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WVGA plays big role in Greenbrier Classic

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The West Virginia Golf Association's footprint is large in the Mountain State, but it gets even bigger during the PGA Tour's Greenbrier Classic.

"We're one of the largest ticket sellers,'' said WVGA executive director Ken Tackett.

"Of the thousands of volunteers, the overwhelming majority of them are from our organization. It's either a Greenbrier employee or WVGA employee or committee person.''

Founded in 1913 and celebrating 100 years, the WVGA's mission is to preserve and protect the traditions of golf in the Mountain State. The WVGA carries on its rich tradition by being ever present at the Classic.

The WVGA handles everything at the state's premier golf event from carrying the scoring placards during rounds to player support to transportation to the practice range.

"We're there to supplement [The Greenbrier resort staff] that week and take pressure off what they do,'' Tackett said. "Those programs are a huge undertaking. We focus on the other stuff. I don't think we could do any more.''

Tackett said the WVGA does whatever it takes to keep the tournament on track from 5:30 in the morning to 9 at night.

Before last year's event, the June 29 derecho hit and toppled several trees on the Old White TPC course, which required volunteers to work even longer hours.

"It's always great for us,'' Tackett said, "doing what it takes from picking up twigs after a derecho comes in or cleaning carts at the end of the day, we're there.''

Tackett said as long as the Greenbrier Classic is at the resort, his organization will put its full weight behind the tournament.

"We're behind it 100 percent and we've got to continue to make it better,'' he said. "It's a week for the state to shine. It's not just a golf tournament. It's an opportunity for the world to see our beautiful state.'' 

Monte Ortel, executive director of the Greenbrier Classic, said the partnership with the WVGA is invaluable.

"They organize and run 180 events during the year so they have integrated themselves into the golf world here in West Virginia,'' he said.

"They assist in marketing our product with their membership base. They support our volunteers. It's been a very good partnership and valuable to both. I look at the Greenbrier Classic as a public relations tool to drive golf.''

Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at 304-348-4811 or tatkinson@wvgazette.com.


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