For PGA of America Member Jason Harris, his involvement in PGA HOPE has special meaning.


Harris’ late father, George, was a Vietnam Veteran. The elder Harris also introduced his son to the game of golf. As a way to honor of his father, Jason Harris, the Head Professional at Tioga Golf Club, decided to launch a PGA HOPE program at his facility in 2023.


“My dad was the one who got me into golf,” Harris said. “That’s why I do PGA HOPE.”



Harris first got involved in PGA HOPE while working in Alabama as the Director of Golf Operations at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Highland Oaks. He became a Certified Instructor in 2016. Harris also joined the PGA of America Quarter Century Club in April.


“I was a part of a PGA HOPE program in Alabama,” Harris said. “When we did it there, by the time I left, we were up to 169 straight days doing the program. We did it every Monday morning. We also did a couple of official clinics. But our main goal was trying to get everybody together.”


When Harris instituted his own PGA HOPE program at Tioga, he started off small with three to five Veterans at each clinic. He organized a few clinics throughout the season based on his students schedules.


“We tried to schedule things when they could get there,” Harris said. “We had a couple of women show up too which was great. I have several signed up for this spring too.”


This season, clinic enrollment is near capacity. Harris keeps his class sizes to 10 per session. The first class started April 23.



Harris said his program begins with instruction on basic chipping and putting then he works up to a full swing. His students vary from new golfers who have never played to individuals who play often. When participants are ready, they put their newly acquired golf skills to use on the Tioga course.


Giving Veterans a physical and emotional outlet with golf is what Harris strives for with PGA HOPE. He sees that his Tioga program is already making an impact.


“I had one guy…he was skeptical at first. I didn’t think he’d like it,” Harris said. “But after coming a few times he said to me ‘All I thought about was playing golf today.’ That’s what it’s all about. To get them to get out of their head for a little bit. Get them mingling with other guys or gals who have had the same experiences. More than anything, it’s the camaraderie of it.”