Eisenhower Club recognizes charter golfers

Charter members of the Eisenhower Men's Golf Association pose for a group photo after receiving their red Eisenhower Golf Club hats bearing the label "EMGA Charter Member 1988" at the U.S. Air Force Academy Sept. 17, 2009. Out of 205 original EMGA members, 16 still actively play golf and were recognized at the luncheon for their stamina and continued athleticism. (U.S. Air Force photo/Butch Wehry)

Charter members of the Eisenhower Men's Golf Association pose for a group photo after receiving their red Eisenhower Golf Club hats bearing the label "EMGA Charter Member 1988" at the U.S. Air Force Academy Sept. 17, 2009. Out of 205 original EMGA members, 16 still actively play golf and were recognized at the luncheon for their stamina and continued athleticism. (U.S. Air Force photo/Butch Wehry)

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Some memories and the people in them should never be lost. 

A shadow box commemorating the 205 Eisenhower Men's Golf Association pioneers and containing the historical artifacts from 1988, was presented by the association to the Eisenhower Golf Club Sept. 17. 

The Eisenhower Men's Golf Association provides competitive and social golf events every Thursday morning during the season for about 250 male golfers. They are organized and operated by volunteers on the board and committees. 

This was a special Thursday. 

"We recognized 16 of the original association founders who still come here," said Joe Schaefer, appointed as historian of the Academy's EMGA at the Eisenhower Golf Club last year. The appointment led him to talk to the senior golfers and research the events and decisions that brought this unique Academy resource into being. 

"I learned the Blue Course opened in 1959-60 principally as an athletic resource of the Air Force Academy," said the association historian. "Cadets, active duty and retired men and women quickly helped fill up the available tee times. Club sponsored golf outings, as well as those organized by small groups, included tournaments, home and home play, and co-ed golf." 

His research shows that retired Brig. Gen. Ster Bettinger started EMGA in 1988 with 205 members in the charter group. General Bettinger was the group president for the first two years. His wife, Bettye, was a key player in the EWGA, the ladies golf group which preceded the men and still plays events every Wednesday. 

Mr. Schaefer said he learned that the Blue Course, designed by Robert Trent Jones, was a championship level course which demanded accuracy, shot making, and good course management. It also had a creek running out of the foothills and through much of the
course. 

"As a result, five- to six-hour rounds were not unusual," Mr. Schaefer said. "In 1969-70 the front and back nines were switched, much of the creek rerouted, and other changes made to fairways and traps to speed up play and accommodate more golfers." Construction of the less demanding Silver Course in 1976 helped make golf more available to all eligible users at the Academy. 

Sixteen of the original 205 EMGA members are still actively playing golf. They were recognized at the luncheon for their stamina and continued athleticism and for contributing their knowledge and memories. 

Each of the following active charter members received a red Eisenhower Golf Club hat bearing the label "EMGA Charter Member 1988": Bill Bennett, Jesse Boyd, Arnie Bruland, Don Carbaugh, Jerry Davenport, Bob DeLange. Greg Dillon, Jim Gillespie, Julius Grant, Vic Hanna, Vic Kregel, Bill McPeek, Bert Laird, Jim Mazza, Ron Stull and Ed Tompkins.