From Woody's Couch

Our Playbook on OSU History

Category: Early University history (page 1 of 12)

Playing golf on OSU campus was once par for the course

Lantern, June 30, 1920

Lantern, June 30, 1920

Today, Ohio State’s popular and renowned golf course sits about two miles from the Oval, but did you know there used to be a golf course a stone’s throw from the center of campus?  Thanks to a detailed letter written by Howard E. Wentz in 1973, the Archives has a clue to the course’s existence.

In the summer of 1919, a series of articles appeared in The Lantern that suggested a peaked interest in golf among faculty and students alike. According to the student newspaper, spring and summer classes were offered to students that allowed them to learn about the technical game of golf, with subjects such as “the fundamentals, principles, and strokes.”  At this point, Ohio State had already offered classes in different sports, such as baseball, tennis, swimming, and boxing—all of these subject areas already had designated practice fields. Until the summer of 1919, Ohio Field was the only practice area where golf students could swing.  But that July, a five-hole course was proposed, a direct result of the interest displayed by the Ohio State student and faculty body.

A committee of three professors, Alonzo H. Tuttle, John W. Wilce, and Joseph S. Myers joined together to form the first Ohio State University Golf Club in 1919. The push for a new course became even stronger, as faculty and students could join the group for just two dollars.  If a course were built, faculty could play Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for two hours and 45 minutes, or 4:45 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.; students were permitted to play every Tuesday and Thursday.  Only serious players were permitted, as they had a strict “no practice” policy during these days.

University Golf Course as sketched by Howard Wentz in 1973

The University Golf Course as sketched
by Howard Wentz in 1973

The new University Golf Course opened on Saturday, June 26, 1920.  Described in the Lantern as “in excellent condition” and “a wonderful opportunity for members of the faculty and students to participate in wholesome recreation,” the finished product had nine holes in total (as opposed to its initially proposed five holes) and a distance of 1,911 yards.  Unfortunately, there is no information that describes the physical construction of the course, although the task was completed and overseen by Tony Aquila, the caretaker of Ohio Field.

In his series of letters in 1973, Howard E. Wentz describes his time as a young caddy at the University Golf Course.  Wentz details the different types of people who played at the course during his summer:

“I recall many former notable O.S.U. professors and their wives whom I caddied for.  Among them were Leonard Goss, Oscar Brumley, Howard Snook, George Eckleberry, Lou Morrill, Joe Taylor, Billy Graves and others.”

Chic Harley, 1919

Chic Harley, 1919

Wentz also recalls being star-struck when OSU football star Chic Harley came to play.  He recalled Harley having a golfing stance that was completely “unorthodox” but could easily “beat any of us kids at our own game.”  In the same paragraph, Wentz discusses how Dudley Fisher, a famous cartoon artist for The Columbus Dispatch, frequented the course.

With no photographs of the course, the University Archives only has one map that exists solely from Wentz’s memory.  There is, however, one cross-matched piece of evidence of the course: Both The Lantern and Wentz agree on the location of hole one, which was directly behind Page Hall.

There is no solid evidence to suggest when the golf course closed permanently, but a letter to then-OSU President William Oxley Thompson, published in The Lantern on March 1, 1921, states the course was still standing.  However, there’s no information on the course after that letter.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Archives

Written and assembled by Olivia Wood

Happy Thanksgiving!  To celebrate the most delicious time of the year, we’ve decided to post some pictures commemorating different types of feasts here at Ohio State ranging from the late 19th century up until the 21st century.  Enjoy!

 

A Food and Nutrition class in Hayes Hall preparing a meal, circa 1900.

 

A Food and Nutrition course holding a meal, 1950.

 

An Ohio State home economics class preparing a meal, 1895.

 

Two students sharing dessert, circa 1930.

 

A group of students sharing a snack of celery, crackers, and cigarettes…yum? Circa 1940.

 

Students and chefs with a dessert spread of cake and cookies, 1942.

 

Student-employee appreciation event hosted in the Oval with a feast of pizza and cake, 2000.

 

The International Party hosted by the Mother’s Club, 1954.

 

Two students toasting to each other, circa 1930.

 

An ox roast held at Ohio State, circa May 1916. An ox roast really isn’t actually roasted ox–it’s roast beef!

Observing National Armed Forces Day

Today is National Armed Forces Day. National Armed Forces Day was first created in 1949 by then Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson. Rather than maintaining three separate holidays for each of the branches of the military, Johnson decided to create a single holiday honoring the entire military. Although the first Armed Forces Day was in 1950, it was not made into an official Federal holiday until President John F. Kennedy in 1962.[1]

School of Military Aeronautics Squadron F in
August of 1917.

Here at the Ohio State University, we have a longstanding history of involvement with and support of the United States Military. The Morrill Act (1862) gave states script for federal land which the states could then sell for purposes of creating an endowment to fund an agricultural and mechanical college.[2] This act stated that the newly constructed school would be used to train students in the sciences of agriculture, mechanical arts, and military tactics.[3] The Department of Military Science and Tactics was created several years after the Ohio Agricultural, Military, and Mechanical College (the predecessor of today’s Ohio State University) and was staffed by active military personnel from the United States Army.[4]

The program continued to grow and transform in the twentieth century. Four important figures at the Ohio State University, including University President William Oxley Thompson, played crucial roles in the drafting of the National Defense Act, which established the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) in 1916. President Thompson was also responsible for the creation of the School of Military Aeronautics which would train students in the developing field of aircraft.[5] Students from both programs could be found participation in the numerous conflicts of the twentieth century.

Ohio State University students shooting at the rifle
range in 1918.

More information and resources about the Ohio State University’s role in the United States Military and the university’s founding can be found at the Ohio State University Archives. Manuscripts, documents, photographs, and other resources can be found there and are open to the public.

Written by John Hooton

[1] “Armed Forces Day,” National Day Calendar, accessed May 13, 2017. https://www.nationaldaycalendar.com/national-armed-forces-day-third-saturday-in-may/

[2] “Born in Adversity,” the Ohio State University Archives, accessed May 13, 2017. https://library.osu.edu/projects/founding/index.html

[3] Jack L. Gumbert, Forward to the Ohio State University Army ROTC History presentation, April 16, 2003, manuscript, from the Ohio State University Archives.

[4] Gumbert, Ohio State University ROTC History.

[5] Gumbert, Ohio State University ROTC History.

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