NWPF

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Golf & Parkinson's

Monday August 13, 2018

John Kelley is a golf instructor based out of Arlington, Washington. He and athletic trainer Laney Ullom form the welcoming, innovative John Kelley Golf.

John Kelley

 

Laney Ullom

John and Laney met my dad, Brian Camp, at the annual golf tournament put on by Camp Brian. The causeraise awareness and funds for families affected by Parkinson’scaught their attention and, soon enough, their hearts. It helps that John, Laney, and my dad share a love for storytelling as well as golf.

I spoke with all three of them at John Kelley Golf, which is an accessible and incredibly equipped outbuilding. We toured their space and history while my dad practiced his swing in the background.

 

 

BJC: Bette Jane Camp

JK: John Kelley

LU: Laney Ullom

 

BJC: How did John Kelley Golf begin?

JK: We are a directive from my wife [laughs]. She and I moved to the Pacific Northwest to be grandparents. My wife has been there for every breath that our grandkids have ever taken.

We had lived in Vegas for 24 years. I was a golf professional there and a member of the PGA. When we moved, I decided to play more golf [for myself]. But every time I came home from the course, I would complain to my wife: “The weather’s just so wet!”

And finally she said, “Look. You’re either gonna build the building and shut up. Or, you’re not gonna build the building, and shut up.”

And I said, “Okay, fine” [laughs].

When I went back to play golf, I learned about the Titleist Performance Institute, a training piece of the Titleist organization. I needed to get in better condition to compete. So I found a consultant, Ben Boyle IRG Sports, where I met and began working with Laney.

 

 

How would you describe your business, as it stands and where it’s going?

JK: We are a golf-instructional, strength and agility training facility; we focus on player development.

About two years ago, through Ben Boyle IRG, I participated in a fundraiser for Parkinson’s: the Camp Brian Golf Tournament. I met your dad, and I [made a major] connection.

My grandfather, my mom’s dad, had Parkinson’s. He was a tremendous man. He was an entrepreneur in the ‘30s and ‘40s; he traveled the world, made bamboo furniture, hiked every inch of the Hawaiian islands. And then, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s.

I was just a young kid, but I watched it really [impact] his life.

Through conversations with Brian, I recognized a great, possible outlet [for people with Parkinson’s]. I asked him if he’d like to work on his golf game, his swing, have some more fun with it. Of course he said, “Right on!” [laughs].

And we learned that we can help people with Parkinson’s stay or get more active through their golf game.

I’m a member of the Pacific Northwest PGA; they offer grants every year with Yamaha golf carts. Lainey, Brian, and I talked about it and decided to apply for one.

I remember getting the email [of an award] from the PGA. I came in to work and told Laney: “We’ve got some good news and bad news.”

Laney said, “What is it?”

I told her, “We got the grant.”

“What’s the bad news!”

“Now we’ve gotta do it,” [laughs].

That’s led us to the educational part of working with people with Parkinson’s. We got in touch with Lacey [Ramon], who leads Rock Steady Boxing in Snohomish and Everett [WA].

 

 

LU: Lacey told us that there is so much to learn about Parkinson’s. Understanding the physiology, how to measure where people are individuallyand she told us about PWR! Moves.

This organization in Arizona hosts workshops and seminars on Parkinson’s for occupational and physical therapists, personal trainers and group fitness instructors. They also explain how to build a fitness plan, a clinic. Rock Steady Boxing has incorporated daily exercises into something fun, and we’re doing that with golf.

We hope to improve the quality of life and daily activities for people with Parkinson’s and, if they haven’t been able to, help them play golf again! [Through PWR! Moves, John Kelley Golf] can provide an evidence-based, innovative, and fun way for people with Parkinson’s to play and practice.

My passion is in helping people, and learning with them. And, I love golf [laughs]. The people I meet through the sport are so great. Your dad is the first person with Parkinson’s that I’ve met; I think he sunk a putt for us on the tenth hole [at the Camp Brian Golf Tournament].

 

 

What’s your approach to helping the golf game of people with Parkinson’s?

JK: We want to meet a need for and create a community, to offer a resource that just isn’t there.

It will be inexpensive, and individualized; we want to give back. I grew up with: “I’ll give you a dime for your nickel.”

I was taught to give away what I can’t keep, so that I can receive what I can’t lose. And I’ve seen that throughout this process [of creating golf lessons] for people with Parkinson’s.

-

To learn more about John Kelley Golf, check out their website or contact John:

425.610.6412

JKCustomGolf@Aol.com

 

Bette Jane Camp
NWPF Blogger

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