On a quiet Thursday afternoon, when most of the world seems to be fighting 5 p.m. traffic, a handful of women from Oregon State University have made the fast jaunt from their offices to the serene views of Marysville Golf Course, just five minutes from campus.
Not far from the bustle of Third Street, the course seems a world apart, as the only sounds are the steady thwack of club against ball, and the gentle laughter of friends reuniting.
For the women who comprised the Marysville Ladies Club, the regular weekly gathering is a time to decompress from the stresses of academic life, to sharpen golf skills and to enjoy a bit of nature. It’s also a chance for women from across different disciplines to come together over a shared love of golf, without concerns about rank, college or background.
“You’re out here, and having lots of fun, and its nice and smells good,” said Mysti Weber, a senior research assistant with the College of Oceanography. “We’re outside, doing a little bit of exercise.”
Marching across the course with an OSU golf club cover prominently displayed, Weber spent a lot of time smiling, even when her shots didn’t quite land where she’d planned. She began golfing at age 19, but gave it up when family commitments got in the way. About a decade ago, she got re-interested in the sport, and took professional lessons to get herself back into the game.
“It’s a very hard game to master,” she said. “It’s a challenge.”
She said having a regular group to golf with has helped keep her immersed in the sport.
“You get to meet a lot of really nice people,” Weber said. “It’s a whole package thing that’s really fun. There’s no sense in doing it if it’s not fun.”
While Weber golfs on many different local courses, Marysville is the place she considers “home.” She’s had her best games there, and finds the course comforting and the staff understanding, even when she’s having a particularly poor performance.
“They’re really patient,” she said.
The Marysville Ladies Club has members of all skill levels, and is an official Oregon Golf Association Member Club. The women who join get an official USGA golf handicap index and play by the USGA Rules of Golf.
Tricia Maynard, an accountant with the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, is a newcomer to the sport. She took up golfing a few years ago, but didn’t get serious until friend SueAnn Bottoms in the College of Education told her about the Marysville Ladies Golf Club.
Maynard, who said she’s not really the athletic type, appreciates that golf is a sport that she can ease into, and now that she’s in the club, she sees her skills, if not her score, improving.
“My score’s not really improving much but I feel I’m hitting the ball better, so at some point it will all come together.”
She’s also meeting women from other departments that she said she would have never met on campus.
Jill Parker is an associate professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences with the College of Veterinary Medicine, and has been a member of the club for at least six years.
“I really feel like I learned to play golf by joining,” she said. And the welcoming atmosphere is conducive to learning without feeling self-conscious.
“It’s a fun group of women who are really nice,” she said. “If you’re a terrible shot that’s ok.”
An OSU alum, Cheryl Hatch is now a professional photographer, and likens golf to her passion for photography.
“It’s visual, and it’s a feeling and intuitive game,” she said. And even though they’re playing the same course, it’s never boring.
“Every time is different, every day is different but it’s got a really good groove.”
There is a morning and evening group that meets at Marysville Golf Course each week through the end of September. New members are always welcome, and some members play through the fall and winter even though the group doesn’t have regular meetings at that time. The course is located at 2020 S.W. Allen.
For more information, contact Chi Meredith, current club champion and past president, at email@example.com
Trysting Tree Golf Club, on the east side of Corvallis, is an affiliate of the OSU Foundation, and contributes back to OSU by contributing to a number of programs on campus. It is the home course for OSU women and men’s golf teams, and also has a number of men and women’s groups. For information call 752-3332.
~ Theresa Hogue