The Labor Day weekend would never be complete without the Neil Gutshall Memorial Golf Tournament held at Holly Meadows Golf Course. Whether the weather cooperates or not, the participants are extremely appreciative of the tournament and the competitive atmosphere. However, this year the participants were handed two gorgeous days of a wonderful competitive golfing event. This golfing event is named for Coach Neil Gutshall because of his love of the game and the course itself. He volunteered many tireless hours at Holly Meadows to provide a place in Tucker County that all could afford to play golf and follow their dreams. While many of the competitors realize that a PGA career is not on their radar, this year a young competitor’s goal, Lucas Riggleman of Petersburg, is that one day his dream and his intentions is to be competing with the professionals. His father, Bill Riggleman, said, “this has been his dream from a very young age.” Coach Gutshall’s name is very much respected throughout the community and his love of coaching and his love of golf draws the admiration of this community and beyond. One sponsor formerly from Tucker County but now lives in California said, “what a nice way to honor such a humble man.” Coach Gutshall never spoke an unkind word about any student athlete but because of his demeaner he was very much appreciated and valued as one of our greatest coaches in Tucker County. Holly Meadows Golf Course exists in its present condition because of the foundation that Coach Gutshall provided. Many volunteers have followed in his footsteps to keep the Golf Course in its pristine condition. One competitor said, “you guys have a diamond of a golf course here.” I asked what he meant, and he said, “for a small golf course, its beautiful surroundings as well as the course conditions itself is unparallel to many courses I’ve played.” Everyone agrees that the tournament is one that continues to draw many competitors including the two from Texas that always schedule their vacation so they can be in this tournament. They said, “this is one tournament we do not want to miss and even though we may not be in the championship flight we can compete with our like abilities and still have some of the best competition and fun.” One gentleman competes every year with his son and declares, “unless I’m not physically able, I and my son will never miss this tournament.” He said, “even if we win nothing, this event is one of the best golf tournaments and the food is outstanding.” Holly Meadows Golf Course is under the direction of Tucker County Parks and Recreation Board and they could not be more pleased with this tournament’s success. However, such a tournament of this magnitude, could not be realized without community supporters. The donations solely are used for the maintenance of the Golf Course. On Saturday, St. George Medical Clinic provided a $50.000.00-dollar prize for a hole-in-one on the #6 par 3 and on Sunday and the same hole, Performance Chevrolet of Elkins provided a new car for a hole-in-one. While no one won these prizes either day, it goes to the integrity of the tournament that such support is provided by two wonderful businesses. Many businesses contributied donations and/or gifts
The tournament consists of a two-person scramble ranging from the very young to our seniors. This year’s field consisted of 102 golfers, 51 teams. All competitors agreed the tournament’s organization was impeccable and was enjoyed by all. On the first day, all competitors meet and go over the general rules specific for this tournament. Each day a luncheon is provided for all competitors ending with an award’s program on the final day. On Sunday, the competitors are placed in flights according to Round 1 results of the competition. The Championship Flight was extremely competitive and exciting. It was declared a tie even though a play-off was held. After three holes, darkness rendering the inability to see the golf balls was cause to declare a tie between the teams of Cooper & Forsythe and Hamrick & Stout. Winners in Flight 1 were: (tied) Lotus & Smith and Clevenger & Clevenger: Flight 2 team winner was Haddox & Haddox; Flight 3 team winner was: Ellmore & McGee: Flight 4 team winner was: Carr & Graham: Flight 5 team winner was: Higgins and Laulis.
Tom Gutshall, son of Neil Gutshall and President of the Golf Course Committee and his brother Bob Gutshall said, “we know that Dad would be very pleased with the golf tournament as well the preservation of Holly Meadows Golf Course.” Both Tom and Bob work tirelessly to sustain this small golf course described as a diamond in the sky. The Tucker County Parks and Recreation concur with Tom and Bob in that this annual event is such a huge success and one that continues to help maintain this beautiful golf course. However, without the community support it would be extremely difficult to keep this golf course in its present condition. It is with much gratitude and thanks of the Tucker County Parks and Recreation Board and the Holly Meadows Golf Course Committee to the community and its supporters for their continued support of this golf course and the Annual Neil Gutshall Memorial Golf Tournament.