Shippensburg University’s new golf club started “for the love of the game,” according to its president, Jeremy Rivers and treasurer Eric Rife, who answered almost simultaneously the question, “Why did you want to start this club?”
Fellow seniors Josh Shearer and Brendan Zimmerman make up the rest of the cabinet of the newly formed club.
“Myself, Josh and Brendan were all roommates sophomore year, fall 2011, and Eric hung out with us all the time,” he said, speaking of the vice president and secretary, respectively.
The foursome began playing in their small group at Caledonia Golf Club in Fayetteville, Pa. With no set schedule, they had yet to become organized. That changed, though, when they began inviting other friends, and friends of friends, to start joining them on their outings. This is how the idea for the Shippensburg University Golf Club was born.
The group became aware of a previous golf club that had failed to last, but they made it the goal of their senior year to create the foundation of a lasting golf club for the university by, “sharing our vision of a golf club with younger members to carry on.”
Currently, the club is strictly recreational in nature, with no competitive outings, but that will change come next semester, according to Rivers.
“We will not be able to compete as a club sport until next semester … the process takes about a 30 days and since the tournaments are this month we won’t be ready to go in time,” he said.
“When we do get up and running as an official club sport we will be participating in NCCGA [National Collegiate Club Golf Association] tournaments,” he continued.
The NCCGA organizes competitive tournaments for non-varsity (club) college golfers throughout the nation according to its website, nccga.org. The regional tournaments began on Sept. 28 and will continue each weekend up until the championship, which begins on Nov. 16.
There are currently seven teams in the Atlantic Region, which was just formed this semester, and is made up of Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The teams are: Duquesne Golf Club, Indiana University of Pennsylvania Golf Club, Penn State Golf Club, Pittsburgh Golf Club, Robert Morris Golf Club, West Virginia Golf Club and Youngstown State Golf Club. Shippensburg’s Golf Club would be the eighth assuming the club’s application is accepted for the coming spring semester.
The NCCGA allows for all colleges or universities to create teams for its events, including community colleges and law schools, not just traditional four-year schools. NCCGA rules require all students participating in events be full-time students, either graduate or undergraduate, so long as they are not also varsity NCAA golfers. Teams can be co-ed or gender specific, and must have five to eight players, with the top five scores each day counting toward the team’s total. Each school may have a maximum of two teams — an “A” and a “B” team.
Slippery Rock University, along with Shippesnburg and Indiana University of Pennsylvania are the only three members of the PSAC (Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference) that have non-varsity golf clubs. Yet, eight of the conference’s 18 members have varsity teams, according to the PSAC website (www.psacsports.org).
Rivers did state that the club will not only focus on being competitive in the NCCGA, saying, “We will definitely do that, but there will also be a recreational part of the club for those who just want to go out and play like we do now.” The SU Golf Club started off the year with an outing at Mayapple Golf Club on Sept. 20 in Carlisle, Pa., with 13 golfers attending.
With the club in its beginning stages, Rivers said that it was hard to give an accurate number of members, but did say that last year, when the club was going through its application process, there were about 40 people on its email list, with the number growing to 80 this semester. There were also 30 people who bought the club’s T-shirt last year.
Rivers is now waiting to hear back from ABC Lettering Co. in downtown Shippensburg to see a final proof of the polos he is designing for the club to wear on outings. Many courses require collared shirts, so most members have not been able to wear their shirts to the almost weekly outings that the club puts together.
“This is only our second semester,” said Rivers, “and so far we’re really satisfied with how things are going,” he continued. “We are also in the process of organizing a big outing, where we give people several weeks of notice so that as many as possible can make it out.”
SU can expect to hear more about the up-and-coming golf club throughout the rest of the school year as plans to play competitively and grow on the recreational side are set in motion.