By Mark Schmetzer
Janie Dumler Klare knows well Cincinnati’s Legends of Golf program – from behind the scenes as the long-time coordinator. Klare will experience the event from the other side on August 15. Accomplished on the course and active off it, Klare will be honored at Kenwood Country Club as the 2018 Legends of Golf honoree.
“I was quite overwhelmed when I got the phone call,” said the Montgomery resident, 53, who plays out of O’Bannon Creek and Traditions after previously belonging to Cincinnati and Coldstream. “I don’t know if I’m a legend. Maybe it’s because I’ve been an active participant. It’s very exciting. I know the event from the inside out, but I’ve always been on the other end of it.”
This year’s Legends event, held biennially, is scheduled to open with the shotgun start to a 12:30 p.m. round of golf, followed by a cocktail reception and dinner and the award program. Former television sports reporter Dennis Janson will introduce Klare.
Klare works full-time out of her home as the business development coordinator for MegaCorp Logistics, a company that provides freight transportation arrangements for North American transportation providers and carriers. Bob Klare is MegaCorp president. Janie’s working arrangement allows her to parent effectively and indulge her golf passion.
To say that passion is in her blood is not hyperbole. Her father and grandfather both were scratch golfers. The late Louise Kepley, a 1998 Legend of Golf, was her aunt. Alex Kepley, who’s coached St. Xavier to Ohio high school boys’ golf state championships, is a cousin. “I’ve been playing competitive golf since I was 8 years old,” said Klare, who grew up in Hyde Park. She played on the boys’ team at Summit Country Day and on the men’s team at Xavier University before starting with Bob a family of three daughters – Abby, 19, Alex, 18, and Lauren 17.
While Abby played golf at Ursuline Academy, Alex gravitated to soccer and Lauren leaned toward basketball, reflecting Janie’s versatility. “I played five varsity sports in four years at Summit Country Day,” she recalled. “Dick Plummer, who was the pro at Camargo, told me, ‘You really are a good golfer – a natural. If you want to be serious about it, those other sports have to go.’ I’ve always loved it. My favorite thing to do today is practice.
“I have some great golf stories. The friendships you make, the opportunities you develop, the integrity of competitive golfers is significant in our sport. You learn an awful lot about people.”
Practice has paid off in a distinguished career that includes Women’s Met championships in 1985 and 1989, but she considers her most significant accomplishment to be the string of Ohio tournaments she’s won.
“The Ohio state women’s amateur would be my biggest win because of how tough the field is,” she said. “A lot of people don’t realize the level of talent around the state. I won the Junior Met twice, the girls Ohio State junior state tournament, the Ohio State Amateur and the Women’s Ohio State Senior Amateur. I’ve gone all the way up the chain. That’s significant. I’ve lost more than I’ve won, but I’ve run the gamut, and I don’t know of anyone else who’s done that. I haven’t researched it, but I’ve talked to a lot of people, and none of them can think of anybody else who’s done that.”
“That is quite an accomplishment,” long-time friend Lynn Thompson said. “To play at that level for a span of years from junior to over 50 is pretty strong. What a lot of people may not realize is how much she’s given back to the game – quietly serving on boards and committees. She’s always been supportive of women’s golf in the area and around the state.”
Besides coordinating the Legends of Cincinnati Golf program for more than 10 years, Klare also has served on the boards of the Greater Cincinnati Women’s Golf Association and the Greater Cincinnati Golf Association, the GCWGA president and past president and publicity chairperson.
The Legends of Golf program was devised in 1981 to, according to invitations to the event, “identify and honor individuals who significantly influenced amateur golf in Cincinnati,” Klare read. Individuals were honored annually starting in 1982 until recently, when it became at her suggestion a biennial event.
Award winners are chosen by a committee chaired by Bruce Rotte. Thompson, Carl Tuke, Art Fischer and Taylor Metcalfe also are on the committee.
“There were other names discussed, but to be honest, it was a no-brainer,” said Thompson, who suspects she’s known Klare for more than 40 years. “There really was no tipping point. The chairman presented some names, said something about Janie and the rest of us chimed in. The rest of the discussion was about whether to have her as a single honoree or have someone else with her, but with her record and her contributions and her charity work and her volunteering, we felt it was appropriate to recognize her by herself.”
A plaque with the Legends names will hang for two years at her home club and she will receive an award that she expects will brighten her home for years. “It’s a little overwhelming,” she said. “The names on that plaque make you feel a little bit insignificant.”