Organizers Plan New Nursing Home Tourney
Veronica Karaman knew the Nursing Home Open golf event was something special as soon as she saw the first participants grab a putter.
“They placed their hands on the putter, and I saw them finagling it in their hands to get the perfect grip, and I knew their minds were working,” Karaman said of the March 4 event at Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club in Southern Pines.
“They were engaged, thinking about those 3-foot putts,” said Karaman, who co-organized the event with Chaplain Ken Rahal, of Christ Community Church. “I saw determination in their eyes and then, when they made those putts, their face would light up.”
On the heels of such a successful event, Karaman, of Karaman Ministries, has organized the Nursing Home Summer Shoot-Out to be held July 23-25 and July 29.
This month’s event is a nine-hole putting event. It will include four residents from each of four local nursing homes. To compete, participants must be a top-four finisher at a qualifying round held at their respective nursing home.
The four nursing homes participating this time are ManorCare Health Services in Pinehurst, Pinehurst Healthcare and Rehab, Penick Village in Southern Pines, and Peak Resources, formerly Pinelake, in Carthage.
The finals will be held at 2 p.m. July 29 at Pine Needles. The qualifying tournaments will be held next Monday through Wednesday.
Young Life members have been invited to caddie the event.
New this year are trophy sponsors in which anyone can donate $50 and sponsor a trophy, naming it in honor of a loved one.
The first trophy sponsor was Korey Ross, of Pinehurst, who is giving a trophy sponsorship in honor of her grandmother, Flo Amrein, who in her words was “always smiling.”
There is also a competition between the nursing homes to see which can collect the most sponsorships.
“The whole idea is to create a culture of honor,” Karaman said.
She said the event will create positive memories for those who are in the late stages of life. She hopes that it will be memories that families can cherish for a lifetime.
“Pinehurst is a place where people come to play major golf championships, and I think Pinehurst should also be a place where you can leave a champion, too,” she said.
Karaman said the event could still use a few more hole sponsors and “would love to have more trophy sponsors.”
Each of the 16 finalists will receive a trophy and, more importantly, according to Karaman, a hat.
“The hit of the whole thing was the golf hats,” Karaman said. “Some of them are still wearing those hats. Some of them even wear them to bed.”
The Fowler family is sponsoring the first-place trophy this year. Harold Fowler, at 94, won the first Nursing Home Open in March. He isn’t participating this time, but Karaman has invited him back to present the trophy to his successor.
Another new feature this year is the presentation of the Mildred Karaman Champion of the Heart award. The award, named in honor of Karaman’s mother, will be presented to Rahal, for his “courage and service in the face of adversity.”
Rahal, who resided in ManorCare for a few months in 2010 for a rehabilitation stay, was “the pulse” of the first tournament, Karaman said.
Rahal said his experience at ManorCare moved him to do something for the residents.
“They got to my heart,” he said. “I thought something has got to be done to generate some enthusiasm ... to let them know they are not the forgotten few.”
Rahal said the event is important for residents and their families because it provides a positive experience and plenty of memories.
Two participants in the March event have died, Rahal said, and he has become close with the families.
“The have said to me, my father, my mother, died happy, having fun and you left us with good memories,” he said.
Sponsors for the event include Kalli Ziegler Properties, PJ’s Auto Care, Mac’s Breakfast Anytime Restaurant, James Leach State Farm Insurance, Nature’s Own, FORE Properties, Lunch Box that Rocks, Flowland, Karaman Communications, Robert’s Golf, T-N-T Digital Designs, Tina Wrona Photography, Chick-fil-A, The Prescription Shoppe, The Darling House Pub and Grill. and Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club.
Karaman has plenty of passion and future plans for the event. She hopes eventually to hold it four times a year. She also hopes the next event will be a Ryder Cup team format that will pit teams of golfers from each nursing home against one another on an outdoor course.
“My grand vision, when the U.S. Opens come in 2014, is to have an LPGA and a PGA Tour player participate with our elderly players,” she said. “That, to me, would cap off my dream of creating a culture of honoring the elderly.”
Those interested in volunteering or sponsorship opportunities can contact Karaman at (757) 407-1907 or by email at email@example.com.
Contact Tom Embrey at (910) 693-2484 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
More like this story