Every Thursday at Grantwood Golf Course in Solon, a time-honored tradition takes place.
It is the day of the week, that, for more than 50 years, golfers take to the city-owned course for a league rooted in camaraderie – and more than a few laughs.
One of the oldest leagues in the course’s history, the TGA numbers about 30 men, all of various ages and backgrounds.
“Over time, it’s been evolving,” said longtime member and league manager Ed Delsky, 66, of Solon. “But it’s been a constant here since the late 1960s.”
Rain or shine, the group plays, sometimes sharing stories from the past as many have roots in the city, including a large number who graduated from Solon High School.
Reminderville resident Jim Lusk, 69, a TGA member since 2008 and a 1970 Solon High School graduate, reminisced about the old days at the course.
He began golfing in the late 1960s.
“I grew up down the street (from Grantwood),” said Mr. Lusk. “We used to sneak out onto the back nine, always listening for the old Jeep that would run around and then would run into the woods.”
He shares these stories with some of the younger generations on the league, with golfers anywhere from ages 20 to 80.
“We are pretty diverse,” Mr. Delsky, a 1972 graduate of Solon High School, noted, adding that once members join the league, they are a member for life.
Mr. Delsky, who also works at Grantwood part time as a starter, has had Thursday carved out as his night throughout his 41-year marriage, he said, so the league night fits perfectly.
“Thursday, for the entire 41 years, has been my night to go out,” he said. “My wife had Wednesday and I had Thursday.
“This fits really well with me.”
The league represents golfers of all skill levels, Mr. Delsky continued.
“We have two or three really good golfers and the rest of the group are just average golfers,” Mr. Delsky said. “We have a big range.”
There is no arguing or yelling on the course, with the group enjoying each other’s company, laughing and storytelling along the way.
The league used to wrap up each game with a cook-out in the early years, but that tradition shifted to a stop at the Annex nearby after the last hole was played.
The Annex is not a pre-requisite, Mr. Lusk said.
“Yes it is,” added Mr. Delsky with a laugh. He tells the new golfers they need to buy the first round.
“We are just a bunch of guys who get together,” Mr. Delsky said. “We all get along.
“We have our little spat here and there, but, as a general rule, we all know each other and just have fun playing the game.
“We’ve all become friends.”
That is the best part of the league for him, Mr. Lusk said.
“Ninety percent of the new people who come in are brought in from somebody,” he said. “There’s that connection.”
The TGA is one of 20 weekday leagues at the course.
The members counted themselves lucky to be able to play, even during the height of the pandemic last year. They were able to start in mid-May, a little later than normal, but finished their season last year in September.
“Golfing was the only thing you could do as a group,” Mr. Delsky said, although only one member per cart was permitted.
“Other than a late start and single people to a cart, it was still golf,” he said.
The league ends with a banquet each year and prides itself on members lasting through the years.
“We haven’t had people quit because they didn’t like the league,” Mr. Delsky said, but rather if they had to move or change jobs.
“No one said, ‘heck with these guys, I don’t want to play with them.’”
“We just all enjoy playing the game of golf,” Mr. Lusk added.