Savannah Lakes Village has an extraordinary Bridge community, run by those who love the game and played by those who enjoy it. Every player extends a hand and encourages newcomers to join the SLV Bridge family. It is fun, exciting and provides a wonderful opportunity to meet others with a like interest.
It might be said that those who play Bridge are often passionate about the game, and for those who do not, there is a degree of curiosity about its almost mystical power to captivate.
So what is the big deal about Bridge, and why has it become such an integral part of SLV life? Although golf, bowling, tennis and swimming are stimulating pastimes, they can only be enjoyed in specific locations under the right circumstances. Playing Bridge, while also challenging and fun, can be done while relaxing on the patio, sitting by the fireside, or in hundreds of other settings requiring nothing more than a table and four chairs.
The fact is, nearly every well planned community in the United States offers residents an opportunity to play Bridge in one form or another. The Savannah Lakes Community, however, is exceptional for the amount of comprehensive play available. There are beginner’s lessons for the uninitiated, duplicate games for newcomers, sanctioned ACBL (American Contract Bridge League) games, and many social games played in home or at one of the SLV community rooms.
It is a rare day when there is not a Bridge game going on somewhere in the Village.
Perhaps one of the most outstanding yet underplayed hands on the SLV list of resident accomplishments, of which there are many, is that the SLV Duplicate Bridge Club is one of only five locations in the South Carolina area sanctioned by the ACBL. Even the larger senior developments, e.g. Del Webb do not have their own sanctioned ACBL Duplicate Club. Players must travel, often substantial distances, for this opportunity. SLV is extremely fortunate to have a club within our own community.
Bridge at SLV is nearly as old as the community itself. The popularity of the game in the Village, however, was due to the efforts of Wally and Barbara Zust. They were responsible for initiating evening games in the 1990’s at the Rec. Center (before it was the Rec. center). After Wally passed away, John Cotty stepped forward and offered to assist with the games. Barbara and John also played together that year and took first place.
John worked tirelessly, not only to continue and grow the duplicate games, but he also did the footwork, the paperwork, and the structure building necessary to meet the stringent ACBL requirements for a sanctioned Bridge Club. In addition, John set the precedent of providing lessons prior to one of the afternoon games each week. This practice has continued unbroken for the past 11 years.
Several others have also stepped forward to make unbelievable contributions to building our SLV Bridge Community. Pete and Suzie Kaeding are two such people. The volunteer hours they have given to the club are countless. Hours of preparation, paperwork and being a weekly presence at the games are unparalleled acts of dedication. In addition, Pete teaches a ten week beginners class each January which is free and open to everyone. Each fall Pete also runs a second five-week intermediate class. Remarkable as it sounds, many SLV players will testify they knew little or nothing about playing cards much less Bridge until they took Pete’s class. The experienced player also finds the classes rewarding. Although the play has not changed over the years, bidding has and even good players find it helpful to brush up on modern bidding techniques.
Barbara Borkgren is the newest addition to those who keep Bridge alive and well in our Village. After earning her Silver Life Master she decided to give something back to the game. Barb recently studied and took the test to become a certified Director, and is now qualified to run the sanctioned duplicate Bridge games (an ACBL requirement.)
Chris and Jan Nied round out the coordinators committed to keeping the weekly games a strong and integral part of SLV activities.
Not all Bridge games are as structured as the Duplicate games. Many people who play, or want to learn, do so because of the game’s social benefits. It is a great way to spend an afternoon or evening with friends, perhaps over snacks and maybe even a glass of “something.”
SLV hosts Bridge Buddies on the 1st and 3rd Friday of every month at the Rec. Center. Mae Phillips-Turner coordinates an informal play group that meets every Thursday at either The River Grille or the Monticello Club House from 10:00 to noon. Rounding out the various forms of open play are the numerous games that may have limited membership, but are open to the public. One such “couples group” was founded by Don and Sandy Hedberg and called Marathon Bridge.
This post was written by SLV Property Owner and Bridge enthusiast Cynthia Webster. It was initially published in the February 2020 edition of Shorelines Magazine.