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The nominees are ...
March 2, 2009 - Jody Murphy
Last week the West Virginia Golf Foundation announced it was accepting nominations for the West Virginia Golf Hall of Fame to honor those who have greatly contributed to the game in West Virginia.
The inaugural class of the West Virginia Golf Hall of Fame will be announced in April.
There are a few no brainers as to who will be included in the induction in April; Sam Snead and William C. Campbell.
Snead, of course, is one of the greatest golfers the game has ever known. He was a long time pro at The Greenbrier Resort.
Campbell is the epitome of an amateur golfer. A resident of Huntington, Campbell is the only man to serves as both President of the USGA and Captain of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, the governing body of European golf. He was no slouch on the course either.
Both men are members of the World Golf Hall of Fame and are shoo-ins for the inaugural class.
A few others worth noting are Pat Carter, who won 10 consecutive state ams (a national record), and Ed Tutwiler, another outstanding amateur golfer who had the unfortunate luck of competing against Bill Campbell.
I have two nominees to add.
One is Denny Shute, the last man before Tiger Woods to win back-to-back PGA Championships. Shute also won a British Open title. While he is largely consider an Ohioan, having been born in Ohio and spent many years as a club pro the Portage Country Club, Shute spent some of his formative years in Huntington.
He won a few state amateur titles, and graduated from Highington High School, while his father served as head pro at a Cabell County country club.
Up until a few years ago Shute was long forgotten in many circles of golf.
Check out his major championships, 16 PGA Tour wins and ties to W.Va golf and its easy to see he belongs.
Let me throw out one more name for the inaugural class ä a man not known for his golfing ability so much as salesmanship and dedication to the game; Larry Martin.
If any administrator deserves to be among the stateás inaugural class of inductees it is the "Old Pro."
Martin, a longtime golf salesman for Top Flite and Callaway Golf, spent more than 25 years running the Top Flite Junior Tour throughout the state of West Virginia. If the game of golf has grown at all in this state since the mid-1980s, it is largely due to Martinás efforts.
The Top Flite Jr. Tour has run thousands of kids through its seasons since 1983, with Martin doing a lot of the work. In addition to creating and running the junior tour, including organizing sponsorships, Martin also helped run the state high school golf tournament.
Martin shouldn't - and wouldn't - take credit for the whole thing. A lot of thanks goes to club pros like Robert Harris and Randy Hernly for allowing the junior tour to use their facilities, but Martin and his overworked staff of loyal enthusiasts undertook the painstaking behind-the-scenes work for the tour.
I hope he gets some serious consideration for the inaugural class. He deserves it.
Nomination forms are available at the golf association's website, at www.wvga.org.
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