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The Press Box: Golf Returns

By Randy Rutherford - Sports Writer | Jun 16, 2021

As the summer season kicks off in earnest, all golfers know what I’m talking about when I say it’s been a very long off season. At long last we are booking tee times and heading out to the fairways, and every year it never happens fast enough for this avid golfer.

Golf enthusiasts enjoy the start up of the PGA Tour in January. We are teased and tempted by beautiful scenes from Torrey Pines in San Diego or the famous Waste Management Phoenix Open TPC in Scottsdale. Then we start daydreaming about our own opportunity to swing a club. Depending on where you live in the country getting a new set of irons, a new driver or a three-wood for Christmas only makes you want spring to get here faster, because you can’t wait to try out your shiny new clubs. It is just like being a kid and Santa bringing you a new bike only to find Christmas morning your neck of the woods got hammered with snow. Sometimes it’s hard to wait, but remember that saying, “The longer you have to wait for something, the more you will appreciate it when it arrives!”

When I first met my wife 46 years ago, she had little knowledge of the game. Golf certainly is different than other sports. No one ever gets traded, no major league manager ever gets axed that anyone cares about and there are no training camps, but over the years she has grown to understand and encourage my love of the game. And if I am honest, I’ll admit I have spent a “Mother’s Day” or two on the golf course with her permission.

Everybody goes into the season thinking this is the year I’m shooting my best score ever! Golf is a humbling game. It gives you dramatic highs and frustrating lows. Unfortunately for many amateurs the lows outweigh the highs, but there’s nothing like birdying number 18. It only makes you want to come back again tomorrow. I lived in Michigan for 25 years and had to endure some very harsh winters. The public course I loved and played was buried under two feet of snow from December through March. When the bright March sun started to melt the snowpack and spots of green turf would emerge along the 15th fairway close to our home, I couldn’t think of anything but opening day.

I grew up watching golfing legends like Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Arnold Palmer. The 1960’s was a decade that saw golf take off in popularity mainly carried on the shoulders of these players. All three of these guys had television charisma that made them the perfect ambassadors at the beginning of the game’s growth.

Another consistent winner in the late 60s and 70s was Lee Trevino. Lee is famous for saying, “You don’t know what pressure is until you play for five bucks with only two bucks in your pocket.” I know there are many of you out there that love to gamble when it comes to golf; it adds a special pressure. It’s not always about the money, but who hands whom the two dollars, or five dollars or whatever you are betting.

And let’s not forget the 19th hole where you can always get a refreshing beverage of your choice. And is it just me or does it seem after a round of golf that cheeseburger never tasted better? Strong friendships are built on the golf course mainly because there’s honor in golfers. A golfer is a self policing individual, who know the rules. These rules can hurt you or help you depending on the situation. It’s the only sport I know where you call a penalty on yourself.

My hope in this press box is to encourage young and old alike, to get out and enjoy the outdoors while learning a new sport or sharpening your golf game skills. We are fortunate to have several different opportunities for golfers within an easy hour drive of Sistersville with all offering very affordable green fees, carts and well kept conditions.

Oglebay Golf Resort on Lodge Drive in Wheeling spotlights 3 courses that challenge all skill levels. Courses featured are the Speidel Golf Club, the Arnold Palmer Course which is the newest and Crispin Golf Course. Speidel was the home to the West Virginia LPGA classic for 11 years. Even if your golf game is off the day you visit the scenery is beautiful tucked back in the rolling hills of West Virginia.

Moundsville Country Club is a private golf course south of Moundsville along Route 2 and is now open to public play after 12 o’clock daily. Fees for non-members range from $40 weekdays and $45 on weekends. You better hurry if you want to play Moundsville because it is rumored they will be sold and closing at the end of this year.

Sistersville Country Club is a course I have featured in past articles. This beauty is still one of my favorite 9 hole courses in the valley and is laid out beautifully along the Ohio River. Green fees, including cart, range from $20 weekdays to $25 on the weekends which is a great value. The small greens and thick rough with different tee placements lead to a challenging day of golf. An added plus is the wonderful front porch. It is the perfect place for fellowship, a beverage of choice and cooling shade after a hot day in the sun.

The 9 hole St. Marys Golf Course on Pleasants Highway in St. Marys features 2,404 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 32. It is a shorter golf course with several par 3’s. St. Mary’s golf course opened in 1934. Green Fees are $25 including a cart.

The 18-hole Golf Club of West Virginia facility in Waverly, West Virginia features 6,048 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 70. The golf course opened in 1959. The course offers three sets of tee boxes for a fun but challenging golf experience. Green Fees are $25 including cart.

There are many choices to get out and play in the Ohio Valley. I have mentioned just a few but regardless of where you decide to play, you can’t go wrong with any of these courses.