Wellness & Golf: Driving the Health Message of Golf, Globally
“It takes only one shot to bring you back. Each golf shot is like a new day…a new opportunity to become better physically, emotionally and socially…this mindset is the power of golf.”
This is the mantra of Mindy Derr, the founder of the nationally recognised therapeutic golf program, Fore Hope. Since 2017, Fore Hope has been a part of the OhioHealth Neuroscience Center, along with Delay the Disease for those with Parkinson’s within OhioHealth Healthcare System, central Ohio. This is the first global example of a grassroots golf program being absorbed and included within a mainstream public health organisation, and the hope is that this will set further examples for others to follow.
Mindy began Fore Hope for her father, Guy, who was an avid and proficient golfer but upon his retirement developed a disability. This created the realisation that golf is a beneficial activity that can be used to encourage wellness, backed up by data. Statistics show that disability increases with age, but also that golf is a validated recreational tool for improving quality of life. The program is now in its thirtieth year, celebrating the landmark back in 2019.
Over this period, thousands have been served through the Fore Hope Therapeutic Golf Program, experiencing the greatness of golf through assisted living and care centres, golf range sessions, adaptive league and tournament settings. These have come from all backgrounds and disabilities / health issues including those with amputations, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s and strokes (not limited to). The need to continue their therapy through golf is very real.
So Why Golf?
“Golf makes a difference in people’s lives and offers hope! Those of us who love this game, must do our best to bring the joys of golf to others”, commented Mindy.
“Becoming an “adjusted” golfer is a means to gain motor skills, function, decrease isolation and evoke a greater sense of belonging and meaning. Regardless of the stage or severity of illness – golf is an enjoyment venue which is life altering.”
Fore Hope has proven that golf can play a key role in prescriptive treatment from a physical, social and mental angle but how does this become normal practice? Mindy believes a greater golf community through collaboration and education on why golf is an excellent treatment modality is necessary. If done correctly, the positive impact of golf will be seen and felt not only by the overall community, but also those with life barriers, their care partners and extended family.