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Northern Ohio Golf Association Receives $60,000 Grant to Help Disabled Golfers

By Pat Galbincea, The Plain Dealer

The Northern Ohio Golf Association's program to help disabled golfers got a $60,000 boost in December from the Harold C. Schott Foundation. 

The grant will mean a significant increase to the association's 'Return to Golf program, according to Bob Wharton, executive director of the association's charities. 

"We've wanted to do a better job for golfers with disabilities," Wharton said. "We want to get them physically stronger, using golf as the carrot. This grant will enable us to do that." 

The money will be used to hire a golf pro and a therapist one day a week, Wharton said. 

He said the grant will also enable the golf association to complete its Wellness Center in the basement of its headquarters in North Olmsted. The center is designed so that golfers who have physical disabilities can exercise. 

The facility is also used during the summer in inclement weather. Golfers conduct putting contests there and can receive lessons for free. 

In good weather, golfers can play the nine-hole association-owned North Olmsted Golf Club. 

The Schott Foundation grant will also enable the golf association to purchase specialized golf equipment, including a golf simulator. 

Wharton secured the grant with the help of Cleveland Clinic physical therapist Jeffrey Ciolek. Wharton and Ciolek were the key figures in establishing the Return to Golf program in 2002. 

Initially, the association had a golf pro and a therapist who volunteered and worked with about 20 golfers with physical disabilities on Tuesdays during the summer. The program has since grown, as the group now works with about 20 golfers during the winter months, and up to 35 golfers during the summer. 

"Whether you have a disability or not, most golfers want to see how well and how far they are hitting the golf ball," Wharton said. "This grant will help us get the equipment we need to hook up golfers so they can see how well they are executing the golf swing."

(The Plain Dealer)



NOGA Charities & Foundation Opens New Fitness Center
The NOGA Wharton Golf Center was missing one piece for its Return To Golf program – a Fitness Center.  Now, thanks in part to a grant from the Harold C. Schott Foundation, our puzzle is complete.  

The NOGA Fitness Center is an 800-square foot facility located in the lower level of the Wharton Golf Center (next to the indoor golf range).  This spacious room is fully equipped with high quality, easy-to-use, equipment geared toward helping individuals perform rehabilitation-based fitness and conditioning.  The Fitness Center features state-of-the-art fitness equipment, including Cardon Rehabilitation Pulley Systems, K-TRAINER Biofeedback System, TRUEStretch Flexibility Platform and NuStep Recumbent Cross Trainer.

During weekly sessions, physical therapists utilize the Fitness Center to help Return to Golf participants enhance flexibility, improve balance and increase overall strength.

Jerry Ludvik Return to Golf Outing Celebrates Another Year of Accessible Golf
A record number of participants gathered for the 7th annual Jerry Ludvik Return to Golf Outing at the North Olmsted Golf Club on Friday, August 24. The event was sponsored by the Jerry Ludvik Memorial Golf Fund. 

More than 70 golfers comprised of Return to Golf participants, their families and program supporters celebrated another year of accessible golf and the success of NOGA Charities & Foundation's Return to Golf program for golfers with disabilities.

Jerry Ludvik was the head golf professional at Springvale Golf Course in North Olmsted until he unexpectedly passed away in December of 2005. His passion for teaching golf to those with special needs and disabilities lead his wife, Debbie, to establish the Jerry Ludvik Memorial Golf Fund to carry on his legacy. Her fund annually conducts the Jerry Pole Golf Classic at Springvale Golf Course.

Thanks to Debbie, the annual Jerry Pole Golf Classic raised $3,000 in 2012. A check was presented to Trevor Hazen, Director of Return to Golf, at the Jerry Ludvik Return to Golf Outing. Since 2006, the Jerry Ludvik Memorial Golf Fund has contributed $18,833 to NOGA Charities & Foundation and Return to Golf.

Every year, the Return to Golf player of the year is announced at the Jerry Ludvik Return to Golf Outing. The Player of the Year award recognizes an individual who demonstrates great determination and commitment to the program. This year's award winner, John Trevis, exemplifies all that is good about Return to Golf and is the first to recognize how the program has changed his life. John is a great friend to all, welcoming new participants and giving encouragement along the way.

The Jerry Ludvik Return to Golf Outing would like to thank Chick-fil-A of Great Northern Boulevard in North Olmsted. Outing participants were treated to their signature Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwiches for lunch, with cookies and ice cream for dessert. Angelina's Pizza also supported the event by donating gift certificates to each golfer for complimentary pizza.
Return To Golf Brings the Course Indoors
For most golfers in northeast Ohio, the end of the golf season is traditionally marked by the arrival of winter. Golf courses are covered with a blanket of snow and the opportunities to swing the club must be put on hold until spring. Fortunately, Return To Golf participants now have the ability to tee it up all winter long thanks to the donation of an OptiShot Infrared Golf Simulator from Dancin' Dogg Golf.

During the winter months, Return To Golf is conducted indoors at the Wharton Golf Center in North Olmsted. This facility is located adjacent to the North Olmsted Golf Club and houses Return To Golf's indoor driving range and fitness center. Last month, NOGA Charities & Foundation added equipment to enhance these facilities and allow program participants the opportunity to experience additional recreational therapy during the week.

"The new Optishot has been great. Program participants are able to utilize the facility additional days during the week and stay active during the long winter months. Whether they are practicing or playing a championship course, participants receive instant feedback on each shot, increasing their enjoyment and focus."  - Trevor Hazen, Return To Golf Director

In addition to regularly scheduled program days, Return To Golf participants are invited to play golf on the OptiShot golf simulator with other participants and volunteers. To learn more about the OptiShot Infrared Golf Simulator visit www.dancindogg.com.
8th Annual 
Jerry Ludvik Return To Golf Outing
Celebrating the highly successful Return To Golf program!
A record number of more than 100 Return To Golf supporters gathered at the North Olmsted Golf Club Saturday for the 8th Annual Jerry Ludvik Return To Golf Outing to celebrate NOGA Charities & Foundation's highly successful program for disabled adults, children and veterans. The group, comprised of Return To Golf participants, family, friends, program volunteers and staff each had their own unique reasons for taking part in the day.  

For many Return To Golf participants, the annual celebration represented another step in their journey toward independence and improving their overall enjoyment of life. Family and friends relished the opportunity to share in the success of a loved-one, while Return To Golf volunteers and staff looked forward to spending quality time with participants outside of the weekly program sessions.

The day began with 96 golfers taking part in an eight-person scramble over the 9-hole executive layout at North Olmsted Golf Club. Challenge stations were added throughout the course to manage on-course congestion, including Corn Hole, a putting contest and the annual Chick-fil-A prize wheel.

The official celebration began at lunch when Debbie Ludvik presented a donation to NOGA Charities & Foundation from the Jerry Ludvik Memorial Golf Fund donors of $3,700. Jerry Ludvik was the head golf professional at Springvale Golf Course until his passing in 2005. The Jerry Ludvik Memorial Golf Fund was established by his wife, Debbie Ludvik, to carry on his legacy and passion for teaching individuals with physical disabilities. Each year at the Jerry Ludvik Return To Golf Outing, Debbie presents the Fund's annual donation to the Return To Golf program. To date, Jerry's fund has raised more than $20,000 for the Return To Golf program.

Return To Golf program participant, Mr. Twister, had the crowd falling out of their chairs with laughter as he had a little fun with program volunteers and staff using his signature balloon hats.

The final award of the day went to the annual Return To Golf Player of the Year. The award identifies one individual who has made the most of his Return To Golf experience while making a lasting impact back to the program. This year, the Player of the Year honor was awarded to Bob Norton. "I'm proud to have this, I really am. I never thought when I first started coming here that you would be able to go out there, play golf and have it mean something. It's changed my life."

Sand Ridge Golf Experience for Veterans 

On a perfect autumn day at one of Ohio's most picturesque golf facilities, more than a dozen wounded soldiers gathered for the inaugural Sand Ridge Golf Experience for Veterans; a collaboration of Fairmount Minerals, the Mayfield Sand Ridge Club and NOGA Charities & Foundation's Return To Golf program. The goal was to support our brave men and women who heroically served our country and returned home with life altering injuries.

NOGA Charities & Foundation's Return To Golf program had the pleasure of assisting with the golf experience, providing golf instruction and recreational therapy programming for the veteran participants, including those with visual impairment, post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. Return To Golf's Program Director, Trevor Hazen expressed his enthusiasm for taking part in the event. "Return To Golf is always looking for opportunities to support our local veterans and this event fit our program's mission perfectly, helping physically disabled individuals improve their overall enjoyment of life using the game of golf."  

Vietnam veteran and Return To Golf participant, Bob Norton also volunteered at Sand Ridge. "I saw this event as an opportunity to help my fellow veterans and apply what I've learned from the Return To Golf program. I felt an immediate bond with the participants and I think they appreciated working with someone on the same level."


Following the morning's golf instruction, participants were treated to golf team play on the beautiful Sand Ridge course.

Thank you to Bill Conway for envisioning the inaugural Sand Ridge Golf Experience for Veterans and the staff from Fairmount Minerals and the Mayfield Sand Ridge Club for helping make it a success! NOGA Charities & Foundation and Return To Golf look forward to helping grow this annual event!
Autumn 2013 Newsletter
Enjoy a day of golf with Return To Golf participants as we celebrate another year of accessible golf in northeast Ohio. Guests will be treated to golf at the North Olmsted Golf Club with lunch provided by Chick-fil-A of North Olmsted.

Friends and family of participants are invited to join us after the 9:00 am round and before the 1:00 pm round for lunch, awards, raffle prizes and the announcement of the 2014 Jerry Ludvik Return To Golf Player of the Year. 

Format: 9-hole team scramble

Entry Fee:$35 for guests (includes golf & lunch)
$20 for RTG participants (optional)

Schedule:8:30 and 11:30 - Registration
9:00 and 1:00 - Shotgun Start
11:45 - Lunch, Raffle & Awards

Location:North Olmsted Golf Club
5840 Canterbury Road
North Olmsted, OH 44070

Registration Form
9th Annual 
Jerry Ludvik Return To Golf Outing