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The Thundering Word: Herd Men’s Golf Making a History Tour

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HUNTINGTON – Firestone … Colonial … Pinehurst … Old White … Kingsmill …

If that sounds like reference points on a golf history lesson, it is. If it sounds like something the PGA Tour or USGA championships might play or has played, it is.

It also is a partial look at the famed courses included in Marshall’s 11 stops on the Herd’s 2016-17 men’s golf schedule.

It’s a history tour of sorts.

Fifth-year Herd Coach Matt Grobe’s team plays three of those 11 tournaments in West Virginia, too. Besides The Greenbrier Invitational in April at the Old White TPC, the Herd hosts the season-opening 47th Joe Feaganes Marshall Invitational at its home course at Guyan Golf & Country Club, and visits the Pete Dye Club in Bridgeport for the second Mountaineer Intercollegiate, hosted by WVU.

“When you look at this schedule you can see that we are traveling to some exciting and historic golf courses,” Grobe said. “It is going to very challenging but will be a great opportunity to evaluate our games and find ways to improve.

“I am looking forward to watching our guys compete for championships on some great golf courses against some great teams.”

The Herd’s six-match fall schedule opens on Sept. 12-13 with the Feaganes Invitational at Guyan, where the late member Bill Campbell brought attention with his legendary amateur career, and where 13-time West Virginia Amateur champ Pat Carter calls home.

The Marshall Invitational has been played every fall since 1968, with the exception of 1970-71.

After a Sept. 17-18 trip to Richmond., KY and the University Club at Arlington for the EKU Colonel Classic, Grobe’s team ventures to Cordova, Tenn., for the Sept. 26-27 Memphis Intercollegiate at Colonial Country Club.

The Colonial was the longtime home (1958-88) of the PGA Tour’s Memphis Open, which later evolved into the Danny Thomas Memphis Classic and now the FedEx St. Jude Classic. Colonial is the layout where, in 1977, Al Geiberger set the since-tied PGA Tour record round of 59.

In October, the Herd starts in the Firestone Invitational (Oct. 3-4) at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio, the famed site of the longtime World Series of Golf and now the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational . Firestone also has played host to three PGA Championships.

Next up is the Oct. 10-11 visit to the Mountaineer Intercollegiate at the Pete Dye Club in Harrison County – a layout Golf Digest ranks as the state’s best course and former home to the Pete Dye Classic on the second-tier Nationwide Tour (2004-09). The Dye event ended when The Greenbrier classic moved the Mountain State up to the PGA Tour.

The Herd ends the fall in Kennesaw, Ga., at Pinetree Country Club, a four-time home to the Georgia Amateur Championship and a site for numerous USGA and Georgia qualifying events.

“That’s an incredible lineup, great courses,” Grobe said. “I think our team will really be challenged not only with the competition from the teams we will see but also with these legendary courses.”

And that’s not all.

“The spring looks just as good as the fall,” Grobe said, considering the lineup of layouts to challenge the Herd.  

Marshall opens the spring portion of its 2016-17 schedule at the famed Pinehurst (N.C.) Resort, with the March 10-12 Pinehurst Intercollegiate. Pinehurst has played host to more golf tournaments than any site in the country, and in 2014 held the men’s and women’s U.S. Opens back-to-back.

Grobe takes his team to Williamsburg, Va., from March 19-21 for the Kingsmill Intercollegiate at the Kingsmill Resort, which formerly hosted the PGA Tour’s Michelob Championship (1981-2002), and now is site to the Kingsmill Championship in May on the LPGA Tour.

On March 24-26, the Herd returns to the Furman Intercollegiate – “always a great field,” Grobe said – on the Furman University course where prominent pros Beth Daniel, Betsy King, Dottie Pepper and Brad Faxon played as Paladins.

Then it’s off to White Sulphur Springs on April 10-11 for the third annual Greenbrier Invitational on the storied Old White TPC, which was ravaged by floodwaters last week, causing the cancellation of the July 7-10 Greenbrier Classic on the PGA Tour. The Herd and Bowling Green co-host that event.

Two weeks later, Marshall closes the season with the April 23-26 Conference USA Championships at Texarkana Country Club in Arkansas. TCC’s history includes six Ben Hogan/Nike Tour events, and the legendary Byron Nelson used the course as his practice site prior to the Masters, calling TCC “Little Augusta” because of its similarities to the famed Masters site.

“We have a very challenging schedule this year and are playing some of the best golf courses in the country,” Grobe said. “We’re looking forward to it, and we hope to make it a special season.”

The 2016-17 Marshall men’s golf schedule:

Fall season

Sept. 12-13 – Joe Feaganes Marshall Invitational, Guyan Golf & Country Club, Huntington, W.Va.

Sept. 17-18 – EKU Colonel Classic, University Club at Arlington, Richmond, Ky.

Sept. 26-27 – Memphis Intercollegiate, Colonial Country Club, Cordova, Tenn.

Oct. 3-4 – Firestone Invitational, Firestone Country Club, Akron, Ohio

Oct. 10-11 – Mountaineer Intercollegiate, Pete Dye Golf Club, Bridgeport, W.Va.

Oct. 24-25 – Pinetree Intercollegiate, Pinetree Country Club, Kennesaw, Ga.

Spring season

March 10-12 – Pinehurst Intercollegiate, Golf Club at Pinehurst (N.C.)

March 19-21 – Kingsmill Intercollegiate, Kingsmill Resort, Williamsburg, Va.

March 24-26 – Furman Intercollegiate, Furman U. Golf Course, Greenville, S.C.

April 10-11 – The Greenbrier Invitational, Old White TPC, White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.

April 23-26 – Conference USA Championships, Texarkana Country Club, Texarkana, Ark.

Note: This is the final story for Jack Bogaczyk, retiring after over 40 years in journalism and five years with Herd Insider. This is story 1,104 for my friend, my colleague and my mentor here at HI.

Thanks for the memories, Jack. You and Carol stay in touch!!

Woody Woodrum

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