They got up before 6 a.m. Saturday morning to prepare. Tents had to be constructed, T-shirts sorted, electronics untangled, buckets placed around Old Campus and tennis balls — so many tennis balls — stacked at the ready. Everything had to be ready and waiting for the early-morning golfers, and it was up to the sisters of the Kappa Delta sorority to see to that.
By midmorning, music pounded from the tent area. Caddies guided students around the Sunken Garden and the surrounding area, enabling golfers to swipe, with varying degrees of success, at their targets. The sun made everything seem brighter — not that it needed to since team members’ costumes were bright enough. Princesses intermingled with superheroes and characters from various movies and TV shows; some teams went for a theme, and some just seemed to have gone for Just Plain Weird. Tour groups of high school students and their confounded parents eyed the goings-on suspiciously.
Yes, it was that time of year again: Campus Golf.
Campus Golf, Kappa Delta’s annual philanthropic fundraiser, is one of the biggest Greek events on campus. Avalon, an organization supporting victims of domestic abuse, receives 80 percent of its profits, while Prevent Child Abuse America receives the remaining 20 percent. Last year Campus Golf raised around $10,000 and about 500 teams participated. This year there were over 530 teams.
The teams, made up of either four or five people, made their way, with tennis balls and golf clubs, around one of three courses of eight holes on Old Campus. Teams were encouraged to wear costumes or come up with a team theme, and prizes were awarded to the most creative.
“Campus Golf is probably one of the best days at William and Mary in the spring,” Christine Kline ’13 said. “Everyone gets super creative with their group costume ideas, probably more so than on Halloween.”
Kappa Delta has been doing Campus Golf since 1997.
“Campus Golf is like a holiday. It’s a chance for students to let loose and have a great day with their friends,” Megan Burns ’12 said. “We work so hard at school all year long, so this is a day where there are no rules and no one has to worry about [classwork].”
Because it brings in so much participation from the student body, Campus Golf takes a massive amount of effort: The Kappa Delta sisters begin planning it in September. Seventeen separate committees handle everything from T-shirts to sponsorship to publicity, and all 90 sisters caddy during the event.
“Communication is a big factor,” Maisha Hossain ’11 said, who headed publicity for Campus Golf. “There are a lot of logistics. We have to contact the school and the police. We have to make sure it runs smoothly.”
Other than communication, hoping the event turns out well is a major concern.
“I think the hardest part is the anticipation. Will the event be as successful as the previous year? Will people like the shirts?” Burns said. “Once you have a popular event, there is a lot of pressure to maintain the success.”
Alcohol can also give rise to many liabilities during Campus Golf. Many teams arrive drunk or attempt to drink during the event.
“It’s a dry event, but people do drink,” Hossain said. “If they’re really drunk, we don’t let them play, or [we] ask them to leave. There have been accidents in the past, so safety is our main concern.”
Despite all the work, those who put Campus Golf together say they find it to be rewarding.
“There is no way we could pull this event off without the help of everyone in our sorority,” Tassia Reinhold ’12. “But it’s more than just that. It’s the encouragement someone will give you when you’re feeling stressed.”
Outside of the sorority, sisters said they see the event as an important part of campus life.
“The best part of Campus Golf is that it brings together the entire William and Mary community,” Burns said. “I love spending a day with my best friends, whether it is KDs or teams that I am caddying.”
By early evening, the grass was scuffed, the tents sagged a little and countless dirty tennis balls littered the ground. The last straggling golfers cleared out, and it was time to clean up. The girls rooted out all the balls, took down the equipment, and cleaned up litter. When they finished, the only things that indicated the event ever happened were hundreds of new profile pictures on Facebook, as well as a wide assortment of bizarre new outfits stowed away in students’ closets.