Unique practice area funded by U.S. Golf Association Foundation and Kernan Auxiliary
Kernan Hospital is building a practice green, complete with a sand trap, which will serve as a centerpiece of its adaptive golf program for people disabled by a stroke, traumatic injury or illness. The 1,200-square-foot green, built with a $17,290 grant from the United States Golf Association Foundation and matching funds from Kernan's Auxiliary, will be dedicated at 10 a.m. September 16 at the hospital in Woodlawn.
"The new green will be used for rehabilitation, to teach patients modified golf skills that will allow them to resume their interest in the game," says Pam Cauley, a recreational therapist at Kernan Hospital who oversees the golf program. "By working on various shots, we can also help them improve their motor skills, balance and coordination. We focus on their abilities, not their disability."
The one-hole practice green will have paved pathways leading up to it, making it accessible to people who use wheelchairs, Ms. Cauley says. "It's unique to have such a practice green at a hospital." She adds that members of the community with disabilities will also be able to use the green during free golf clinics offered by the hospital. Previously, the clinics have been held on Kernan's front lawn.
James E. Ross, Kernan's chief executive officer, calls the project "a natural outgrowth of Kernan's rehabilitative objectives to consider the total person during the healing process. The practice green enables us to significantly enhance our adaptive golf program."
Kernan's golf program serves people of all ages and skill levels, from beginners to avid golfers. The participants have disabilities resulting from strokes, amputations, brain and spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy.
The program was started 13 years ago at the former Montebello Rehabilitation Hospital in Baltimore, which later merged with Kernan. Recreational therapists at Montebello Hospital built and designed a small putting green with the help of the Baltimore Municipal Golf Corporation (BMGC) and student volunteers.
Every year, Kernan conducts free golf clinics with BMGC, the National Amputee Golf Association and Eastern Amputee Golf Association. In 2001, the hospital held its first golf tournament, which raised funds to buy two golf carts for disabled golfers one of which was donated to Forest Park Municipal Golf Course, which sponsors a golf league for the disabled. Kernan's third annual golf tournament will be held on September 16 at the Woodlands Golf Course, and the proceeds will be used to develop a multi-purpose court for wheelchair sports.
Kernan Hospital is Maryland's largest hospital specializing in orthopaedics and rehabilitation. The William Donald Schaefer Rehabilitation Center at Kernan provides physical, occupational and recreational therapy, speech and language therapy as well as psychological and behavioral services.
For patient inquiries, call 1-800-492-5538 or click here to make an appointment.