The Coeds Move In! Plus, Golf?

I recently found this 1950 clipping about the new Rice mandatory PE program for girls. (There’s nothing to indicate which newspaper this appeared in but it feels like the Post to me.) It was pasted into one of the literary society scrapbooks and it’s extremely interesting. You really should read it:

New SLL scrapbook golf course article 1950

I hardly know where to begin. Coed recreational swimming! Periodical physical examinations! Sterilized gym clothes! It would take months for a competent social historian to unpack all this material.

So let’s just focus on what I do best instead. Here’s the photo that accompanied the article:

New SLL scrapbook RI golf course 1950

Did you read that caption?? Where was the Rice golf course? I’ve heard whispers and rumors for years that there were once a couple (or a few?) golf holes laid out on campus but this is the first time I’ve ever actually seen anything that suggests it was true. Anyone know anything about this? Maybe where the holes were located?

Coincidentally I got fitted for new clubs this morning.

UPDATE: I just noticed something. See the shrubs in the background? Those can only be the hedge that ran from the dorms over to the old stadium So look at this aerial, taken July 3, 1956:

Aerial July3 1956

The hedge I mean is the long diagonal on the right. I think that’s where they were, on one side or the other of that small softball field. Might that be a rough green right in the corner behind West Hall?

Bonus: Engineers need love too. Or so they would have us believe.

Valentine's Day decorations 2015

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19 Responses to The Coeds Move In! Plus, Golf?

  1. marmer01 says:

    Looks like the Post to me, too. Could be the Press from back when it was a real newspaper. Note in the article that it says the Olympic-size pool is in the “new Rice Stadium.” Is that a typo? It’s always been in the gym, hasn’t it? Golf is probably out by Harris Gully but you probably figured that out already, right? 😉 Oh, and Hally B. W. Poindexter is pretty cool. Earned doctorate in Education and one of the pioneers of women’s recreation programs. You should feature her sometime.

  2. Buddy Chuoke '75 says:

    The ‘”institute’s Olympic-size pool in the new Rice stadium?” Did I miss something?

  3. Melissa Kean says:

    It was just a mistake–the writer meant to say the brand new Rice gym.

    • grungy1973 says:

      Maybe the pumps failed, or weren’t installed yet, at the north end of the stadium.
      It *could* mean the stadium.
      This is one of the things I’d really like to witness some time (and get pictures!).

  4. Don Johnson says:

    I echo the sentiment about Hally Beth; she is definitely worth a blog entry.

  5. almadenmike says:

    In a few cursory searches, I don’t see any mention of on-campus golf holes. There are several instances of intramural golf, which was held on off-campus courses:

    For example:

    > > In Spring 1949, John Plumbley started was was billed as the first individual intramural golf competition at Rice. The article announcing it (on page 4 of the April 30 Thresher — https://scholarship.rice.edu/bitstream/handle/1911/65927/thr19490430.pdf?sequence=1) said all rounds had to be played at the Herman Park course.

    > > The 1929 intramural tournament between classes (each with a 4-member team) was played at Colonial Country Club (p. 3 of March 8 Thresher: https://scholarship.rice.edu/bitstream/handle/1911/65248/thr19290308.pdf?sequence=1 )

  6. I think that it is a shame that Rice University didn’t get involved in women’s intercollegiate athletics from the 1950s or even earlier. I matriculated in 1976, which was two years before Rice started giving athletic scholarships to women in Track & Field and Cross Country. (I don’t know when scholarships for women started in Tennis, Volleyball or any other sports.) I competed in Cross Country for my first two years and in Track and Field for my Freshman year only. What a disappointment! And this was a number of years after Title IX had supposedly kicked in (June 1972) . We got only a very small percentage of attention from the men’s long-distance coach for the first year. To add insult to injury, the athletic department wanted us to compete in recycled double-knit volleyball uniforms. We ended up creating and purchasing our own uniform from items available at the Campus store as well as purchasing all our own running shoes. (The guys — even the walk-ons — received many pairs of free running shoes every year. My second year, they had hired a female athletic director, and they tried to have her coach the women’s cross-country team. Sadly, she had never competed in any kind of competitive running, so we went back to scrounging input from one of the two men’s coaches. Things improved over time once Rice started taking women’s athletics seriously, but I can’t help but wish they had started much, much earlier.

  7. mmdlarue says:

    This makes sports for ladies sound like a new thing. I remember my grandmother (Rice ’31) talking about playing basketball. Somewhere I believe that I have a little metal basketball, like one would put on a charm bracelet, with “RICE” on it. I will see if I can find it and send a photo.

    • Melissa Kean says:

      That would be much appreciated! I will say that there was always a bit of opportunity for girls to play certain sports at Rice but not really very much and certainly nothing “official.” A young woman playing basketball in the 1930s would have been in intramural competition among the various literary societies. It was pretty cut throat from what I can tell.

  8. Deborah Gronke Bennett BSEE Hanszen 1982 says:

    Do you have any more information on Virginia Easley? My husband’s ancestry is from East Texas (Sabine County) and there are a lot of Easleys there. I’m wondering if she might be a relative.

  9. Melissa Kean says:

    I will happily check on her, although I probably won’t be back on campus until next Tuesday. I have jury duty tomorrow!

  10. Matt Noall says:

    HMM. The powder puff football was always pretty violent, considering it was flag football, when I was there (74-79)

  11. marmer01 says:

    Matt is absolutely right. When I was there in the 80’s if you saw a woman on crutches or wearing a cast you could be pretty sure that she was a Powder Puff player.

  12. Brian Cole (Wiess '78) says:

    I don’t know anything about a golf course on campus, but the “small softball field” you refer to was the intercollegiate baseball diamond when I was at Rice. There was a good view of the field from the second floor of the wing closest to home plate, where we would drink beer and spectate. (Footnotes: drinking age at that time was 18, and NCAA rules did not allow alcoholic beverages in sports facilities, so we were legal on both counts.)

    • Francis Eugene "Gene" PRATT, Institute Class of '56 says:

      Brian,
      I assume the “Wiess” you reference was the “North Hall” of my era.
      If so, the baseball games you observed – without offering any libations to the players, by the way – was indeed for the intercollegiate games.
      However, the “small softball” field was south of that diamond, down past the hedge line. You can visualize it well if you magnify the pic maximally (perhaps optimally, on your system), and scroll to the right.
      Actually, there seems to be the “ghost” of another field of some sort, also across the hedge but farther east towards West Hall (Hanzen ?; I can’t remember the new names).

      • Francis Eugene "Gene" PRATT, Institute Class of '56 says:

        However, Brian, you may have offered a quaff or so to the players that I do NOT know about, inasmuch as you were a kid, years after my prime time, such as it was.
        😦

  13. Pingback: Softball, 1952 | Rice History Corner

  14. Pingback: Gym Class for Girls, 1920s | Rice History Corner

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