Aaron Gizzi perked up when he heard Parkersburg Country Club would serve as host site for the 80th West Virginia Open.
The Morgantown native will be among the 120 golfers competing for the state's coveted prize when the first round begins on Wednesday, June 19.
"I've always loved Parkersburg Country Club," Gizzi said. "Larry Martin was a good friend of mine; (PCC PGA professional) Scott Davidson is a good friend of mine. There are a lot of good members. Their superintendent has done a lot of positive things with the course."
Uncharacteristically, Gizzi missed the cut for last year's final round at the West Virginia Open. He hopes to make amends this year.
"My game right now is at a point where it is definitely better than it has been in five years," Gizzi said. "I'm definitely hitting the ball better that I have in five years.
"I'm still in my prime. I'm smarter than I was in my 20s and stronger than I will be when I reach my 40s."
Gizzi remembers first picking up a club when he was 13 years old. His father, Philip Gizzi, helped Aaron realize that golf was a lifelong game.
The 1995 graduate of University High School enrolled at Fairmont State because of his ability on the basketball court then changed gears and walked onto the school's golf team.
At one point in his life, he found himself living in Florida but returned to his hometown to become the Director of Golf at Lakeview Resort. Five years ago, he was recognized as the Tri-State PGA Resort Merchandiser of the Year and became a finalist for the national award.
According to the resort's website, Gizzi believes in treating customers fairly and giving them the best prices possible.
As for trying to redeem himself at the West Virginia Open, Gizzi figures he could discuss at length about the candidates who have a legitimate shot to contend.
"There's a handful, maybe 15 or so who have a chance to win this thing," Gizzi said. "David Bradshaw has won this six times and plays every day. He's trying to make it on tour, so he knows what it takes.
"Guys like Christian Brand are doing the same thing. It's tough to compete against someone who plays every day. I could sit here for a while and name people, so it should make for an exciting Open."
Gizzi considers himself among that group and would be honored to have his name etched on the trophy.
"The West Virginia Open is definitely the premier event in West Virginia," he said. "The West Virginia Golf Association runs a first class event.
"There's a lot of great names on that trophy and absolutely I would love to have my name mentioned with theirs."