OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) - About 30 veterans came to the Metropolitan Golf Course in Oakland Monday for a form of therapy to help many of them overcome psychological problems and re-adjust to civilian life.
It's called golf lessons.
"I find it pretty easy to isolate myself," said Tim Young, who spent 26 years in the air force as a para-rescue, jumping out of planes and helicopters to bring back stranded or wounded airmen.
But after so many dangerous missions, Young says he suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
He took the recommendation from doctors at the Oakland Veterans Center that he participate in this six-week golf program especially for vets.
It is called helping our patriots everywhere or hope. It's sponsored by the PGA.
"To come on out, it's a big step for guys and gals like us to find we have other comrades in arms going through the same thing," said Young.
Pro golfers donate their time giving lessons. In driving, pitching, and putting. But doctors say more is going on than teeing off.
"It's not really about the golf. Come in, come together, meet other vets and have a good time," said Dr. David Joseph of the Oakland Vet Center.
Joseph says golf is a way for many vets to clear their heads for a while.
"A huge part of trauma which is the basis of PTSD is that you lose connection. Trauma keeps you separate from other people. And here's a safe place where veterans can rebuild that," said Joseph.
"You get this fresh air and your mood goes up. You get home and it lasts for days, the endorphins," said Simone Adair.
Adair too has PTSD after spending five years in the coast guard.
She helped perform water rescues often in hurricanes and bringing Haitian refugees to safety.
"With 20 vets committing suicide every day this is a great way for us to get out here, elevate our mood and get healthy at the same time," said Adair.
Besides the therapeutic, the program has another fringe benefit.
"So how's your golf game coming," Adair was asked.
"100 times better," she said. "When I first started I could barely hit the ball. Now I can hit it once every three times. I consider that a win."