It is said the most important shot in the game of golf is the next one. The Turn believes the same applies for someone whose life has been impacted by a physical disability. Whether recovering from a stroke, amputation, or traumatic brain injury, what a person does next following their clinical rehabilitation can make all the difference in their quality of life.
For more than 20 years, The Turn has been on the forefront of serving adults, children and veterans with physical disabilities through its non-clinical adaptive golf and fitness programs led by long-standing program director Trevor Hazen PGA, helping individuals “make the turn” into the next chapter of their lives, both physically and emotionally.
Today, The Turn is a growing community serving more than 200 members annually in Northeast Ohio, inspiring hope and enhancing their health and well-being at its fully accessible, year-round campus of the Wharton Center at North Olmsted Golf Club, featuring a nine-hole inclusive golf course, indoor golf learning center, and on-site fitness center.
Through a long-standing partnership with the Cleveland Veterans Administration Medical Center, the lives of local veterans like Colin Smith have been positively impacted through The Turn.
“A sniper hit him,” said Colin’s mother Melissa. “It was an armor piercing bullet right through his helmet. The injury affected him much like a stroke, limiting the use of the right side of his body.”
After some encouragement, Colin was first introduced to The Turn during a visit to the Wharton Center campus with the Cleveland VA Medical Center’s Polytrauma Rehabilitation Program. Over the next year and several visits to The Turn, Colin’s functional strength, speech and, most importantly, self-esteem began to noticeably improve.
“He’s discovered something he didn’t know he liked,” says Melissa. “The more he gets out and socializes with other members, the better his speech gets. I can just let him go out on the golf course with the guys and gals and do his thing and I know he’s safe and having fun.”
Today, Colin is one of the most active members of The Turn, regularly attending multiple golf and fitness programs every week, including extracurricular opportunities like adaptive yoga and art therapy. His story of success is just one of the countless examples of how The Turn continues to positively impact the lives of people with physical disabilities each year.
In 2022, Colin was awarded the annual Player of the Year Award at The Turn, recognizing members who exemplify the mission and go above and beyond their weekly participation. Following the award, the Smith Family established the Colin Smith Endowment Fund, which has raised more than $60,000 to benefit veterans with physical disabilities at The Turn.
Enhancing Health and Well-Being
With complete accessibility and inclusion the goal at The Turn, its campus of the Wharton Center at North Olmsted Golf Club has become one of the leaders in providing barrier free access to the game of golf for people with physical disabilities.
In 2016, The Turn partnered with the Stand Up and Play Foundation to acquire its first Ottobock ParaGolfer to compliment an existing fleet of SoloRider golf carts. These specialized vehicles have proven to be game changing for members, promoting independence and allowing for full participation in all programs and activities at The Turn. Today, The Turn offers a growing fleet of four ParaGolfers and five SoloRider carts, which is one of the largest fleets of adaptive vehicles in the Midwest.
In 2021, American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA) past president Jan Bel-Jan partnered with The Turn to develop an adaptive golf master plan focused around improving accessibility for golfers with disabilities at its North Olmsted Golf Club. The plan includes adding new teeing grounds to welcome golfers of every ability and disability category, a new “short course” to provide an “on-course experience” for golfers who may only be able to play one or two holes, and the softening of contours and slopes around existing tees and greens for safety. The golf course construction is expected to begin in the coming months.
The Turn is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. To learn more, visit jointheturn.org.
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