Charlestown transformed into winter ‘putterland’
Indoor miniature golf creation par for the course for woodworkersBy Danielle Rexrode
Miniature golf is one of the most loved summer pastimes in the United States. But a handful of talented Catonsville craftsmen have found a way to keep the ball rolling regardless of the season. Members of the on-site woodshop at Charlestown, the Erickson Living community in Catonsville, Md., have designed and built their own indoor miniature golf course.
“Last year, we wanted a unique event to raise money for Charlestown’s benevolent care fund, so we came up with the idea for an indoor winter putterland,” says Pat Kasuda, who organized the event.
“We borrowed the equipment for the course from the Glen Burnie Rotary Club. It was such a hit,” she says, “we thought it might be a good idea to make it an annual event. Except, this time, we decided to make our own course so we can use it again and again.”
Pat contacted Charlestown woodshop member Al Schlueter who recruited fellow woodshop volunteers and led the design and construction efforts behind the 18-hole course, which includes nine unique obstacles.
“I had never done anything like this before,” says Al, who had a woodshop at his former home in nearby Linthicum. “So I used last year’s course as a starting point for the layout. To give me a general idea of exactly how everything would fit, I did a drawing of the conference center and then laid out exactly where each hole would go.”
The next challenge: building the framework for the course.
“The entire course is outlined with 100 two-by-fours,” says Al. “But since it is not going to be a permanent fixture in Charlestown’s conference center, we had the challenge of designing something that could be taken apart and easily put back together again. To accomplish this we made a drawing of each hole and a list of which items go with that particular hole.”
Next, the volunteers began sawing, sanding, hammering, and painting obstacles for the course.
“We wanted to make the course challenging,” says Al. “Many of the obstacles are designed to divert the ball using ramps, pipes, etc. One of the holes, you shoot the ball through the legs of a clown. There is also a barn, a rocket ship, and a Ravens football player.”
Woodshop President John Chasse designed one of the obstacles to look like a replica of Charlestown’s entrance sign. He says each obstacle ranged in complexity and time from about 12 hours to 70 hours to complete over the course of several months.
“All together, the wood shop donated about 350 hours to the project,” says John. “The most challenging part actually wasn’t the design and construction of the course, but trying to fit all the lumber for the lanes and the obstacles, along with the ongoing builds, within the limited space we had in the woodshop.”
Charlestown’s 300-plus resident-run clubs were also invited to participate in the creative process.
“We received quite a few unique ideas,” says Pat. “For example, there is a treasure chest to represent the popular treasure sales that are held on campus. Another hole depicts Charlestown’s nature trail and features a tree limb across the pathway with gnomes. Yet another has a picket fence with flowers to symbolize the garden club.”
Labor of love
Both Al and Pat competed in the winter putterland tournament and say they are proud of all the work completed by volunteers.
“There is so much talent among the residents here at Charlestown,” says Pat. “It would be a shame not to use their expertise to the benefit of all the residents. Events like the winter putterland not only offer entertainment, they provide a fun way to raise money for worthwhile causes.
“It’s also a great opportunity to invite family and friends to come to our community to see all the fun we have in action,” she adds. “We are a retirement community made for enjoying life and having fun. This is just one of the many things the Charlestown family does to enjoy life at its best.”