Spring has sprung and the Belmont Hills Country Club is ready for the golf season to kick into full gear.
Actually, for BHCC Golf Professional Ron Baker and his staff, the season has never stopped on the par 72 layout. Because of the un-Ohiolike mild winter, players were on the course basically all year.
"It was a great winter," Baker said. "It was a bonus to have play all winter long. We're anxious to get started."
Baker is encouraged by Belmont Hills' membership as the economy continues to rebound and with the influx of the oil and gas industry coming to the Ohio Valley, that's also provided a subtle lift.
"We're starting to get some feedback from all of the oil and gas stuff, which is really good," Baker said. "We've got several membership offers going"
The club will once again host its junior program and women's clinics early in the summer months. The junior clinic will begin on Tuesday, June 5. The women's clinics wil begin on May 15.
The two highlights of the club tournament schedule are the 44th annual Men's Member-Guest Tournament and the annual Club Championship.
The Member-Guest will be held from July 12-14. The Club Championship is set for Aug. 11-12.
James Carson is once again the defending club champion on the men's side, while Esta Maloney's stranglehold on the women's title continued last summer as well.
The first Belmont Hills Tournament of the season was the Snowbird Scramble, which was held on March 18.
The winning team was comprised of Jason Balcar, Jack Carpenter, Ernie Wilson and Dr. Rob Looby. The second place team comprised of Larry Landtiser, Jason Woodford, Dick Cope and Josh Newell. Third place squad consisted of Dave Stack, Bryan Woodford, Terry Carson and Bill Sokolowski.
Recording skins during the tournament were Ryan Mellott, Chuck Newell, Phil Pata and Stan Duplaga.
Along with the upwards of 25 club tournaments and events, BHCC will play host to 14 outside golf outings. Two of the biggest are the Jeffrey Showalter Memorial, which is slated for Aug. 15 and the Phil Niekro outing, which is set for Friday, June 29th.
"We lost a few (outside events), but we gained a few, so we're right about where we usually are," Baker said.
A new outside event on the docket is the Tom Dowler Memorial, which is set for Monday, May 21.
Along with all of the events, clinics and tournaments, BHCC will also host demos days where the public is welcome to come test out new golf equipment for the 2012 season. Taylor Made will be on hand on Sunday, April 22 from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. and Ping will be in St. Clairsville on Sunday, April 29 also from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.
OGLEBAY PARK GOLF CLUB
The Oglebay Park Golf Club season got under way last Sunday with the Allen Kage Memorial Snowbird sponsored by the 19th Hole at the Crispin Course with 95 players.
Mike Wetzel fired a round of 63. Matt Hines finished second with a round of 63. Bryan Myers posted a 66. Bob Potts was third with a 67.
Jim Bittengle won the handicap division with a net of 59. Gary Kiedaisch and Wally Chlon both finished with a 63. Andrew Montes, Joe Templin, George Melnik and Paul Ruge all finished with a net score of 65.
Wetzel and Zach Sonnefeld each recorded a skin.
The closest to the pins were awarded to: Bob Potts (Hole 2), Jerry Ernest (Hole 5), Larry Goodnight (Hole 7), Dave Eckman (Hole 10) and Jim Monderine (Hole 13).
OGLEBAY WOMEN'S GOLF
The Oglebay Women's Golf Association is getting set for its 2012 season to get under way. The organization's annual spring banquet on April 17 at Generations. Several plans are in trhe works for the upcoming season. Along with the usual weekly events, club championship and other awards, the association plans to visit other golf courses this summer. There are spots available in the association, which features 9 and 18 hole memberships. It also has three flights to address various skill levels. If you'd like more information or have questions, please call Joyce Berdine at 304-233-4785 or Carol Lepic at 695-3282.
STEVE YOUNG had the luck of the Irish on his side when he aced the 180-yard second hole at Oglebay's Crispin Course on March 17. He used a 6-iron for his feat, which was witnessed by Robert Young, Craig Wilcox and George Cosmides.
OF THE WEEK
John Stanko sent me a tremendous email last week with a bevy of golf jokes, thoughts and observations via email. I am usually not one for forwards, per se, but these really caught my eye. They actually caught my eye enough that I'm going to offer a golf thought of the week.
This one really jumped out at me because every time I play a round of golf, I find myself wondering the same thing.
Here goes, "An interesting thing about golf is that no matter how badly you play; it is always possible to get worse."
If you've got a few memorable golf thoughts or quotes that are tasteful, please feel free to email them to me at the address below.
NEW PREP COACH
Shadyside High School hired a new golf coach at the district's most recent school board meeting. Mike Beck has been promoted to the head coaching position after Corey Martin stepped down recently. Beck inherits a Tigers' team, which should be solid and led by junior Adam Stupak.
I've been stewing over this all week. I am torn because I think a whole host of players can be there on Sunday and make a charge. I am going with Tiger Woods. I think he'll win his fifth Green Jacket and first since 2005 by virtue of a strong Saturday round and he'll fend off several challengers down the stretch. He took the biggest step last weekend when he snapped his winless streak. I think you'll be hearing "Tiger Woods is now officially back" next weekend.
Staskey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org