October 31, 2003
Some folks don’t let the little things, like their age, impede their sense of adventure and desire to learn.
The participants in the Elderhostel Program at the Owens Campus of the Delaware Technical and Community College are definitely in this category.
The College’s website describes Elderhostel as “an international, educational adventure program for older adults.” Linda Forte is the program manager for the Owens Campus’ Adult Plus-Lifelong Learning Program, which teamed up with Elderhostel several years ago.
The programs take many forms, and bring visitors to the area from all over the world. Forte also stressed that local residents can also enroll in Elderhostel programs on a “commuter” basis.
The Totally Golf program is among the College’s most popular Elderhostel offerings, held six times each year—three in the spring, and three in the fall.
The participants have a busy week. For example, the session that ran from October 19-24 started that Sunday afternoon with check-in at the Brighton Suites. After happy hour and a group dinner, Certified PGA golf instructor Butch Holtzclaw of The Rookery gave his first seminar.
The next morning’s activities began with a two-hour teaching session, with Holtzclaw and fellow PGA members Mike Connor and Jim Powers splitting up the group into manageable segments. After lunch, the group was then shuttled by staffer Gail Lutz and volunteer Debbie Murray to the Shamrock Par 3 near Milton. After their round, the group visited the college’s museum collection at Georgetown, and then returned to Rehoboth.
Tuesday’s program was much the same, but this time the golfers tried their luck at the Salt Pond course near Ocean View. That evening, Holtzclaw gave a second seminar, using his laptop computer to show the group videos of their swings compared to the professionals.
On Wednesday the group took their lessons from the pros at The Rookery, and headed to Marsh Island to play the front nine. Unfortunately, a sharp sudden downpour cut short their round.
Thursday wrapped up the group’s busy schedule. After the morning’s instruction at the Rookery, Lutz and Murray drove the DelTech bus back to Marsh Island for the final round on the back nine, where I caught up to them.
Uniformly, the golfers told me they had a wonderful time.
For example, Helen Eddy of Elkridge, Maryland said, “This is my first time with Elderhostel and my first time golfing, ever. I had a great time. Everyone is so friendly and helpful.”
This was Roberta Bamrick’s third Elderhostel, but the first time she’d been to the Cape Region. The Howell, New Jersey resident said her group was “wonderful.”
Dot McAvay of Red Bank, New Jersey was impressed with the area’s hospitality, and singled out Lutz and Murray for their helpfulness: “Those two gals were great.”
May Vaghi, of Bethel, Connecticut said, “It’s nice to see the different level of golf courses here. I’m really enjoying this.”
Gloria Bernstein of Hicksville, New York is a veteran of several Elderhostel sessions, and was impressed by this one. “It’s just been terrific. The pros were excellent, and the courses were very nice. I’ve really enjoyed myself.”
Bethel, Connecticut resident Julie Gallagher praised the work of Holtzclaw and the other golf pros. “I thought the level of instruction was really great. I’ve only been playing a year, and they were a big help.”
Alfred Stone traveled with his wife Mary from Edinboro, Pennsylvania for this session. He said, “It’s been a fantastic week. Everything was very well run. The golf courses were unique, and were especially good for the beginners in the group. We’re quite pleased.”
After dinner that evening, the group had a final wrap-up seminar with Holtzclaw, with check-out scheduled for the next morning.
Forte herself clearly enjoys the results of her hard work. “Elderhostel brings the world to our area, and it’s really nice to be a part of that.”
Congratulations to Milton resident Dave Isaacs and his fellow teammates Bob Burd, Mike Esposito, and Dave King. They won first place in Division 2 at the 2003 National Golf Championship in West Palm Beach Fla., at PGA National Golf Club. The event, with 22 states represented in the two-day tournament, raised over 17 million dollars for cancer research. Isaacs’ team shot gross scores of 64 and 60 for a total of 124.
The victory was bittersweet, however. Isaacs’ father always followed his golf outings, but died of colon cancer on October 2, 2003, just two weeks before the tournament. As Isaacs put it, “I guess it was just meant to be.”