Amidst the cereal, applesauce and veggie snack packs situated in the center of Marketplace on South Campus, Ohio State students can find something that isn’t edible or for sale: the OSU Staff Golf League trophy.
The trophy was directed to be placed there at the start of Fall Semester 2013 by Robert Hayes, operations manager of Marketplace.
As a member of a team called the Duffers, which was the league’s 2013 champion, Hayes said he had the chance to choose where the trophy would live for the next year, so he chose the place he would get to see it most.
“It’s a traveling trophy. I plan on retaining it next year and hopefully years to come,” Hayes said.
The league began in 1972, originally created by and for OSU Physical Facilities staff, a department that evolved into today’s Facilities Operation and Development, Hayes said.
A physical facilities employee at the time, Charlie Busch, was the driving force behind the creation of the league and the namesake for the championship trophy today, Hayes said.
Over time, the league expanded to include employees from all around the university, said retired University Police Lt. Richard Green, the league’s current secretary.
“(Today) we have retirees, OSU police, (staff from) Facilities Operations and Development, athletics, the hospital, academic staff, the architect’s office and Transportation and Traffic Management staff,” Green said in an email.
At one point, a university president golfed in the league. Edward Jennings was president from 1981-1990 and was on the winning team in 1985 and 1986, Hayes said.
Green said he remembers playing against Jennings.
“I think he beat me more than I beat him, but what I do remember about that is the game of golf brought us both to our knees,” Green said.
Green, who began playing for the team in 1991, said there is one member still playing who has been part of the league since its start — the now retired physical facilities staff member Scottie Pike.
“When we were playing golf, we had fun. That was the name of the game and that’s why we formed the league,” Pike said. “There was no boss or worker.”
Pike started out playing in the league on the Swingers and switched to the Rough Riders after sustaining an injury. Now, he plays as a sub.
“I’d rather let the younger guys get up there and have their enjoyment like I had mine,” Pike said.
The Swingers and Rough Riders share a place in the league among teams with equally lighthearted names such as the Ballbusters, Streakers and Parmakers. Many of these names have been around since the advent of the league, Green said.
Molly Ranz Calhoun, associate vice president for the Office of Student Life, said she was the first woman to play in the league when she joined in 1999 as a substitute. A year later, she became a full-fledged member of the Duffers.
“One of the guys in my office was the one who asked me to play. He apparently caught some grief. Most of the guys were great and a lot of fun, but there were a few who it was obvious they were not happy I was there,” Calhoun said.
Originally the league was known as “The Men’s League” until Janet Ashe, then-OSU vice president of Business and Administration, pushed for the name to be changed to “Staff League,” Calhoun said.
Today, the league hosts 12 teams composed of five to seven players each, according to the team’s 2013 constitution.
The constitution states that membership is open “only to employees or retirees of the Ohio State University who hold amateur status,” and association dues for the 2013 season were $55.
The teams now play on the Gray course at the OSU Golf Club after being moved away from the Scarlet course, the primary course at the club, in 1977. Pike said the greens committee was not pleased with the number of divots in the course the league caused.
Beginning each April, members play in weekly nine-hole games with the season culminating in playoffs and a championship 18-hole game in August.
Green said the league has given back to the university by making donations to the Gray course’s tree fund, the OSU men’s and women’s golf programs, donating benches and cleaning up the course after bad weather.
Trees have also been planted on the course to commemorate members that have died, Pike said.
Green said the league has brought him much more than a weekly game of golf.
“I met a lot of people through the league that I feel helped me do my job better over the past 25 years,” Green said. “Knowing others around the university that I may not have otherwise met if not for the league certainly helped me be a better officer.”
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