Round of golf helps wounded war veterans get back in swing of things

SEWELL, N.J. (WPVI) -- In South Jersey, there was much more than just a round of golf on Thursday.

It was a chance for a group of wounded war veterans to continue their recovery with the support of their brothers in arms.

The morning began with a perfect drive for Army veteran Frank Hicks, a former paratrooper and now amputee.

"It's amazing. I feel more at ease. When I come here I know it's fun," said Hicks of Warminster.

Hicks joined dozens of amputee veterans during the Next Step Golf Clinic organized by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

"I love it. I just love the game of golf. Therapeutically, mentally and physically it challenges you, and you're overcoming the obstacles while you're out here. Balance issues and just the head games itself that golf plays with you," said Capt. John O'Brien, U.S. Marine Crops., Westchester.

"Golf is a natural way of working with veterans /amputees especially to learn and gain that kind of balance and things back as well," said Gary Woodring, Chief Prosthetics, Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Gary Woodring is the Chief of Prosthetics at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center, and keeps this program going - now in its eighth year.

This year Pitman Golf Course in Sewell is the host. The event is both a clinic and scramble.

Out on the course there were nine teams, made up of two amputee veterans, a golf pro and a guest. They say it's not all about the golf game - it's also about the camaraderie.

"Now I'm getting out more with veterans, and I'm socializing again," said Hicks.
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