Golfing veterans take on Whistling Straits

SHEBOYGAN COUNTY, Wis (WBAY) The Veteran Golfers Association is growing, and changing lives.

Monday, veterans from 15 states, including Wisconsin, converged on Whistling Straits near Sheboygan.

Through the game of golf, Chuck May found hope.

"I suffer from severe PTSD and I had a real hard time of locking myself up in the house, I picked up clubs maybe four years ago, had to try something different and then I actually stumbled upon the VGA on Facebook and contacted a buddy and said, hey this sounds real interesting," says May, who is from Kansas.

Started by a group of combat wounded veterans in North Carolina in 2014, the VGA has grown to 5,000 members.

"We're in over 44 states, over 300-plus golf tournaments put on annually, and have the opportunity to play at phenomenal venues such as Whistling Straits and Blackwolf Run. It's just a tremendous thing that we're able to do," says John Teller, VGA Central Region Director.

Golfers compete in flights based on skill level and earn points throughout the spring and summer.

The top golfers advance to regional competitions and take aim for nationals.

That's where Brian Thompson from Green Bay discovered what the VGA is all about.

"A guy in my flight that I was playing with that was ahead of me, and I was having a rough second day, and he pulled the cart out in front of me and he grabbed me by the shirt and he told me to calm down, I got this and I can do it. That's a guy that I'm playing against to try to win the national championship. That's just what we get out here," says Thompson.

Competition, for sure, but more importantly, camaraderie.

"Doesn't matter what branch we're in, it's a lifetime bond," says Thompson.