The drive back to Iowa took us through West Virginia where a stop at White Sulphur Springs brought us to the Greenbrier Resort. The resort hosts a wide array of activities including horseback riding, hunting, fishing, hiking, kayaking, biking, ice skating, mountain biking, falconry, tennis, swimming, and a casino.
With 721 rooms, suites & houses the Greenbrier could double the number of citizens in White Sulphur Springs
Most importantly, they also have four golf courses on site. The Snead course is the #2 rated course in West Virginia, but it’s exclusivity makes it virtually impossible to play, especially on short notice. The PGA holds the Greenbrier Classic tournament on the Old White TPC course. The Old White was the first course established at the Greenbrier in 1913. After many years of alterations, a 4-year project was undertaken to restore the course to it’s original design. One phone call to the pro shop secured my tee time on the Old White.
Location: White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia
Golf Digest Best-In-State Rank: #5
Date: 27 Apr, tee off at 1:10 PM
Conditions: sunny, 8 MPH wind, 56 degrees
Lost balls: 0
Lost balls: 0
Score: 78 on a par 70
I showed up 10-minutes early at the starter’s station. A threesome was scheduled to tee off at 1:00 but they were not within sight. Eventually one young member of the group did arrive late with his parents in-tow. When the other two members scheduled for the 1:10 tee time did not show up, the starter sent the two of us out together. We were joined by a mandatory fore caddy. This was the first time I have encountered the use of fore caddies. They perform the same services as a caddy with one exception - he does not carry the clubs. We were riding golf carts with our clubs on the back; our fore caddy walked ahead to spot where the tee shots landed and read yardages to the pin.
437-yard par 4 hole #1
320-yard par 4 hole #5 (view from the green back up the fairway)
180-yard par 3 hole #8
382-yard par 4 hole #9 (view of approach shot to the green from the fairway)
After a par on the first hole, I bogeyed the next two holes and double bogeyed the fourth hole. The weather was the only thing that looked good at that point in the round, but it turned quickly when I shot par on the next six holes in a row. I split the last eight holes with four bogeys and four pars to finish with one of my lowest scores to date.
549-yard par 5 hole #12 (view of approach shot to the green from the fairway)
376-yard par 4 hole #14 (view of approach shot to the green from the fairway)
168-yard par 3 hole #15
377-yard par 4 hole #16
140-yard par 3 hole #18
My playing partner during the round was Justin Rogers, a freshman at West Virginia State University. His parents, Roy & Cathy Rogers (yes, I met Roy Rogers!), were following him around the course taking pictures as he played. Their family was from Saint Albans (nearby Charleston, WV). Roy worked for a company that produces hand sanitizers; Cathy worked in the billing department for a homemaker services organization.
Cathy, Justin, Roy & Caddy Rob
Roy & Cathy were more impressed with their son’s golf talents than was our fore caddy, Rob. Early in the round Justin had informed us that he is a 2-handicap player. By hole #5 Rob began to share his doubts with me as we both were wondering Justin could be carrying a 2 handicap. I have played with some low handicap players; there was very little evidence in Justin’s game to suggest he was in the same league
Rob worked as a part-time meat cutter in addition to his job as a fore caddy.. He had a very easy going personality. He gave up golf 18-years ago after becoming increasingly frustrated with his inability to putt. He was a 5-handicap player at the time. He still loves the game, but carries a desire to caddy - - - not to play. He became a single father to one son after his wife ran off with another man and cut ties with both of them. He shotgun hunts turkey and bow hunts deer in the nearby George Washington & Jefferson National Forest. I do think he was conflicted during our round as the warm weather created ideal conditions for turkey hunting.
Rob would jump on the golf cart with me whenever the opportunity presented itself. He was trying to conserve his energy since he had caddied for another group earlier in the day. The prior group included Bill DeWitt, owner of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team, and Robert Castellini, CEO and partial owner of the Cincinnati Reds baseball team. In a move that does not generate large tips, Rob was very forthright in telling them that he was a diehard Red Sox fan! He did pass along that Robert spent up to 10-minutes looking for a lost ball - - - on more than one occasion during the round. It is good to know that in spite of his large bank account, a $3 golf ball is still worth looking for!
Another horse picture: riding past golfers on the #15 tee box