The Old Delt Open

December 15, 2023

The Old Delt Open: 50-Year Golf Tradition Continues in Delaware

Eighteen Delts from Delta Upsilon Chapter at the University of Delaware gathered for The Old Delt Open golf tournament in June 1972 — the first of a more than 50-year tradition. They have missed only one year, with no tournament in 2020 due to the pandemic.

The Delaware Delts enjoy the two-day tournament in Wilmington each year, drawing brothers who graduated in the late 1960s and early 1970s and who have traveled back to Delaware from many states, including Texas, Florida and California.

Delta Upsilon Chapter Alumni at the 50th Old Delt Open in Delaware.
Delta Upsilon Chapter alumni gathered for the 50th Old Delt Open at the home of Don Bowlby.

Don Bowlby (Delaware, 1970) and his wife typically host the Friday night activities, including a handicap meeting to prepare for the golf tournament and a wine tasting for significant others. The golf tournament starts Saturday morning and is followed by an afternoon picnic. They begin a second round of golf on Sunday morning with another afternoon picnic with awards.

The close-knit group has grown closer over the years. “It has served that purpose, mainly because people plan on it year in, year out, to get back together on the weekend after Father’s Day every June,” Bowlby said. “Knowing it’s going to be an event at that time, people plan their vacations and schedules around it. I guess they have a good enough time that they’re willing to come back.”

The event started with only Delts but has now expanded to include family and close friends. “It gives the next generation, our sons and now grandsons and wives, a chance to get together, talk about old times and tell stories that may or may not be true,” Bowlby said.

Bowlby’s two sons and a grandson played this year, making it the first time they had three generations in the tournament. He and Bruce Roberts (Delaware, 1970). have played all rounds, playing two rounds each year.

Those who don’t play golf are also welcome to attend; families have always been involved. At one point, they set up a volleyball court, and they included lawn games at the picnic.

Bowlby said one reason the event has worked so well is that everyone is willing to help, cook burgers, set up the picnic tent and chairs, calculate the scores, and arrange starting times. He notes Lee Yeager (Delaware, 1968) gathers prizes all year and helps in too many ways to mention.

“And it absolutely wouldn’t happen without my wife Sue. She accepts having a party every June and helps do all the things I wouldn’t think to do,” Bowlby said. 

Delaware Delt's first Old Delt Open in 1972.
Delaware Delt's first Old Delt Open in 1972.


The Old Delt Open 40th Anniversary
The Old Delt Open 40th Anniversary