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Chesnut settles into new role at Parkersburg Country Club

Adam Chesnut, at 36 years old, became the new Head Golf Professional at Parkersburg Country Club on June 1. He replaces Scott Davidson, who filled the position for 22 years before taking a position with the Texas Golf Association’s Legends Junior Tour. (Photo by Kerry Patrick)

VIENNA –A veteran in his own right at Parkersburg Country Club, Adam Chesnut has settled in as the new Head Golf Professional at the golf course.

Chesnut spent the past 16 years as the PGA Assistant Golf Professional under the direction of Scott Davidson, who resigned May 29 and accepted a position with the Texas Golf Association in charge of the Legends Junior Tour.

“I know Parkersburg Country Club is an extension of family for everybody here, but I want this place to feel like an extension of home,” Chesnut said. “So when members are here, do they also feel like they are home? Hopefully they feel that already. If not, I want to feel that way.”

The recruiting process to fill in the vacancy filled by Davidson for 22 years was a smooth transition. In a meeting with PCC board members, Chesnut fielded several questions and shortly thereafter was offered the position.

“I know I have put the time in — it’s too good of a club not to stick around,” Chesnut said.

“I knew at some point Scott was going to be with his kids. He didn’t always want to be here thousands of miles away from each of them. And that’s understandable.

“In Scott’s mind, and he even told (PCC General Manager Angi Smith), that’s the choice — just do it,” Chesnut said. “I guess you could say it was my interview. I sat down with (PCC Greens Superinterendent) Pat Maher, Angi Smith, our president, and another board board member. They asked if they offered to me that day would I want it? There was no thought, no nothing. There was no need to think about it.

“To be seen in a different light now and have everybody say they knew for years I had been doing everything to help out, and were excited I could do it was a huge pride lift.”

Born in Galesburg, Ill., Chesnut and his family to Toronto, Ohio when he was 5 years old.

At Toronto High School, he lettered four years with the golf team and advanced to districts while being named All-OVAC his senior year.

As for a career, Chesnut turned his sights on being a pediatrician. He submitted an application on his dream school at Stanford. That road hit a roadblock when his application was denied. He eventually landed at West Virginia University at Parkersburg and enrolled in his share of core classes. As a side job, he worked at JC Penney.

“A gentleman we lived near at Woodside Golf and Country Club at the time owned the golf course, and asked where I kept keep going for work,” Chesnut said. “I told him JC Penney. He said he needs guys here at the golf course. If you work for me, you can play for free. I was like really?

“So that’s where I got started. I was the cart guy and eventually worked my way inside. I did that for almost five years. When I got inside, they started putting more and more on me. Running events was fun. I would run the outside events as well as events for our own members. That led me to this, but PGA never entered my mind.”

In 2006, Chesnut remembers handing his resume to the general manager at PCC and barely a minute later hired as the facility’s assistant golf pro. The wheels were then put in motion for Chesnut to become PGA certified. A local doctor assisted Chesnut with the funding on acquiring the necessary books.

“I would never say the doctor’s name because he would never want to see his name — I was in dire need of a little funding for my first level books and he covered everything,” Chesnut said. “I took my (Player Ability Test) in 2007 and passed on my first try. The doctor was the first person I called after I passed.

“I always had a different connection with him and almost like dad came to the rescue.”

Work shifts at PCC are written as ‘B Shift’ as in be there when we open, be there there when we close. Summers, especially, consist of extremely long shifts and a rare day off. Chesnut understands the nature of the business. His work ethic falls in line with his father, Randy Chesnut, who was employed in the auto industry.

“I watched him for years — I just learned how to be a worker,” Chesnut said. “We work 12 to 15 hours a day, which my dad did. You tall all that as normal. Not married or no children and that makes it easier. I would actually like to have a family someday, but the job makes that difficult. I would have to change a lot of the way things work to make that happen but in the meantime I can make sure everything here is better.

“Scott left me with some words and he said ‘Don’t be me.’ – I knew what me meant and that was don’t be here all the time,” Chesnut said. “I will be for the first year. I have to make sure everybody is ready for their new role. If you don’t prepare, you are going to fail. We need to have everyone prepared.”

Between full-time and part-time help, Chesnut counts anywhere from 16 to 18 workers on his staff. Among his top assistants, Chesnut sees Tim ‘Wedgie’ Nicholas as his computer guru and in charge of the pro shop and Brent Houser as assistant pro.

Of course, a golf pro is only as good as is course superintendent, and Chesnut is excited about working alongside Maher.

“I have worked with a lot of superintendents — basically, I have learned more from Pat in 6 1/2 years than I learned from that side off the industry in my 25 years in the field,” Chesnut said. “Talking to him has given me a whole new knowledge on that side of things. I’ve seen a lot of pros who dread the moment the superintendent pulls up. I don’t feel that way with Pat.”

An official farewell celebration for Davidson is scheduled for Sunday, July 3 beginning at 7 p.m. at PCC. According to the flyer, the evening is an opportunity to “send Scott out with a bang.”

“Scott was incredible with the relationship to the members, and being able to always to go the extra mile,” Chesnut said. “There was always something he did and everybody appreciated, and that was pretty stout.

“It was tough to talk him into it because he doesn’t like attention. He is very humble.”

At 36 years old, Chesnut hopes to maintain the continuity of the position. He becomes only the fourth golf pro in 75 years at PCC.

“I never thought a public facility guy would ever be private facility material,” Chesnut said. “It will be a culture I want to change at some point and get myself to be away more and play more. Not get away from here, but open myself up more with the membership and enjoy that aspect again.”

Contact Kerry Patrick at kpatrick@newsandsentinel.com

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