September 29, 2011

Professional Golfer’s tribute to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s Disease

He holds her hand while softly humming a tune. He stares off into the distance and smiles. “He was the Director of Golf for Wintergreen Resort in Virginia for seventeen years,” Arlene, David Jimenez’s wife, states as she squeezes his pointer finger. “He was a player, teacher, and always a gentleman.” Jimenez has been a golfer for over a half a century, an Alzheimer’s patient for the past eleven years.

Pushed by his mother to be an engineer, Jimenez sought another calling. Although accomplished in his schooling, golf called his name. As a child in Puerto Rico, Jimenez lived near the ninth tee of the Berwind Country Club. Fascinated by the players on the tee, he began imitating the motions he observed. By age ten he began working weekends at the club, picking up tees for the pros while watching them give golf lessons.

His childhood friend Hito introduced him to his brother, pro golfer Chi Chi Rodriguez. They played together often and Chi Chi taught David the nuances of the sport. At nineteen, David began playing amateur tours and moving up the ranks at the country club. By age 28, be became a teaching professional and toured as a pro.

“Golf has always been his first love, music is his second.” Arlene smiles at David as they sit close to each other on a couch in the living room. Jimenez lives at “The Arbors” at Savannah Commons Retirement Community. “Every now and then David will make the motion of swinging a golf club, but music is very important to him. The staff puts on his walkman and he dances and sings for the nurses and other residents. Everyone here is so good with him, I am very happy our life has lead us here to Georgia, to Rincon, and to Savannah Commons for David.”

Bringing support to caregivers and sufferers of Alzheimer’s disease in Effingham County has been one of Arlene’s goals. Arlene is grateful for the supportive golfing community in Rincon and the Lost Plantation Golf Club. They have aided in organizing the annual tournament to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s.

The first annual David Jimenez Open to benefit the Coastal Georgia Alzheimer’s Associate is Saturday, October 8, 2011 at the Lost Plantation Golf Club in Rincon. For more information call Julia Smith, Club Manager, at 912-826-2092.
  • Written by Joyce Crowder, Marking Director at Savannah Commons Retirement Community, Fall 2011.