‘A Larger Sense Of Community’

Mini- Golf Tournament Welcomes Retirement Home Residents
By PETE DELEA
Daily News-Record  5/17/19
 
HARRISONBURG — Merv Wunderlich watched as his bright orange golf ball weaved around boulders, avoided sand traps and came within inches of falling into the hole.
While he was itching for a hole-in-one, the 67-year-old Bridgewater Retirement Community resident was more focused on meeting new friends during the 18 holes at Mulligan’s Golf Center’s miniature golf course.
Wunderlich was among 20 people from area retirement communities to participate in the inaugural Tri-Community miniature golf tournament Thursday morning. Those from Bridgewater were joined by residents of Sunnyside Retirement Community in Massanetta Springs and Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community in Harrisonburg.
He said he was having a blast.
“We get to see folks from the other retirement communities, and we get to stay active,” said Wunderlich, who moved from Pennsylvania to the community in February 2017.
The golf center’s owners, Nancy White and Wendy Kern, created the event to get residents to interact with each other.
Jackie Gerrard, 69, moved to Sunnyside three years ago from Charlotte, N.C.
While she has family in the area and has made friends at her own community,
she said she enjoys making new friends — and mini golf was a perfect atmosphere to do it.
“Anytime you’re exercising and laughing at the same time, it’s a good thing,” she said.
Sally Barile, 75, moved from Northern Virginia to VMRC in August.
She said she hasn’t played miniature golf in almost 40 years, but hasn’t lost her touch.
“I love it,” she said. “I always thought it would be neat to design a course.”
Lolly Miller, VMRC’s arts and education program manager, said it was exciting seeing the residents mingle.
“We love the aspect of creating a larger sense of community,” she said. “We want people to enjoy friendships.”
By the end of the event, many of the residents were making plans for other activities together, including bowling at Valley Lanes.
Julie Crawford, the golf center’s events coordinator, said the event’s goal to get people laughing and having fun was accomplished.
“I feel satisfied,” said Crawford. “That’s what we wanted to see.”