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Updated 12:15 PM September 2, 2008
 

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Spotlight: Connections on green reveal golf course manager's story

In 48 years at the U-M Golf Course, Charlie Green has known the sports greats and even met a president.

"I like to tell people I've been blessed to be on a first-name basis with people here that you read about in books," says Green, golf course manager.
(Photo by Scott Galvin, U-M Photo Services)

They include Wolverine sports legends Fritz Crisler, Bump Elliot and Bo Schembechler, the latter of whom Green says, "He hated golf at first but he really got to like it."

One could say that Green also has made his own name in U-M sports lore. He is known for his staunch support of the University Women's Golf Club that has played every Tuesday morning since the 1960s and for founding the women's Charlie Green Classic.

"It has developed into an annual social time when the 9-holers get to play with the 18-holers and the new members get to meet everybody," Green says.

Just across Stadium Boulevard, Green has worked at the scorer's table for men's basketball since 1967 as a statistician, scoreboard operator and official timer. He's also been statistician/timer at U-M football games for 41 years.

Tee No. 18 is one of his favorite spots on the course. "It goes across a pond; in every direction you look it's like a picture postcard." But his real favorite hole is No. 6, which one of his fraternity brothers endowed in Green's name.

Beyond the rolling 18th fairway and the low-slung brick façade clubhouse, Green spots South Quad. "I was on the seventh floor when I was a freshman," he says.

After attending U-M for four years, the Dayton, Ohio, native continued his education at Eastern Michigan University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in 1959 and master's degree in 1965. Green taught algebra and geometry, first in the Willow Run schools and then in Taylor. Still, Green chose to live in Ann Arbor.

After school let out in 1960 Green, an avid golfer who shot in the high 70s, took a summer job at the U-M Golf Course. He's worked there ever since.

"I liked being outdoors in beautiful surroundings. The course was designed by one of the great architects of all time, Alister MacKenzie (who built Augusta National, home of The Masters)," Green says. "I tell people all the time whether they're a golfer or not, everybody in the University family should be proud of such a jewel; it's such a gorgeous piece of real estate."

After retiring from teaching in 1993 Green took a full-time job as golf course manager.

On a typical workday, one can find Green in his office that is chock full of sports memorabilia including baseballs signed by local and national sports figures who have passed through and wall-mounted photos of sports luminaries.

Green met alumnus and former President Gerald Ford during a golf outing in the 1980s. When Schembechler hosted an annual golf outing honoring Millie Schembechler, guests included then-Gov. John Engler, Pete Rose and Bobby Knight.

On a normal workday Green takes phone calls and plans operations ranging from golf outings to staff schedules to payroll. "Our staff are either students or retirees. They're all golfers. We have a lot of fun, everybody likes each other."

Green and wife Jean have two children, Sean and Eileen. "We enjoy spending time with our kids. She doesn't attend the games anymore but loves Michigan football on TV.

"I've had a blessed life here. The athletic department has been a second family to me," Green says.

The weekly Spotlight features staff members at the University. To nominate a candidate, please contact the Record staff at urecord@umich.edu.

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