OFF THE TEE: Wheeling’s Vail to be inducted to W.Va. Golf HOF

WHEELING — Calling Sue Vail a pioneer of women’s golf in the Ohio Valley wouldn’t be doing her enough justice.

Because, she’s more than that. The Wheeling resident is a hall of famer.

Vail recently received word that she had been chosen for induction to the West Virginia State Golf Hall of Fame this year.

“I had no idea (the honor was coming), but I was ecstatic and very pleased when I got the news,” Vail said. “It’s a great, great honor to be chosen for the West Virginia Golf Hall of Fame.”

Vail will become just the fourth female to be enshrined.

“That’s very special to me,” Vail, who is the head women’s golf coach at Wheeling Jesuit University, said.

It doesn’t matter which portion of Vail’s resume you examine, it doesn’t take long to realize she’s more than deserving of this accolade.

Though playing golf since the age of 8, Vail didn’t get serious about the sport until she was a student at West Virginia University. Growing up in the pre Title IX era, opportunities for females in athletics weren’t nearly as plentiful as they are today.

“We didn’t have female sports in high school or in college when I was in school,” Vail said. “There simply weren’t a lot of women playing (golf) back in the 60s.”

Vail’s playing career was impressive. She captured eight West Virginia Amateur championships. She won in 1976, 1984, 85, 88, 89, 1992, 93 and 98. She also won six straight W.Va. Senior Amateur championships from 1991-96.

“I learned how to play by taking lessons from Rut Coffee at the Moundsville Country Club,” Vail said. “His lessons really got me off to the right start.”

Vail got her clubs back out after her roommate, Sally Carroll, passed away. But, the aspect of coaching and “fostering women’s golf” that way was more than enough.

“I went out and hit a few balls, but I just decided I wasn’t going to do it,” Vail said. “I’ve been dedicating (myself) to coaching and now these women are hitting the ball the way I used to, so I play through them.”

Vail has been the head coach of the Cardinals for 14 years. She’s led the program, which she founded, to four of the last five Mountain East Conference championships. She’s been named conference coach of the year three times and all told, she owns seven conference titles. She’s also a member of the U.S. Girls Junior Championship Committee..

“I think the women’s game is growing faster, by percentage, than the men’s game at the collegiate level,” Vail said. “A lot of women are really seeing the benefits of golf. It’s a lot like life because there’s no one to blame for what happens on the course but you. You have to find the best way to get out of a problem with the fewest number of strokes. It’s kind of like life.”

Vail spoke openly about the issues and questions surrounding Wheeling Jesuit University.

“Wheeling Jesuit is in good shape,” Vail said. “We eliminated some majors, but we kept the ones with the most participation and the ones that are (most) wanted by the students. We’re going to be better than we have been because we can concentrate on the majors we have and make them excellent.”

As for the golf side, Vail has a recruiting class of three players coming to join her team. Included is Buckeye Local’s Emily Holzopfel.

“The girls we have coming in are very, very good players,” Vail said. “I am encouraged by our administrative, executive staff. I believe in them and believe we’ll be fine. (The changes) had to be done.”

OGLEBAY PARK GOLF CLUB

The club kicked off its season a few weeks ago with the Pickles Eatery & Bar Three-Man Scramble.

No fewer than 108 players took part in the event, which was held at the Crispin Golf Course.

Winning the title was the trio of T.C. Chappalear, Thomas Chappalear and Travis Nelson with a round of 61. They were two shots better than Jason Grob, Jake Altmeyer and Andrew Hammond, who finished second.

Also posting a 63 en route to a third-place finish were Shawn Pennybacker, Jake Pennybacker and Bill Piko. Fourth place was captured by Scott Jackson, Hal Miller and Rick Welker. They also signed for a 63.

FIfth place — with a score of 64 — went to Ted Stupak, Adam Stupak and Doug Hennen. Sixth place, also with a 64, was captured by Tim Pelley, Mike Mazure and Paul Alig.

The skill prizes went to: Joe Reynolds (longest putt on No. 3 and closest to the pin on No. 5); John Boring (closest to the pin on No. 7) and George Templin (closest to the pin on No. 13) and Paul Alig (longest putt on No. 17).

ELKS JUNIOR TOURNAMENTS

The Wheeling Elks Lodge #28 is sponsoring a pair of junior golf tournaments. A par 3 tourney will be held at Oglebay Park on Wednesday, June 26 for ages 7-9 years old. Registration will run from 10:30 a.m. until the shotgun start at 11 a.m. The top three placers will receive an award. Refreshments will be provided after the round at the Haller Shelter.

An 18-hole event will be held at Crispin Course for players 10-18 on the same day. The event will begin with a shotgun start at 8:30 a.m. Registration will begin at 7 a.m. The 10-12 year olds will play from the gold tees, the 13-15 year olds will play from the white and 16-18 from the blue (for boys). For the girls, the 10-12 will play the gold tees, the 13-15 will play the reds and the 16-18 will play the reds. The top three players will receive awards and refreshments will be provided after the round at the Haller Shelter.

For more information, please contact Bob Joseph at 304-277-4446 or Shane Rice at 304-243-4050. Both events are open to the first 80 players.

MASTERS PICK

Rory McIlroy has been playing extremely well. I believe he will leave Augusta National with the Green Jacket.

UPCOMING SCRAMBLES

THE 28TH annual Soup Kitch of Greater Wheeling Inc. Golf scramble will be held on Friday, May 3 at 1 p.m. At Oglebay Park’s Crispin Center. The entry fee is $75 per player if registered by April 28, but it increases to $85 per player and that includes golf, cart, lunch, dinner, awards and prizes. Five levels of sponsorships are also available. For more information, or to register, please call 304-233-2992.

THE 20TH annual Sons of Italy Bellaire Lodge #754 will hold its annual golf scramble on Monday, June 3 at Oglebay Park’s Crispin Course. The event will begin with a shotgun start at 1 p.m. The entry fee is $200 for a four-man team. The cost includes golf, cart, refreshments on the course, dinner at the Haller Shelter. The top three teams will receive prizes. The event is limited to the first 36 teams to register. For more information, please contact Phil Pata at 695-0691.

THE SHAMROCK Bowling Golf Scramble will be held on July 27th at Salt Fork State Park. The event will begin with an 8 a.m. shotgun start. The cost is $60 per player or $240 per team. The top two teams will receive prizes. There will be door prizes and raffles, too.

THE BARNESVILLE Hospital Scramble will be played on Aug. 2 at Belmont Hills Country Club. A shotgun start will be held at 10 a.m. and awards and dinner are slated for 3 p.m. The 17th annual event is the largest fundraiser of the year for the hospital auxiliary.

The cost to enter is $120 per player and it includes golf, lunch, dinner, prizes and refreshments on the course. There are also four levels of sponsorships available.

For more information, contact David Phillips at 740-425-5101 or via email at dphillips@barnesvillehospital.com

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