Perez said. “We go through chipping, pitching, and using the irons.
Staff Sgt. Jacob Nelson, an injured marine assigned to Wounded Warrior Battalion West and participating in Operation Game On, says the bond while playing golf helped his recovery.
“Struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder myself, just being able to get out with people and enjoying things I used to enjoy instead of sitting in my room helps a lot,” Nelson said.
Through the eight weeks, the injured Marines, some who have never played golf, explain how the program has helped them.
“I love watching the guys progress,” Nelson said. “Watching guys that haven’t touched a club at all, and here eight weeks later they are improving so much.”
The eight weeks of Operation Game On has brought the injured Marines to Taylormade the Kingdom.
“They’ve earned the right to be here at Taylormade the Kingdom,” Perez said. “They’ll get professionally fitted for their brand new sets of clubs, golf balls, and anything they need to get on the first tee at no charge to them.”
Perez sees the success with his program everyday the injured troops step up to the tee.
“Guys suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder have come to me and said you have brought me out of my shell,” Perez said. “Success to me is listening to their laughter.”