EDITOR'S NOTE – Over the weekend, Ohio State rededicated the Scarlet Golf
Course after extensive renovations. Below is a story from OSU Athletic
Communications on the festivities.
Jack Nicklaus, who, along with his Nicklaus Design firm, is responsible for the renovations to The Ohio State University Scarlet Course, played the ceremonial first round on the storied course Saturday. Nicklaus played all 18 holes with his son, Gary, who also is a former Buckeye and a member of the redesign team. Former Ohio State Director of Athletics Andy Geiger and two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin also played the opening nine holes.
The rededication program included several figures responsible for the year-long redesign and construction of the original 1938 Alister MacKenzie design. Prior to the rounds, current AD Eugene Smith, Jim Brown, Ohio State men's golf coach, Therese Hession, head coach of the OSU women's team, and E. Lang D'Arti, a representative of the Al and Martha Phipps Family, joined Jack and Gary Nicklaus, Geiger and Griffin in a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the first tee.
Brown, Hession, D'Arti, Smith, Geiger and Jack Nicklaus also spoke at the Al and Martha Phipps Wall Dedication, featuring the names of all the men's and women's golfers in the history of Ohio State. Gifts approaching $12 million made to the Ohio State golf programs by the Phipps Family are being used to finance the renovation. Annual interest from the endowed gift will be applied to the cost of the renovation.
"My experience as a student at Ohio State was wonderful," Jack Nicklaus said. "The opportunity to come back so many years later and to give back was a real pleasure and something I wanted to do. It was very meaningful to me and was a lot of fun. It was a real thrill for me to be involved. I hope that everyone enjoys it and that it's not too difficult for the members."
The first opportunity for Ohio State to showcase the renovated Scarlet Course starts Sunday. The 2006 NCAA Women's Golf Championships will be contested May 23-26 with practice rounds scheduled for May 21-22. Teams from 24 of the top NCAA institutions sponsoring women's golf along with an additional six individuals will participate in the event.
Smith said the Phipps Family gift will allow the Scarlet Course the opportunity to showcase The Ohio State University and its golf club.
"The gift by the Phipps Family afforded OSU the opportunity to undergo an extensive renovation and redesign of the Scarlet Course and it was a bonus for us to be able to involve the outstanding services of one of our own, Jack Nicklaus and his firm, Nicklaus Design," Smith said. "Through Jack's passion and the expertise of his company, the Scarlet Course will reposition itself as the premier collegiate course in the country."
Geiger said providing student-athletes, alumni, club members, staff and the Ohio State community with the best possible facility will be the legacy of the Phipps Family, whose goal was to help make the OSU Scarlet Course the top collegiate course in the nation.
"What a thrill it is to see the long-awaited and anticipated renovation to the Scarlet Course come to fruition," Geiger said. "Our gratitude to the Phipps Family for their generous donation to the Ohio State golf programs and facilities will be remembered forever."
Nicklaus said he utilized a member of his family when planning for the Scarlet Course redesign.
"From the outset, I got my son Gary involved," Nicklaus said. "Gary has not only been involved in our design business and is very active in our company now, but like me (1960-61), Gary was fortunate to play his golf at Ohio State (1988-91). He has the same emotional attachment to the university and the Scarlet that I do. Gary also is not that far removed from his playing days on the PGA Tour, so he understands the current demands and needs as it relates to today's young players."
Brown, who has coached 33 years, hosted numerous tournaments and has spent countless hours teaching golf on the Scarlet Course, said he appreciates the Phipps Family and Nicklaus' contribution to the golf teams at Ohio State.
"This is a dream come true for me," Brown said. "I have so much passion and love for the Scarlet Course that I am elated to see what Jack Nicklaus has done to the course. We truly have a MacKenzie course, complete with the greens and bunkering. This was all made possible by the donation of my very good friends Mr. and Mrs. Al Phipps. Without their kindness to The Ohio State University, the golf course and golf teams, this project would not have gotten done."
Hession said honoring those responsible for renovating the Scarlet Course is a great way to kick off the week of the 2006 NCAA Championships at the OSU Golf Club.
"I was excited to have Jack Nicklaus come back for the opening," Hession said. "It was great recognizing the Phipps Family as well. Not only for their help toward the current athletes, but also the future student-athletes. It's going to be neat to take a moment and recognize all of their help."
Archie Griffin and Jack Nicklaus
This club signed by Jack and Gary Nicklaus was presented to OSU