Golf has been a large part of the history of athletics at the College of Wooster, including women in sports. Before the L.C. Boles Memorial Golf Course was built, Wooster students played golf at the Wooster Country Club. The club was built in 1903 and until 1940, was the only golf course in the Wooster area. Women used to play on the Wooster Country Club course, as seen in the photograph.
Lawrence Casper Boles was an integral part of Wooster athletics from 1915 to 1945. L.C. Boles was born in 1883 in Blanchester, Ohio and graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1906. He started at College of Wooster in 1915 where he served as the Athletic Director, as well as head coach for football, basketball, and golf. As the football coach, he had the best coaching record still at the College today. Boles was loved and praised by the entire Wooster community and his charisma and character made him a legend. He started the golf team on campus and was the first coach of the Wooster team.
Boles constructed a successful physical education department that would benefit from a golf course. World War I influenced Boles idea to have compulsory physical education. Having this education would force students to be more active and in shape because, during WWI many men did not survive because they were not properly trained.
Ever since Boles learned to play golf in the 1920s, he had a vision to build a golf course on the college campus. According to Ed Arn, he believed golf would teach the students an important life skill: “teaching students to play golf, was teaching them play habits for a lifetime.”
The construction of the course began in the summer of 1937. According to a 1939 Wooster Daily Record report, it cost $11,738 to construct. Boles was able to fundraise and reallocate the physical education departments budget to keep the cost for the College low. In the early 1900s, the College purchased 165 acres of land from the Will Aman Farm and the course was built on this land. In 1941, Wooster purchased the DeWitt property, which is the land from Kenarden to Douglass, and added the land to the course. The course also had holes where Compton and Wagner are located. Boles suffered serious health problems after his football retirement in 1939, and died in August of 1945, but he was able to coach golf for a few more years until this death. The course was named after Boles after his death in 1945.
When the course opened in 1940, women were only allowed to golf on Wednesday afternoons. By 1947, the Women Athletic Association allowed women to play golf on the L.C. Boles Memorial Golf Course freely and without restrictions. During the 1960s, there were many golf matches played by women on the course. There were various club women’s golf teams present at the College in the 1960s. However, the first official Wooster women’s golf team was started in 2010.
Today, the course resides on the east side of campus, to the east of Gasche Street. Currently, the course is public nine hole course, with different tee’s for the back nine for people who wish to play eighteen holes. The College of Wooster is the only small school in Ohio who has their own golf course. The course is used for golf teams practice, but not for official games. The golf course was also used for other athletic teams such as cross-country and footgolf. It is the cross country’s teams official course of competition. It is continued by Boles legacy to teach golf at the College. The course is used for community involvement events including fireworks, community accessible hiking paths, and a Tree Nursery.
Information on L.C. Boles and the Golf Course contributed by Danielle Muster, Grace Riely, and Keetrone Singleton (May 2018).