Yellow Pages |   News Updates |   Local Jobs |   Events Calendar |   Movie Times | Recycling
Rocklin and Roseville Today Local Events

Nicklaus-Redesigned Course Helps Disabled Vets



It's a small world. After talking only a few minutes over the telephone with 63-year-old Roger Gatts, assistant manager of American Lake Veterans Golf Course near Tacoma, Washington, I learned he and I grew up only a few miles apart in southern Ohio.

American Lake Veterans Golf Course has been turning heads. In 2004, a group of military veterans began raising money to make this nine-hole golf course accessible and exclusively for veterans with disabilities.

Later, one of the golf course board members had an idea. He called Jack Nicklaus for help in redesigning the golf course for accessibility. "Our board member, Ken Still, had played on the 1969 Ryder Cup team with Nicklaus," said Gatts. "They had been friends ever since. Ken told Jack what we needed and Jack said he would love to do it. He said there would be no charge because of what these disabled veterans had sacrificed for their country."

Gatts himself has PTSD from serving on the demilitarized zone in Korea. He and all the other 215 workers at the nonprofit American Lake Veterans Golf Course are strictly volunteers. They keep course conditions crisp for 3,500 disabled veterans playing golf every year.

Said Gatts, "We have guys missing legs, missing arms. Some are paralyzed, have a traumatic brain injury or have PTSD. We have Vietnam- and even WWII-era veterans. One of our golfers was in the first wave on Omaha Beach on D-Day. A lot of the guys coming back from Iraq or Afghanistan think it's the end of the world to lose a leg or arm, but it's not. They find out life goes on. We help them get back into life through the game of golf. That's what we're all about."

Recent Medal of Honor recipient Leroy Petry, who lost an arm in 2008 heroically saving the lives of fellow Army Rangers, golfs at American Lake. Another golfer, Jim Martinson, lost both legs and a finger in Vietnam. He won the Boston Marathon wheelchair race in 1981, and has become a bogey golfer.

Many of the golfers use specially made golf carts that traverse accessible sand traps, greens, and tee boxes. Nicklaus has been designing a new back nine and soon will be working on making accessibility improvements to the front nine.

Gatts said, "Nicklaus said he would like to duplicate what we are doing here throughout the nation."


LittleGiantFudge.com and Palmer Bus Service make this column possible.

Daniel J. Vance is a licensed professional counselor and national certified counselor from Vernon Center, Minn. His weekly newspaper column Disabilities has been published in more than 260 newspapers.

Daniel J. Vance may be reached at www.danieljvance.com



Placer County News Headlines

50 Days of the Grateful Dead: Truckin' at Levi's StadiumTruckin' opens the Fare Thee Well Run in Santa Clara, CA at Levi's Stadium on June 27, 2015. Full setlist.

Gruesome Murders in Roseville Under InvestigationThe two men found shot and burning in Roseville Thursday night have died and the Placer County Sheriff's Office is asking for the public's help in solving this heinous crime.

Honda Accord Hybrid offers great performance, gas mileageIf you're considering purchasing a Honda Accord, the dilemma one could face is one of its primary competitors is conceivably the Accord Hybrid.

Roseville Gas Prices Push Below $2.90 GallonRoseville gas prices are trending downward, recently pushing below the $2.90 mark at a few locations throughout the city.

Roseville Utility Rate Hikes Begin July 1stThe Roseville City Council approved two consecutive annual rate increases for wastewater services that will kick in on July 1, 2015.

Dan Dugger to manage Rocklin Bass Pro Shops Outdoor WorldDan Dugger has been named store manager for the newBass Pro Shops Outdoor World store, which opens late summer in Rocklin, California.

Sierra College & Hacker Lab Open House in RocklinSierra College and Hacker Lab invite the community to an Open House on Tuesday, June 30 from 5:30-7:00 PM at 4804 Granite Dr., in Rocklin

Public Input Sought for Possible Auburn Area Community CenterStudying the feasibility of a potential community center that will serve people of all ages in the Auburn area is the focus of a Placer County effort that's now underway

Santucci Memorial Golf Tournament in Roseville this SeptemberThe 12th annual Bill Santucci Memorial Golf Tournament will take place Friday, Sept. 18 at Sierra View Country Club in Roseville.

Folsom, Sacramento Reach Settlement on Mather Airport ExpansionFolsom, CA - The City of Folsom and Sacramento County announced a settlement today over plans to expand Mather Airport.

Whole Foods Under Fire: Systemic Overcharging AllegedAn investigation in California, which began in 2012, also found pricing irregularities in the state's Whole Foods stores

50 Days of the Grateful Dead: To Lay Me DownSeptember 18, 1990. The Grateful Dead at Madison Square Garden performing To Lay Me Down.


more news