Golf Therapy Pioneer, Mindy Derr, Celebrates 35 Years of Helping People Find Hope

Mindy Derr, Founder of the nationally recognized Fore Hope golf therapy program, is celebrating 35 years of using the sport to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities, injuries, and illnesses. Fore Hope, now part of OhioHealth Fore Hope, has impacted over 10,000 people by promoting mobility, mood, socialization, and overall quality of life.

Mindy Derr with Fore Hope Golfer

The recognition event is set to take place at the Columbus Hilton Polaris on June 12, 2024 from 11 AM to 1 PM, highlighting Derr’s significant contributions to the community and the field of therapeutic wellness. OhioHealth is sponsoring the event.

Derr’s story began with her father, Guy, an avid golfer who faced health challenges in his retirement. Inspired by his love for the game, she launched the grassroots program in 1989. In 2017, OhioHealth’s Neuroscience Center recognized the program’s value and absorbed it as an adjunct wellness initiative. This absorption marked a first-of-its-kind partnership between a healthcare system and a golf therapy program.

“Mindy has always been an incredible partner in developing programs that promote wellness and the benefits of golf. Her passion for patient well-being predates the term ‘wellness’ itself.”
David Rupp, Director of Rehabilitation OhioHealth Neurological Rehabilitation

Derr’s dedication has been recognized with numerous awards, including the “Healthcare Lifetime Achievement” Award and being named one of “100 Buckeyes You Should Know.” Her legacy and her father’s will live on with the newly created Guy Derr and Mindy Derr Endowment fund for Fore Hope via the OhioHealth Foundation. In her long tenure with Fore Hope, Derr has raised $6M plus gift in kind and other contributions.

Despite living with Multiple Sclerosis, Derr embodies the program’s philosophy. “Golf is a fantastic motivator,” she explains. “It encourages movement, builds endurance, improves mobility, fosters social interaction, and boosts self-esteem.” Dr. Michael Hurdzan, a renowned golf course architect, praises Derr’s unwavering commitment: “Mindy’s focus on using golf to improve physical, cognitive, emotional, and social well-being has demonstrably positive effects.”

Derr now leverages her experience as an Inspirational speaker, Consultant, and Subject Matter expert through her Wellness and Golf Platform. She educates Healthcare and Golf communities about the power of golf for wellness and inclusion. Her upcoming presentation at the Arcis Golf Women’s Network, will message the importance of including those Club members left behind due to aging, illness, or injury. Derr serves as a living testament to golf’s therapeutic benefits.

For further information, contact Mindy Derr at (614) 499-6287 or

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