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Prep golf: Parkersburg pro will head state tournament

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Secondary School Activities Commission found the logical replacement to run the state high school golf tournament upon the unexpected passing of Larry Martin on Feb. 24, 2012.

Now, they're looking for another.

After one year of manning the first prep championships of the 2013 school year, Randy Hernly was forced to step down because of more responsibility at Stonewall Resort.

Enter Parkersburg Country Club Professional Scott Davidson, who will take over the duties as State Tournament director.

West Virginia Golf Association Director of Operations Brad Ullman said no matter whom it is he can see progress with youth golf in the state, although there is a way to go.

Some of the issues that arise during the State Tournament are lack of knowledge of the rules.

"The rules become very important at the regionals and state championship," he said, noting that they might not be adhered to as much during dual matches, which is a lost opportunity to teach. "The improvement would be to increase their knowledge."

Several years ago, the SSAC instituted a mandatory rules clinic for coaches, another good move, Ullman said.

Golf isn't a high-profile sport, which can often lead to less knowledgeable leaders guiding the program.

Lies, where to take drops and penalties are often missed in the regionals and state tournament when these are areas that need to be improved on during the regular season -- when the matches are less important.

Since coaches aren't permitted to give their players instruction during matches, it's imperative that a skilled official be on hand to assist in such matters. If not, players should have general knowledge of the rules.

"It all goes back to the rules of golf," Ullman said. "In basketball, you have refs, in baseball you have umpires and all these other sports. There are no officials at, say, GW's home golf match."

That's where the WVGA comes in, he said, to help in guiding the young golfers to help the sport grow.

WVGA Executive Director Ken Tackett said the game has grown in the state since the PGA Tour's Greenbrier Classic began its run in 2010.

Ullman said lending a helping hand is what the WVGA wants to do. Hernley had WVGA officials participate in rules clinics.

"That's what we do for a living and we have a lot of fun doing it," he said. "It's tough when there's nobody at an individual match to implement it.

"Larry doing what he did, Randy doing the job that he has done, things are moving in the right direction with golf in the state. Those (coaches) have fulltime jobs doing other things. That's the tough part.

"We want to support high school golf. It's such a small state, we're all one."

Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at richstevens@dailymail.com or 304-348-4837.


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