Teeing up for a Cause

VIENNA -For the handful of golfers who didn’t know Dave Couch, a dear friend of his took a few minutes to put his life in perspective during the awards ceremony of the 13th annual Dave Couch Golf Tournament to Benefit ALS Friday afternoon at Parkersburg Country Club.

Frank Northrup noted how this year marks the 50th since Couch graduated Parkersburg High School, and how beloved he was not only by his family but also by his community.

Couch died in December 2001 following a two-year battle with what is otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

“Kindness is the greatest human virtue and that’s what Dave was all about,” Northrup said. “He cared about so many people. I think about him all the time and anybody who knew him thinks about him also.

“When he was diagnosed (with ALS), for two years I never heard him say, ‘Frank, can you believe this card I was dealt?’ He had amazing grace and courage.”

This year’s tournament raised $33,000 for ALS and upped the grand total to more than a half million dollars ($550,000) since its inception in 2001.

The original plan was to have the tournament last 10 years. But with the popularity of the event and friends keeping Couch’s memory alive, the end doesn’t appear near for quite some time. If ever considering a waiting list of five teams existed for this year’s event.

“We have a great tournament committee that works really hard on this tournament,” said Couch’s son, Blair. “Millions of dollars are being poured into research for ALS in a variety of different avenues.

“As this tournament progresses, the hope is we will continue to see my dad’s memory honored by people like Frank Northrup who took the time to spend a few minutes to talk about his life.”

Every year, the field has been sold out. Of the 36 foursomes, two teams were recognized as winners – one for A flight and another for B flight.

The team of Terry Crislip, Chad Crislip, Bryan Crislip and Ryan Hopkins turned in a 77 for the modified scramble and claimed the A flight with a score of 77. The same score turned in by the runner-up team of Scott Bibbee, Floyd Shuler, Brad Ullman and Luke Nicely.

The B flight winner was clear-cut as the crew of Glenn Miller, Jason Landers, Jim McLean and Cody Mysakowec carded an 86. Second place went to the team of Chad Mildren, Jim Hayhurst, Steve Wilson and Rick Adams, which finished one stroke back at 87.

Even though his team didn’t place among the top nine placewinners in B flight, Ray Fanta enjoyed the comraderie and listening to more stories about Dave Couch.

Couch was an uncle to Fanta’s wife, Beth.

“When I moved to town in 1979, he showed me around and introduced me to people,” Fanta said. “I didn’t know anyone who didn’t like Dave Couch.”

Another member of Fanta’s group was John Coffman, who played in his 12th Dave Couch Golf Tournament. He happened to be grilling burgers for the golfers during the first tournament.

“The first year I met Dave Couch, I happened to join here at Parkersburg Country Club and on Memorial Day weekend we played in a tournament together,” Coffman said. “In spite of my ability, we won the tournament. Dave was always very gracious and made you feel welcomed.”

Individuals wishing to learn more about the Dave Couch Golf Tournament, or have questions about making a donation to the ALS Foundation, can email the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation at info@pacfwv.com.