PGA Championship

Military Veterans from Across the US Kick Off 2024 PGA Championship Week at 9th Secretary’s Cup

May 13, 2024




For photos from the 9th Secretary’s Cup, click here.

For team photos, click here.

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky (May 13, 2024) - The 9th PGA HOPE Secretary’s Cup at University of Louisville Golf Club brought together 48 military Veterans from across the country with a true passion for the game of golf.

With an entrance fit for heroes, 48 PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere) graduates received a motorcade escort from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office on their way to the venue, not too far down the road from Valhalla Golf Club, site of the 2024 PGA Championship. The entrance was followed by Opening Ceremonies that featured a helicopter flyover from the Louisville Metro Police Department Air Patrol Unit.

PGA HOPE, the flagship military program of the PGA of America REACH Foundation, is a rehabilitative golf program that introduces golf to Veterans to enhance their physical, mental, social and emotional well-being. PGA HOPE offers golf through a developmental, six- to eight-week curriculum taught by PGA of America Golf Professionals trained in adaptive golf and military cultural competency. All programs are funded by PGA REACH and supplemented by PGA of America Section foundations, with no cost for military Veterans to participate.

On Monday, 12 teams consisting of one PGA of America Golf Professional and four military Veterans who have graduated from the PGA HOPE program, competed in a spirited 9-hole match, as part of 2024 PGA Championship activities for PGA REACH, the 501(c)(3) charitable foundation of the PGA of America.

“You had the courage to serve our country, you also had the courage to get off the couch and go to PGA HOPE training and be out here today,” said PGA of America President John Lindert, PGA Director of Golf at the Country Club of Lansing (Michigan) in the opening ceremonies. “You’re representing your respective PGA of America Sections today, but you also represent the country. I want to thank all of you for your service, without you we wouldn’t be standing here today. If you look around at each other, we have over 570 years of combined service. I’ve told many of you, but my dad served in the South Pacific in the Navy during World War II, so this is really impactful for me.”

PGA HOPE is currently being offered at more than 535 program locations in the U.S. today, across all 50 States. This year, the program is on pace to positively impact more than 17,000 Veterans and Active Duty Military.

“I want to thank everybody here today, you represented the Veteran community in an outstanding way and you represented the HOPE Program beyond belief,” said Chris Nowak, U.S. Marine Corps retiree and PGA of America Military and Veteran Liaison. “It’s always great when you see Veterans together, how we interact and conduct ourselves. It makes me very proud to be a part of the program.”

Led by PGA of America Golf Professional Jeff Harris, PGA HOPE Carolinas Captured the 2024 PGA HOPE Secretary’s Cup at 7-under 29. Harris, a PGA HOPE instructor for the PGA HOPE Program in the Carolinas Section for six years, led the winning team of U.S. Veterans Joseph Reese (Marines), Kevin Strickroth (Marines), Earl White (Marines) and Thomas Sams (Air Force).

“This is an amazing thrill to win this event,” said Harris, the PGA Head Golf Professional at The Legends at Parris Island in Beaufort, South Carolina. “It’s an honor to participate in the Secretary’s Cup. The camaraderie developed between the guys is amazing to see. PGA HOPE brings them together and it’s a great enrichment to their lives.”

PGA HOPE Georgia captured the Journey Award, recognizing the importance of the overall journey for all who take part in the program. Rachel Clopton, a PGA of America Golf Professional at Bobby Jones Golf Course in Atlanta, Georgia, who serves as an instructor for the PGA HOPE Program in the Georgia, participated alongside Veterans Ryan Carr (Navy), Robert Emmet Leahey (Navy), Chase Bullen (Army) and Patrick Forrestal (Marines).

Along with the Journey Award, Golfpac Travel donated a dream Orlando golf vacation to the PGA HOPE Georgia Team. The team will enjoy a 3-night stay in a luxury townhome at Magic Village Resort in Orlando. They will be playing three rounds of golf at top courses around Orlando including Walt Disney World Golf, Hawk’s Landing Golf Club and Shingle Creek Golf Club.

As part of the overall experience, all teams arrived in Louisville, Kentucky on Friday, May 10. The Veterans and PGA of America Golf Professionals attended a welcome reception sponsored by DIRECTV on Saturday at Churchill Downs – site of the Kentucky Derby, where they watched horse racing and took photos with the famed Wanamaker Trophy, handed to the winner of the PGA Championship.

In addition to the welcome reception, DIRECTV was also the presenting sponsor of the Taste of Louisville Tailgate at the University of Louisville Golf Club immediately following practice rounds for Secretary’s Cup participants on Saturday.

DIRECTV and PGA HOPE announced a partnership on May 6. DIRECTV will provide year-round support for PGA HOPE.

Teams participated in practice rounds on Sunday and played in the Secretary’s Cup on Monday. The Veterans will also attend a PGA Championship practice round at Valhalla.

PGA Sections in the 2024 PGA HOPE Secretary’s Cup:

  • PGA HOPE Kentucky (2 teams)
  • PGA HOPE Northern California
  • PGA HOPE Philadelphia
  • PGA HOPE Carolinas
  • PGA HOPE Western New York
  • PGA HOPE Northern Texas
  • PGA HOPE Georgia
  • PGA HOPE Michigan
  • PGA HOPE Nebraska
  • PGA HOPE Southern California
  • PGA HOPE Utah

About PGA of America REACH Foundation

The PGA of America REACH Foundation is the 501(c)(3) charitable foundation of the PGA of America. The mission of the Foundation is to positively impact the lives of youth, military and diverse populations by enabling access to PGA of America Golf Professionals, PGA Sections and the game of golf. For more information on the PGA of America REACH Foundation, visit, follow @PGAREACH on Instagram, X, formerly known as Twitter and find us on Facebook.

About the PGA of America

The PGA of America is one of the world’s largest sports organizations, composed of more than 30,000 PGA of America Golf Professionals who love the game, are expert coaches, operators and business leaders, and work daily to drive interest, inclusion and participation in the sport. The PGA of America owns and operates numerous championships and events, including major championships for men, women, seniors and the Ryder Cup, one of the world’s foremost sporting events. For more information, visit and follow us on X, formerly known as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Media Contacts:

Jesse Dodson, PGA of America,

Jared Minski, Mastro Communications,