PGA HOPE Introduces Golf to Veterans and Active Duty Military

By Ryan Gager

The GOLFTEC Team, including Coaches Nate Fisher (second from left) and Chris Runyan (second from right) participating in the PGA HOPE National Golf & Wellness Week at Congressional Country Club on October 17, 2022 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/PGA of America)

October and November are special months in the golf industry, as it’s a time when we can focus our attention on giving back to those who served our country.

PGA REACH recently kicked off its sixth year of the PGA National Day of HOPE Campaign benefiting PGA HOPE (Helping our Patriots Everywhere). GOLFTEC is proud to once again partner with these incredible organizations for the month-long campaign, which runs from Oct. 11 through Veteran’s Day (Nov. 11), by donating $1 from every lesson given during this timeframe to PGA HOPE. GOLFTEC raised $100,000 last year for this great cause and aims to exceed that in 2022. To find out how more about donating, please visit our Drive for HOPE page.

The PGA National Day of HOPE campaign launches in conjunction with the 2022 PGA HOPE National Golf & Wellness Week, which is held from Oct. 13-18. Through a longstanding partnership between PGA REACH and Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland, 20 Veterans, all graduates of local PGA HOPE programs, will participate in an immersive, four-day event that includes advanced golf instruction and wellness training.

“We are proud to once again sponsor the PGA National Day of HOPE campaign. Through DRIVE FOR HOPE we are able to give back to Veterans and military personnel, and help make a positive impact on the lives of these community heroes with every lesson we give.”


GOLFTEC was once again represented by a couple of our Coaches who are Veterans – Chris Runyan, GOLFTEC Spokane (Washington) and Nate Fisher, GOLFTEC Grand Rapids (Michigan). Both have now participated in this event multiple times and can’t speak highly enough about it.

GOLFTEC Coach and Veteran Chris Runyan, GOLFTEC CEO Joe Assell, GOLFTEC Coach and Veteran Nate Fisher, and PGA HOPE participant, Joseph Robinson, at the first annual PGA HOPE National Golf & Wellness Week in 2019.

Chris Runyan – US Marine Corps – GOLFTEC Spokane

Runyan is a Spokane, WA native, and after serving in the US Marine Corps, returned to Spokane to pursue a career in golf. Combining his experience in the USMC and passion for golf, Runyan quickly found several opportunities to help his fellow Veterans.

In 2011, Runyan created the organization, Northwest Golfers for Warriors which serves to support wounded warriors, local Veterans and their families by providing an enjoyable means for the golfing public of the Northwest to directly participate in annual tournaments to raise funds in support of these most deserving men and women.

A few years later Runyan established VETS on the Green (VotG), which introduces Veterans from any arm of service to their local golf course.

Because of Runyan’s charitable efforts, he’s been awarded the Pacific Northwest Section PGA Patriot Award five times. Then in 2020, Runyan was announced as the winner of the PGA National Patriot Award.

For more on Chris Runyan and his charitable work with Veterans, visit the full article here.

Chris Runyan (left) with GOLFTEC CEO Joe Assell after Runyan received the PGA National Patriot Award in 2020.

Nate Fisher – US Army – GOLFTEC Grand Rapids

Nate served with the US Army in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Following his service with the US Army, Nathan enrolled in the PGA Golf Management program at Ferris State University, becoming the first Veteran to graduate from the program at Ferris State.

Nathan started out with GOLFTEC Plano before suffering a major setback, being diagnosed with a grade 3 astrocytoma, a rare, malignant brain tumor. Following successful surgery and chemo, Nathan moved back to Michigan, where he’s originally from, and worked at American Dunes Golf Club during their grand opening in 2021. He was part of the staff that helped raise $2 million that was donated to Folds of Honor for scholarships.

Nate is a PGA Hope Certified Instructor and also serves as the Assistant State Director for the Veteran Golfers Association of Michigan.

“Prior to joining the military, many Veterans were active and involved in sports, and golf definitely helps fill those voids. To see the enjoyment and comradery between Veterans on the course is something that’s very special.”

Nate Fisher, GOLFTEC Grand Rapids Coach
American Dunes Golf Club opened in 2021 with course designer Jack Nicklaus and wife Barbara (center). Nate pictured to the right of Barbara.

GOLFTEC is proud of our Coaches who are Veterans and proud to support the PGA National Day of HOPE every year. In addition to the DRIVE FOR HOPE campaign, GOLFTEC is always proud to support all military personnel by offering a 10 percent discount on GOLFTEC lessons through the GOLFTEC Military Program.

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