Suze Diaz …Every sports fan may have at one time or another secretly dreamt wondering what it would be like to be an athlete. No matter what age you are, the curiosity sneaks up and you find yourself pondering the question, “Could I be able to do that?” For one Vista Village Senior Living community resident, that question was answered on a beautiful sunny day on top of a magnificent lush green hill.
Vista Village Senior Living is an award-winning assisted living and memory care community whose main focus is providing the structure for a full, independent, best quality of life by giving their residents opportunities for extraordinary experiences. One of the industry-leading programs that residents are able to participate is the “Vibrant Life®” program. “Livin’ the Dream” is one element of the program designed to make residents’ wishes come true. Vibrant Life Director Ashley Cole compassionately goes the extra mile to bring each heart-filled desire of her residents come to life. On this particularly spectacular Groundhog Day morning, Director Cole again delivered a day worth repeating over and over that her resident will never forget.
Photos by Suze Diaz
Resident Dorothy Buchner is a sweet, sassy and spirited 94-year old dedicated sports fan. In high school, she played baseball and had a fondness for basketball. In the 1950s, Dorothy moved from Muncie, Indiana to California and found a passion for the game of golf. She remembers the exciting rivalry between Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus in the 1960s and has watched almost every event that the golf channels have to offer: PGA Tour, Senior PGA Tour, Masters, U.S. Open, and LPGA to name a few. Her favorite golfers are Bubba Watson, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods. Not only does Dorothy enjoy rooting for the competing players, she’s intrigued by the size of the winning purse money that each tour offers! Her brother, an avid golfer himself, lives in Florida and shares her philosophy of “Older doesn’t mean you can’t!” Dorothy continues her fondness for basketball as an ardent fan of West Virginia Coach Bob Huggins and the Mountaineers.
San Clemente is one of Southern California’s popular beach communities and the rolling hills are home to Bella Collina Golf Course. Named Best Private Golf Course in the Spring 2017 issue of Orange County Magazine, the 230-acre, Tuscan-inspired landscaped course boasts three different 18-hole combinations for endless game variety and is a favorite location for weddings and grand social events. Founded in 1988 with tees designed by golfing pro Gary Player in the tradition of Scottish seaside links, Bella Collina’s acres of beautiful greens and fairways blends in with the natural rugged environment. Surrounding a top-notch terraced clubhouse offering additional distinctive services and amenities, the private course provides each club member an unforgettable venue to share with their family and friends. 2018 marks their 30th Anniversary with special plans for a one-of-a-kind celebration!
Dorothy’s wish was to have a private lesson with a professional golf instructor and play on a professional golf course. Through the caring collaborative efforts of the “Livin’ The Dream” program and Bella Collina, Dorothy was able to fulfill her lifelong dream.
After a lovely drive from Vista to San Clemente, we made our way down the hills on the lush two-lane road that leads to the parking area near the clubhouse and was met by Krisno Bridge, the Assistant Golf Professional at Bella Collina. Krisno had our golf-carts at the ready with a special cart decorated: A personalized sign marker just for Dorothy and gifted with a pink Bella Collina golf cap. Dorothy’s son, Fred, also joined us, delighted to be there for his mother’s momentous day.
Krisno led us to the practice area first to have Dorothy try a few practice swings. Ashley Landsman, Bella Collina’s Membership Director, and Natasha Darling, Bella Collina’s Marketing Coordinator, accompanied us to watch Dorothy ‘give it a go’ and swing the club; hitting the balls like a natural, they flew superbly through the air. Krisno was impeccable in his instructions to Dorothy and soon it was time for her to tee off on a hole. As we drove our carts to the hole, we noticed other members enjoying their own time on other greens on the course. Happy smiles and enthusiastic energy was felt as we passed by. Everyone was in good spirits and made quite a positive atmosphere for our day.
It was a wonderful treat to see Krisno take one of the clubs to show Dorothy his style as he hit the ball onto the green, then it was Dorothy’s turn to match Krisno’s shot! Dorothy was having a blast as she and Krisno dominated the hole and made their way to the green for the final putt. With a strategic eye, Dorothy putted and the ball officially rolled its way into the cup in one shot!
After an exhilarating time on the course, we headed for lunch on the clubhouse terraces. Wonderfully set on the south side of the clubhouse, the terraces was the ideal spot for viewing the dramatic panorama of the hills as well as relax, rest and reflect on the day’s fun. During a delicious meal served by our friendly waiter, many conversations regarding the golfing industry, about golf players, of family (Dorothy has 6 great-grandchildren) and funny stories had everyone happy and content.
A beautiful day for a tee time dream wish to be granted and what better way to share the experience than with people filled with warmth, compassion, admiration and respect. It was a pleasure spending time with Dorothy Buchner, her son Fred, Director Ashley Cole, Krisno Bridge, Ashley Landsman and Natasha Darling. Community is about helping each other to live the best life and with Vista Village Senior Living and Bella Collina, you will find that they know how to accomplish the mission with style.
To learn more about the Vibrant Life® program and Vista Village Senior Living community, please call 760-662-7421. Check out their website at http://vistavillageseniorliving.com/ or their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VistaVillageSL/
To learn more about private memberships and access to exclusive social events at the Bella Collina Golf Course, please go to their website at http://www.bellacollinasanclemente.com