I’m just going to be honest and admit that I really don’t have the best time−management skills. Though I’m convinced Spanish essays only take an hour to write, three hours later I am inevitably still sitting at my computer and cursing my inability to conjugate verbs into the subjunctive. At the same time, I definitely do not have the worst time−management skills in Tufts history. Take, for example, the Jumbos who believed it would take just two weeks to construct a golf course on the current site of South Hall.
Well, surprise! Construction took a lot longer than two weeks.
When golf first arrived at Tufts in the late 1800s, the men’s and women’s golf teams practiced at courses quite far from campus. Eventually, the men’s golf team decided that the commute was not worth its time. In the fall of 1923, a group of Jumbo golfers proposed to outfit Tufts with a six−hole golf course to be built by students. And, to make construction even more fun, students were divided into teams and promised an unspecified prize upon the course’s completion. President John Albert Cousens ardently supported the students’ initiative and even put them in touch with a renowned golf−course architect.
As plans to break ground on the course got underway, a veritable wave of golf−mania swept campus. Those organizing the project issued a gung−ho statement in the Tufts Weekly claiming that the course would be finished in two weeks and ready for the end of the fall semester.
At first, it actually seemed as if that old Jumbo can−do spirit would propel the project toward an early completion. But this project wasn’t just about scattering some grass seeds and filling a few sand traps; rather, the construction of the golf course required intense physical labor. What, you might ask, kept students motivated during long days of digging and hauling stones?
One student interviewed by the Weekly reminded fellow Jumbos that “with just a little more whole hearted support … we’ll soon be stepping out in our checkered golf socks.” The Weekly also highlighted a group of students who “conceived the happy idea of making a good−sized box of fudge and sending it down [to the student workers].” The project also allowed for quality time with the many professors who flocked to work alongside their students and contribute to the effort.
Between the fashionable footwear, fudge and improved faculty−student relations, what could have possibly gone wrong?
For starters, it appears that the golf team members in charge of the project weren’t necessarily the kindest leaders. A month and half after construction began, one of the organizers updated the Weekly by stating, “The work on the golf course is slowly nearing completion … [and] can be done if every delinquent will put in one afternoon’s work.”
First of all, it isn’t very nice to call your classmates “delinquents.” And second, I think the golf team might have been a little too idealistic. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from spending time in the archives, it’s that college students have been pretty consistently lazy over the last century−and−a−half. Even with the leaders’ constant claims of a “mythical prize” for the winning student team, it’s quite understandable that students grew bored of digging up rocks for six weeks.
Although it took longer than the initial estimate of two weeks, Tufts’ golf course was completed a year later in time for the fall 1924 golf season. The Weekly described the course on opening day in the following fashion: “The weather was perfect. The rolling fairways, the level greens with their red flags flying, and the sight of groups of men carrying golf bags … was enough to give every golfer a real thrill.”
I know South Hall is sort of important because it houses hundreds of students, and I don’t actually know how to golf, but it’s time for Tufts to reclaim its status as a golfer−friendly university.