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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.
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!
9th Annual Jerry Ludvik Return To Golf Outing
The 9th Annual Jerry Ludvik Return To Golf® Outing was conducted on Saturday, August 16 to celebrate the life-changing impact of NOGA Charities & Foundation's Return To Golf® program in Northeast Ohio. The record-breaking event, sponsored by Debbie Ludvik and the Jerry Ludvik Memorial Golf Fund, was the largest event ever held at the North Olmsted Golf Club with more than 150 attendees consisting of program participants, their family and friends. To date, the Jerry Ludvik Memorial Golf Fund has donated more than $24,000 to help grow the Return To Golf® program.

The highlight of the day was the announcement of the 2014 Return To Golf® program's Player of the Year. Richard Rossi of Seven Hills became the eight recipient of the prestigious award.

Special thanks to Chick-fil-A of North Olmsted (Great Northern Blvd.) and Ken Ball for their continued support of the event!

Program in North Olmsted allows physically challenged to reclaim their game
By: Beth Mlady, Special to the Sun News on August 28, 2014 at 10:19 PM  Cleveland.com

NORTH OLMSTED, Ohio – The Return To Golf motto is “Learning to play through,” and more than 80 physically challenged golf lovers did just that as they gathered Aug. 26 for a day on the links at North Olmsted Golf Club.

Northern Ohio Golf Association Charities and Foundation began the grant- and donor-funded program 12 years ago. It is designed to enable people with disabilities to return to the sport they love. Besides enjoying a round of golf on Tuesdays, participants in the free program also receive an individualized fitness/physical therapy/rehabilitation clinic session from Cleveland Clinic physical therapists at the on-site indoor facility.

The program operates 45 weeks a year through all four seasons. An OptiShot simulator allows golfers to maintain their skills, especially during the winter.

“We transform lives using golf,” said Trevor Hazen, RTG director and PGA Professional. “The goal of the program is to use golf as recreational therapy to improve people’s lives on the course, but more importantly, off the course. It could be improving physical things, like increasing strength or flexibility, but it’s also the psycho-social aspect as well. It gets our participants out of the house, and they all make friends here.”

Watching the men and women hit their balls off the tee, as well as chip and putt, was proof it’s possible to manage one’s physical limitations in order to return to the game. Amputees, stroke survivors and even those with traumatic brain injuries were able to fully access the course, sometimes assisted by orange-shirted RTG volunteers. In addition, SoloRider carts were available for use by people with severely restricted lower body strength and motion. Read More

Inaugural Return To Golf® Charity Scramble
On a perfect September morning in Northeast Ohio, 52 golfers (13 teams) came together at Chagrin Valley Country Club to support NOGA Charities & Foundation's life-changing Return To Golf® program for the Inaugural Return To Golf Charity Scramble.

The event, sponsored by Trailex LED Event Solutions, included many of the Northern Ohio Golf Association's top players including 3-time Player of the Year Brian Smith and 2013 Hall of Fame inductee Doug Hauenstein.

Thanks to birdies on nine of their last ten holes, the team from Oberlin Golf Club of Denny Flood, Bryan Warnica, Norton Brick and DJ Grincewicz secured a one stroke victory with a score of 58 (-13) and the top prize of $2,000 in gift certificates. Two teams tied for second, with the top seven teams separated by only three strokes.
Return To Golf® - Learning to Play Through Newsletter
Volume 2, Issue 3 - Winter 2014
Written by Pat Galbincea
Participant Enjoys Richer Life Thanks to Innovative Programming
Bay village resident Herb Werner recently played his first round of golf in seven years thanks to a special day for Return To Golf program participants at the North Olmsted Golf Club last August.

Werner, who is 64 -- he'll turn 65 in December -- never expected to play golf again after suffering a spinal cord injury when he fell off his garage roof while cleaning leaves from a gutter in 2007. Read more...

Hall of Famers Come Together in Support of Life-Changing Program
Northern Ohio Golf Association (NOGA) Hall of Fame member Bob Fairchild has always liked a good challenge, and he recently got another when NOGA Charities & Foundation Director Frank Rihtar asked him to head a $20,000 Matching Gift Campaign this December to help expand the life-changing Return To Golf® program. Read more...
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