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Life Here

March 16, 2021 By Estelle Holway

Sand Traps, Seven Irons and Silliness

Paradise Valley Estates is home to the Moaners and Groaners, a longtime golf club that plays the first Wednesday of every month. The group was scheduled to play two fall tournaments in late 2020, but COVID-19 and aerated greens forced cancellations.

The November tournament’s theme was “PVE 23rd Anniversary Special.” While dining with the group’s current leader, Walt McDaniel, Estelle learned that Don Herington was the only golfer left of the original group. Despite the cancellation of the November tournament, Walt was still researching the history of golf at Paradise Valley Estates.

Here are a few eagles and birdies he shared with Estelle.

“I moved to PVE in February 2006 and met a few golfers who had started a golf club in 1997,” he says. “Six months later, John Kroyer, at the usual 19th hole activities in The Club, announced that he was retiring, and Walt McDaniel would be in charge of the golf club. Now, 14 years later, I find those years provided me many wonderful experiences, great friends and satisfaction.”

“In the early days, we had about 16 golfers for tournament play which has grown to a high of 40. As new player residents arrived, the club outgrew The Club for after-game festivities, later moving to the 500 Room with 45 seats, adding dinner,” he recalls. “New ideas to create an entertaining atmosphere were developed. Monthly themes relating to Old West, Hawaii, birthdays, and holidays often dictated the dress code. In 2014, the club exceeded the 45 seats of the 500 Room and moved to Rawlinson Hall.”

Until COVID-19, the average attendance ranged between 65 and 75. In addition to arranging golf activities, Walt became the emcee and created a new role — “I am here to entertain you.”

The “Fibber McGee Closet” overflowed with discarded items that became prizes for water balls, good days, bad days, whatever. Boxes of Cracker Jacks added to the fun. The green ball in the purple bag became a legend; replacement of water balls was gladly accepted. The list always involved instances whispered in Walt’s ear, resulting in a suitable prize. Framed awards to both players and guests were a favorite. Golf News articles in Elysian Fields were published monthly to the enjoyment of all residents.

“The annual PVE Anniversary Tournament became fashionable with tee prizes, wine for dinner, all provided by a donation from the Resident Council. I always came home with the feeling I did ‘entertain you,’” Walt laughs.

Today, the Moaners & Groaners includes all spouses and alumni golfers for a total of 91. New residents are often greeted with, “Do you play golf ?”

While Walt retired as the group’s leader on December 31, 2020, the ace entertainer has promised to continue his emcee role until he makes the turn to 100.

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