Golf is the most recent varsity sport added for women at the College of Wooster. It was yet another sporting tradition brought to American from Great Britain. The first golf club in the United States was built for men in 1887, but within two years, women were also playing on the course. Like tennis, golf developed as an upper-class sport played by the wealthy at private clubs,and during the early part of the twentieth century, it was one of the most popular sports for women. The first Women's National Championship was held in 1897, becoming the third national sport championship offered to women in that decade, following archery and tennis. While played as an amateur sport until the 1940's, golf became one of the early professional sports for women in 1944. Golf was also a popular sport played by women on college campuses since the 1890's. In 1941, Gladys Palmer organized the very first national collegiate tournament for women in golf at Ohio State University. Hence, golf became the first national collegiate championship held in any sport for women. The NCAA followed just over forty years later when they offered their first National Championship in Women's Golf in 1982.
Eva Shorb, arrive at Wooster in the Fall of 1936 as a freshman. Before she entered the college, she had already made a name for herself as a golfer. She had won the Stark County (OH) Women’s Championship for two straight years and had also won the Akron District Women’s title. She had also shot a 66 at the Brookside Country Club, one of the best scores ever for an amateur, according to Ed Arn’s book Black and Gold. During the fall of her freshman year she was entered in the Women’s National Golf Championship (Sept 28, 1936), where she was eliminated by one stroke on the very last hole by Patty Berg, one of the best women golfers of that time.
Shorb played for the Wooster Men’s Team in a match against Janet Shock of Denison on April 22, 1938. A second match against Denison on May 17, 1938 had her again playing against Shock, but this time the match was listed as an exhibition. She lost the match 86 to 84. A player from that time, George Barrett, noted that Shorb became eligible for the golf team in 1938. The year before, she likely would not have been eligible because freshmen were not allowed to play back then. After that match, Ohio Conference officials found out about it, and a rule was instituted that women would not be allowed to compete on men’s teams. Shorb ended up transferring to Mount Union for her final two years, where she was able to play with the men's team there.
Shorb continued to play golf in the Cleveland area and ended up marrying a golf pro named Weiskopf. Their son, Tom, became an outstanding golfer. He played for Ohio State University before going on tour with the PGA for a number of years. His biggest win was probably the British Open in 1973.
During the 1960's, Wooster hosted a series of golf tournaments for women, organized by Physical Education Department staff Ginny Hunt. The First Annual College of Wooster Women's Invitational Golf Tournament was held in 1964. Women from four colleges were in attendance (Ohio State, Miami, Ashland & Wooster), and the winner of that tournament was Maggie Martin from Ohio State with a score of 76. Other participants finished as follows: 2. Nancy Patch from OSU (85); 3. Gareth Lavelle from Miami U (90); 4. Dianna Reichert from OSU (91); 5. Jane Faries from Wooster (110); 6. Cindy Naylor from Wooster (112); 7. Barbara Scherer from Miami (114); 8. Nancy Bohinc from Miami (121); 9. Gaye Whieldon from Ashland (122); 10. Marty Eagleton from Wooster (137). It does not appear that a team trophy was given this year.
The Second Annual College of Wooster Women's Invitational Golf Tournament followed in 1965 and included more colleges and more athletes. Twenty seven women from nine colleges participated in this year's tournament. Colleges that sent participants included Ashland (2), CWRU (2), Hiram (2), Miami (3), Mt. Union (1), OSU (5), OU (5), OWU (3), and Wooster (4). Participating in the tournament for Wooster were Nancy Huffman, Margaret Jump, Barbara Evans, and Rosie Capps. Of note on the list of golfers for this tournament was the winner, Renee Powell of Ohio University, carding an 84. Only the second African American ever to play on the LPGA tour, she would turn pro in 1967, a few years after this tournament.
The Third Annual College of Wooster Invitational Golf Tournament was held on May 14, 1966. Seven colleges participated in the tournament and a press release from the College of Wooster noted that defending champion Rene Powell of Ohio University and one of the top amateur players in the state, would head the field of 25. For the first time, a team trophy would be given to the winner by Ginny Hunt. The entry fee was listed at $2 per person. It appears that the two winners from 1964 (Maggie Martin- OSU) and 1965 (Renee Powell-OU) tied for the low score with an 86, but Martin won tournament honors via a sudden death playof on the first hole. Ohio State won the team tournament with a 402, followed by Ohio University in 2nd (416) and Wooster in 3rd (439). Representing Wooster were Ann Strong (tied for 4th), Nancy Huffman (7th), Margaret Jump (12th), and Linda Davis (17th).
The Fourth Annual Wooster Invitational Women's Golf Tournament was held on May 20, 1967. Six colleges entered, including Bowling Green, Kent State, Malone, Western Reserve, Ohio State university, and Wooster. competing for Wooster were Ann Strong, Nancy Huffman, Val Powers, and Anne Hayden. Rene Powell (now competing for OSU) easily won the title this year with an 83, and Ohio State again won the team tournament. Wooster came in third with a 468, with Nancy Huffman finishing 4th and Ann Strong in 8th. Valerie Poweres and Anne Hayden completed their team for Wooster.
This appears to be the last time this tournament was held. There was an expectation that Women's Golf would be the fourth women's sport to be added at the College of Wooster, but for some reason, this fell through. Instead, tennis was added in 1970, and golf faded away as a women's competitve sport, not coming back into the picture until 2010.