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San Diego’s popular SoCal Rehab Golf Classic golf tournament is being held September 14 at the Riverwalk Golf Club. It will start with a putting contest at 12 PM, and shotgun start at 2 PM. Sponsored by Alvarado Hospital’s San Diego Rehabilitation Institute, this one-of-a-kind event pairs golfers with physical challenges and able-bodied players to increase awareness about golf as a therapeutic tool—especially for those who have survived a stroke, traumatic brain injury, amputation, or seniors with physical challenges due to aging. 

 ”The SoCal Rehab Golf Classic is a unique tournament to the San Diego Area,” said Mary Williams, event coordinator and recreational therapist at Alvarado Hospital. “It’s a great way to continue the healing process of those who have suffered health challenges, and it’s a healthy, constructive way to remain socialized.” 

This tournament is a nine-hole, four-player scramble, with an awards and dinner banquet following play. The tournament was created 21 years ago by PGA Professional John Klein and Recreation Therapist Mary Williams from Alvarado Hospital/SDRI. Klein has a background in therapeutic recreation from SDSU, special education and adapted physical education. He has been teaching children and adults with disabilities (physical and cognitive) to play golf for over 45 years.   

Klein works with many of the rehab programs in San Diego, including SDRI, and receives referrals from community agencies. Many of the patients who are treated at Alvarado Hospital/SDRI participate in the SoCal Rehab Golf Club, and the Back Nine Senior Golf Program, two programs that are a part of SDRI’s Programs for Active Living and Support (PALS). PALS are a series of post-treatment programs designed to continue the healing process of SDRI patients through physical and cognitive exercise. In addition to the golf programs, PALS has programs such as Art for All, the Stroke Peer Visitor Program, Senior Fitness Classes, the Alvarado Balance Club, the Book Club, the Support Group, and the Comebackers Neuro Club. These programs are also very social by design to give participants a way to remain a part of a community. This addresses the isolation that many physically challenged individuals often fall victim to, and in this way, PALS attempts to address some of the physical, cognitive, and spiritual needs of their clients.

Participants and tournament organizers are available for interviews prior to and during the tournament.