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The early days: 1955 - 1959

How it all began ...

It all began on a hot wednesday afternoon in 1954, when the idea to play golf in Osnabrueck was born. Born on the field ground of the Osnabruecker tennis club (OTC) when Heinz Kreft met wirh some friends to play tennis  -  as he usually did on wednesdays then. But it was a hot summer, too htot to enjoy the tennis match. Hot enough for that small group to come up with the idea: "Wouldn't it be nice in that hot time of the year to rather play golf than tennis?" Just a short glance of an idea, but it took possesion of Heinz Kreft and didn't let him go from then on.

Golf, that was a sport he already was familiar with. He knew it from his former days during a visit in the USA, when some people invited him to accompany them to a golf course. And he was not the only Osnabrueck citizen to know about Golf at that time, there were some few others, and among them were Emmy Homann. She also had made some swings travelling other countries - and thus the fever of golf came in and occupied some influencing people of Osnabrueck.

Of course there are obstacles to overcome. „Golf is not a appropiate sport for a city like Osnabrueck“, those snetences were often to be heard. But Heinz Kreft didn't swayed:
Why shouldn't something work in Osnabrück, which already succeded in Berlin, Bremen und Hannover. Just one week later, he had already reviewed the member list of the Osnabruecker Tennis Club (OTC) and among them chosen some 50 people, who he thought could be interested to become a golfer.

Besides that, the time for changes was there. Shortly after the desparing years of world war 2 der unmittelbaren Nachkriegszeit: Allmählich waren die Verhältnis, people are longing to learn something new - and the properity years, later on called the times of the German "Wirtschaftswunder", just started in those days.

People in the midth of the fifties were longing for something exciting  – and "Golf" became a matter of interest in the city of Osnabrueck.

 
 

The foundation

On the 4th of February 1955 a small group of 60 persons, curious about the new sport "Golf", came together in the rooms of the Osnabruecker Chamber of Commerce. There was only one topic on the agenda: How to found a golf club in the Osnabruecker region.

Invited was an golf expert, bank director Holland from Hannover, who not only was a member of the Hannover Golf Club, but also the treassurer of the DGV (the German Golf Association. He talked about the basics of founding a golf club, finding land for 9 holes, creating tees, fairways and greens - and last but not least financing it all. The result: The first Osnabruecker Golf Club could be done, it only would take 150.000 DM, and some 100 enthusastic people to join the club. On the spot, 32 attendees signed the certificate of incorparation and thus sealed the foundation of the OGC. Today you find this certificate in a frame near the front door of our restaurant  in the club foyer.

This optimistic mood spreaded like a wildfire among the citizens of Osnabrück. Only 3 months later the newly founded club already counted over 135 members, so that the next job could be started: the purchase of a property, suited to host 9 holes and a club house for at least 300 members. A task force was started, with five peer persons in front, who were Wilhelm Karmann, Hans Richter, Hugo iegers, Dr. Richard Frieß und Paul Meyer, all of them well respected business men, who new very well what to do. And they did!

The founders

There was enthusiasm enough - but don't forget: There was nothing else in the beginning  -  there was no board of directors, no club manager, no club home,  even no golf course.  There was no deep knowledge about golf, and even more, there was only little money.

Financing was the biggest problem. So the idea was born to establish the Jeggen foundation company
to take care for the money needed. This financing company was founded on 22. Juni 1955, and even on that very day applied the major portion of the total money needed to start the project.

The rest of the needed funds was attributed by some Clubmembers themselves. They also signed shares of a minimum of 1.000 DM or more,  and this money also belonged to the fund raising company, not to the club. Those two institutions were cleary devided – to prevent the loss of the   property just in case, if golf in Osnabrueck should fail and the Osnabrücker Golf Club (OGC) should became bankrupt.  Thus it wasn't the OGC to buy the ground for the first nine holes and to build the new club house some years later - it was the Jeggen foundation company. This company made golf in Osnabrück happen - but in the years to follow it retired more and more from, left the stakes of the club to the members and thus proved itself as a very efficient but short term foundation solution.

There are two things left to mention, because they are charasteric for the special foundation spirit in those early days of the OGC: First of all, among the foundators were many Osnabrücker celebrities, who spend money for the idea but never played Golf in later years. Just because they liked the idea and wanted to promote it. Also many of the fund spenders later on donated their share to the club when they realized, that Golf would flourish in Osnabrueck and the OGC never would fail. Step by step, the OGC got more and more shares and thus, by today, owns the biggest part of the land, on which he plays. A small part of the golf course still belongs to the foundation company, but without financial impact for the OGC, because the only statuary purpose of foundation company was and is to make golf in Jeggen happen - free of lease. Thus the Osnabrücker Golf Club is lucky to be among of the few German Golf Clubs which nowadays play "on own land".

 
 

Building the first 9 holes

On December 12th 1955,  things took their running: The foundation company purchased land at the top of the Wellinger Berg, land enough to erect a nine hole golf course on it.

But more than a year should pass by until the first ball should be stroked in Jeggen. The first OGC competition took place on May 26 th 1957. Not on the 9 hole course - only on the driving range.
The 9-hole-course still was "in progress". After a long-term-struggle with the local authorities, after years of planting, seeding and caring, all of that strongly supported by all of the members.
And all of that advised and controled by the well reputed German Golf Course Architect H.E.Gärtner, who was later on superseded by the well reputed Netherland Golf Course Architect Frank Pennink,
who supervised the latest activities. Under his directions, end of 1956, the nine fairways were marked out and the course shaped.Thus, purchasing land and building the course only took one single year.
A remarkable short time which is a good Zeichen dafür, that man and woman, who foundeg the OGC, were real entrepreneurs, who were familiar with tackling things which are to be done, even against all odds and the local authorities.

Last but not least they found our first Greenkeeper. It was Friedhelm Hagedorn, who not only took care of tees, fairways and greens, bit, together with his wife Erika,  übernahm die Clubgastronomie.

Playing Golf before the Course

 

Imaging: there are golf club members, but no golf course yet.
How to play golf though? The first attempts were made on the attic of a company,
run by one of the founders. Which was Fa. Hagedorn, right in the center of Osnabrück
were a mat was placed, and a huge net, in which the golf beginners could hit.
That was all. Despite the fact, that the founders also found a golf pro.
In 1956, the first lessons are led by Mr. Edwards, and in 1957 by Mr. Dunston.
From 9 am to 7 pm, all lesson hours were really booked out.
Most of the members had many training lessons , and some already had good
golfing skills, before they could imaging how it feels to play on a course.
Nevertheless, to start the way of golfing was achievable. Training lessons
were affordable, membership fees were affordable, Golf in the early days
of the OGC had nothing to do with the common accusation, that the Golf sport
is just a sport for some rich people and not a common sport for common people.

People at that time had to worry about other things. Especially how to get a golf equipment.
To get good golf clubs was the major problem at that time. A much bigger problem
than to pay the membership fees. That's why during the pioneer years
people normally shared golf clubs, so that one member got the straight numbers
and the other one got the odd ones.

Sharing clubs was not the only thing to share in the early times.
Sharing the duties were another thing. In those days, there were no club manager
no club secretary, no greenkeeper, no staff at all. What had to be done
had to be done by the members themselves. For many years to come...

 
 

Platzeröffnung

Dann endlich, ab Mai 1957, schwangen die Schläger erstmals in Jeggen: zunächst auf der Übungsbahn, später, am 26. August, erstmals offiziell auf dem ganzen Platz. Das Osnabrücker Tagesblatt berichtete damals: „Man genießt einen herrlichen Rundblick über die neun Golfbahnen der Anlage, die rings von hohen Fichtenwäldern umgeben ist [...]. Man kann schon heute, nachdem die Anlage im Rohbau fertiggestellt ist [...], feststellen, dass hier eine der schönsten Sportanlagen des Osnabrücker Regierungsbezirks im Entstehen ist.“ Zwar ist einem heute ein Rundblick über die Anlage verwehrt, so sehr sind die Setzlinge von einst in die Höhe geschossen – doch kann es keinen Zweifel geben, dass der Journalist damals mit seiner Prophezeiung richtig lag. Ende September beging man die Platzeröffnung mit einer Sportveranstaltung mit befreundeten Clubs. Zur Feier der Einweihung nahmen die OGCler einen besonderen Feiertag gewissermaßen vorweg: Als man sich 1957 zu einer samstäglichen Tee- und Cocktailstunde zu Ehren der Platzeröffnung im Clubhaus einfand, schrieb man den 3. Oktober.

Sportliche Anfänge

Umgeben vom heute selbstverständlichen Komfort des OGC, fällt es nicht ganz leicht, sich die Atmosphäre des ersten Spielbetriebs zu ergegenwärtigen. Manche, die damals dabei waren, charakterisieren sie mit den Worten „Pfadfindertum für Erwachsene“: Ein erfolgreicher Unternehmer wie Jochen Hellmann campierte am Wochenende wie selbstverständlich im Wald, um den Weg zu den Golfbahnen für seine Familie und sich möglichst kurz zu halten. Als Clubhaus fungierte eine Baracke des ehemaligen
Reichsarbeitsdienstes, die noch in jedem Winkel an ihre ursprüngliche Bestimmung erinnerte. Unvergessen bleibt der Gründergeneration, wie man sich hier an Sonntagen einfand: im rohen Zwirn, auf wackligem Gartengestühl, zusammengepfercht zwischen allerlei Gerät zur Rasenpflege, mehr im Biwak als im Clubhaus einer Golfanlage. Und doch: Der Kanonenofen bullerte, irgendwer hatte immer Kaffee und Kuchen vorbereitet, und niemand hätte die Zusammengehörigkeit dieser frühen Tage gegen etwas anderes eintauschen mögen. Bei aller landschaftlicher Schönheit zeigte sich damals auch eine Schwachstelle des Geländes am Wellinger Berg: Der Boden besteht aus steinigem Mergel mit einer sehr dünnen Humusdecke. So blieb es nicht aus, dass die ersten OGCler mehr Steine als Divots aus dem Boden schlugen. Einmal im Jahr kamen die Mitglieder deshalb zur „Stein-Zeit“ zusammen und sammelten die überflüssigen Findlinge gemeinsam ein.

 
 

Golf in guter Gesellschaft

Das gesellschaftliche Leben des OGC blühte fast vom Tag der Gründung an. Das traditionelle Grünkohl-Essen im Februar bedeutete für viele das Ende des golferischen Winterschlafs und läutete den Reigen der gesellschaftlichen Veranstaltungen im Golferjahr ein. Damals qualifizierte man sich zum Grünkohlmonarchen sinnigerweise durch die Menge des verzehrten Grünkohls, was geradezu unausweichlich Günther à Brassard zum ersten König krönte. Ein glücklicherweise wenig staatstragend abgefasstes Protokoll regelte die Rechte und Pflichten der Majestäten – Humor zählte dabei klar zur ersten Royalistenpflicht. Zur Jahresmitte ging es an die Verleihung des Präsidentenpreises, ein vom jeweiligen Präsidenten ausgerichtetes Fest, mit dem ursprünglich verdiente Vereinsmitglieder geehrt wurden. Im Laufe der Jahre entwickelte es sich zu einem Großereignis im OGC mit zunehmendem Anspruch an den Geldbeutel der amtierenden Präsidenten und tollen Preisen für die glücklichen Gewinner. Preise für fast alle hielt dagegen die so genannte Martinsgans im Herbst bereit. Diese Institution war ausgesprochen typisch für die frühen Jahre des OGC: Nahezu jeder gewann etwas, wenn nicht beim Essen ein paar Zentimeter um die Hüften, so doch beim Spiel Würste, Geflügelkeulen, eine Gans – oder sogar, als bislang einmaliger Clou einer Preisverleihung, ein lebendes Federvieh!