This month’s Giving Your Best winner has developed an adaptive golf program for people with special needs, neurological or spinal cord injuries, and wounded veterans.
Nick Prokosa and his volunteers work individually with participants to help them learn how to hit a golf ball, develop a swing, and at the same time build their own upper body strength.
Folks around the world spent the first week in April looking at golfers… and one lush golf course… that one on Washington Road that tops countless bucket lists! But 8 miles away, off Wrightsboro Road, is a golf teaching facility that’s been a kind of dream-come-true for people who may have written off the game of golf. People like Julie Shade, who uses a wheelchair because of cerebral palsey.
“I’ve always been moved by how much people want to help people with disabilities.”
Julie nominated Nick for the Giving Your Best award because he offers a free adaptive golf workshop at his driving range, Wedges and Woods.
“Giving me the ability to stand up, stretch my legs, even use my upper body, I was so grateful for that. It was unbelievable!”
Most golf courses are not equipped for wheelchairs and don’t have special equipment. Nick has used his own money and partnered with foundations to buy paramobiles… all-terrain motorized wheelchairs that enable wheelchair users to play golf from a standing position.
Jen Prokosa is Nick’s wife. They are committed to adaptive golf because they see how it impacts people.
“We have seen so many families be brought together where one has not seen their loved one standing up, eye to eye, in years. It’s more that just a sport, it’s more than just a clinic, it’s physical, emotional, mental – it raises self-esteem and he loves to do it because he loves to see people grow from it, move on from it and make a better life because of it.”
Nick was inspired by a man named Joe, who suffered a brain injury.
“Went from the first day of him hating me and not wanting to be here to him finding an interest in spending every single day out here hitting golf balls. You know, we had to create probably about 20 different golf swings over a two year period. And whether it is golf, whether it is any other thing that we can do activity-wise, giving somebody an interest in doing something can improve their life.”
Julie sees it first hand.
“Seeing how much Nick does and encouraging people to work hard and get back to where they were and improve even more, it’s just amazing!”
Jen says what happens here is about much more than golf.
“People building their self esteem, knowing that they are capable. They start to socialize, they start realizing that they’re not alone. It’s a family, it’s a family, and that’s what we have here!”
Wedges and Woods, along with Marty Turcios Therapeutic Golf Foundation, offers free two-hour adaptive golf clinics. Click here for more information or call (706) 854-0360.