Union Sunshine Boys Golf Club continues to thrive

THE SUNSHINE BOYS union retirees golf club has been hitting the links for over 30 years and currently numbers more than 100 members. – Labor Tribune photo


“The Sunshine Boys” union retirees golf club, numbering 85, descended on the links at Dardenne on June 8 to enjoy a day of free drinks and greens fees courtesy of the O’Brien Law firm.

When the 8:30 a.m. starting time arrived, dozens of golf carts charged down the cart paths to the golfers’ respective holes to tee off for a day of fun on a sunny spring morning perfect for the occasion.

The club, comprised of approximately 100 retired union members, was formed over 30 years ago by a group that included Don Loseman, Dick Sullivan, Micky McLaughlin, and Jim Callahan.

“We started playing, and a couple more guys joined us later,” Loseman said. “As it grew, we made a committee and decided to organize. We had the guys chip in about $20 for dues, got new players, and appointed a treasurer.

“To make up a team, we’d throw names in a hat, then pick out names to see what team you’re on,” he said. “As we progressed and got more guys, we had someone make up the teams, depending on the level of abilities.

“We don’t play handicap,” he said. “We play a four-man scramble, and that way, nobody gets embarrassed!

“One rule we made at the very beginning was only AFL-CIO construction workers could play,” Loseman said. “Now, we have someone from about every union playing with us, so it’s turned out to be a nice club.

“You’ll meet guys you worked with 20 years ago,” he said. “Now, many guys are playing, and their fathers started with us.”

Loseman’s son, Brian, said the club changes the location weekly since some members live south, north, or in St. Charles. Both he and his father are retirees of Insulators Local 1.

“We try to get to courses convenient to everyone,” he said.

The club takes a road trip to Pena, Ill., twice a year, in the spring and fall.

“Somebody said it was a good golf course, with a hotel and restaurant right there, it, and we’re going up there a couple of times a year,” Loseman said.

“It’s a three-day trip, and there’s probably 50 guys that go,” Brian Loseman added.

GOLF PARTNERS Frank Kilcullen (left) and Tom Reiter head out for a day on the links. – Labor Tribune photo

While the club plays every Thursday, mid-April through October, and longer, weather permitting, Brian said they have played in February. “If we get a 45-degree day, we’ll be out there,” he said. “We’ll play year ‘round if we can!”

Steve Sullivan, a retired Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 562 member, picks the courses and organizes the teams.

“My job is to schedule the courses that we go to because we go to 13 different courses in 26 weeks, and we play them twice during the year,” he said.

“Everybody in the group has to belong to a union,” he said. “Last year, we had 102 guys – electricians, fitters, plumbers, ironworkers, elevator installers, pipe covers, firemen, schoolteachers, so it’s a pretty diverse group. 

“We have one lady, Renee Betlach, a retired Local 562 pipefitter, and we’re looking for more ladies,” he said.

Jerry Fitzgerald, a partner with the O’Brien Law Firm, said the firm started sponsoring the group five years ago.

“We like sponsoring the union trades and retirees, especially because we’re involved with some retiree groups, and this is an extension of that,” Fitzgerald said. “With the combination of the different trade groups playing together as retirees every Thursday, we saw this as an opportunity to support them and their organization playing together as a club and have some fun with it.”

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