"When I first became disabled, all I could think about was what I couldn’t do. Hines [VA Medical Center] and golf have taught me to focus on my abilities, not my disabilities."
- Judy Ruiz,
Marine Corps veteran
Veterans with visual impairments and other qualifying, life-changing disabilities are given an opportunity to develop new skills and challenge their perceived limitations. This is achieved through adaptive golf and a variety of other activities. The event uses a therapeutic format to promote rehabilitation, fellowship and camaraderie among the Veterans attending.
In 1994, the National Disabled Veterans TEE Tournament sprang to life as the brainchild of several employees of the Iowa City VA Medical Center, along with two Veterans from Iowa with visual impairments. These visionaries created the TEE Tournament, an acronym standing for Training, Exposure, Experience.
In 2008, it became one of VA’s six national rehabilitation programs for Veterans. The event expanded to include not only blind Veterans, but amputees, wheelchair-bound Veterans, and those with other life changing disabilities.
The event continues to strive to provide adaptive golf instruction for the Veterans who participate to make the game more accessible. The ultimate goal is to engage and invigorate Veterans to prove to themselves that regardless of their situation, the game of golf can be a rehabilitative and therapeutic.
In 2021, the program underwent a rebranding effort and changed the name and logo to signal a focus on clinical care at the program. The mission is still the same, make the game of golf accessible to our Veterans with disabilities to include in their rehabilitation journey.