Growth award for WVGA

Don’t tell the West Virginia Golf Association, but growth spurts aren’t supposed to occur with such regularity.

For the second time in three years, the organization was recognized by the United States Golf Association as experiencing the most growth for a medium-sized association. Once a two-man operation 10 years ago, the Charleston-based WVGA currently employs as many as seven individuals.

“We’ve been able to grow and extend a lot of our services throughout the state of West Virginia,” WVGA director of operations Brad Ullman said. “To do it once and follow it up again with another award two years later shows things are going in the right direction.”

WVGA executive director Ken Tackett, along with Ullman and several employees of the association, accepted the award last month in Destin, Fla.

“Golf has been on the incline in West Virginia,” Ullman said. “A lot of people are coming out and participating. Much of the credit goes to the Callaway Junior Tour, the Senior Series program and the state championships.

“The award also is a huge compliment to all our member clubs with Parkersburg County Club being our largest member club in the state. This is also a reflection of all the folks at the grassroots level who promote the game.” Two awards of such integrity are impressive. Yet, the WVGA does not want to get complacent. The organization is intent on building the popularity of the sport within the state.

“In 2014, we have a huge schedule in mind. In the next couple weeks, we will release the schedule that includes 160 individual tournament days – which is our most ever,” Ullman said.

When approached about how many miles logged by the WVGA in the course of one year, Ullman couldn’t fathom a guess. However, he was able to estimate that they spend in upwards of 90 nights in hotels during the four months of the championship season.

Their latest endeavor is establishing the First Tee of West Virginia youth golf program in every elementary school in the state. The WVGA has its foot in the door in terms of Kanawha County and Greenbrier County.

“We have a lot of high expectations and we’re putting our resources behind it.”

  • The Glenville State College pipeline is working its magic for the Division I women’s basketball program at Sacramento State, which is coached by Bunky Harkleroad and assistant Kim Stephens. After graduating from Parkersburg South, Stephens played for Harkleroad at GSC.

Harkleroad’s system at Sacramento State leads the nation in 3-point goals made per game at 13.9 and ranks fourth in scoring average at 92.3 points per game. The Hornets have never averaged more than 80 points in any one season.

The 6-1 Hornets are currently on a four-game winning streak, which is three shy of matching the all-time school record. Two games remain before the start of the new year – Saturday at home against UC Irvine and Dec. 28 at UC Davis.

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