Yellow Pages |   News Updates |   Events Calendar |   Movie Times | Recycling
Rocklin & Roseville Today Local Events
HOME

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."


Sponsored by Blue Valley Sod.

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

Bella Vista HS Wins Sacramento County Academic DecathlonSacramento, CA- Bella Vista High School, from the San Juan Unified School District, is the winner of the 2017 Sacramento County Academic Decathlon competition

Topgolf in Roseville to host WJU Fundraiser in AprilRoseville, CA - The Jessup Athletic Association will host the inaugural TopSwing event - a fun gathering, providing golf, games, food, beverages, prizes and awards - on Sunday, April 23

Roseville Bucks for Bikes Application DeadlineRoseville, CA- Apply for an opportunity to receive up to $200 toward a new commuter bike. Bucks for Bikes helps commuters

Mom Turns Caregiving Into CareerSo taken up by their moving story, I'm devoting the next two weeks to Joe and Tish Griffin, 21-year-old son and 60-year-old mother

PCWA affirms opposition to weaken Prop 218AUBURN, Calif. - At its February 16 meeting, the Placer County Water Agency (PCWA) Board of Directors expressed opposition to any legislative effort to weaken Proposition 218

Rocklin Music Artist Quinn Hedges New AlbumLocal Rocklin music artist Quinn Hedges will unveil his latest album in spectacular fashion. He and several collaborators created a dozen captivating videos

Roseville Gas Price Declines Coming to an End?Roseville, CA- Declining gas prices in Roseville may be coming to an end as experts continue to anticipate a rise in fuel prices nationwide heading into the warmer months

Bill would provide independent oversight of Mental Health ServicesROSEVILLE - This week Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R-Roseville) introduced a bill to assure that the $2 billion allocated each year from Proposition 63

Roseville to host Junior Singles ChampionshipsRoseville, CA - Johnson Ranch Racquet Club in Roseville is set to host annual Junior Singles Championships Feb. 18 - 20.

Kidney Transplants: UC Davis Leads NationSACRAMENTO, Calif.) - UC Davis physicians gave lifesaving kidney transplants to more than 400 people in 2016, making it the highest-volume kidney transplant program in the nation.

Kid-O-Rama Festival Returns to Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows Olympic Valley, Calif. - The 8th annual Kid-O-Rama extravaganza returns to Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows this President's Day weekend from February 18-25.

Dementia Support Group in Grass ValleyCascades of Grass Valley, a senior living community located at 415 Sierra College Drive in Grass Valley, will be hosting a monthly support group for family and caregivers


more news