Improving Pathways at Crispin
Crispin is Oglebay Golf’s ground zero. The first round was played following a dedication of a temporary sands-green, nine-hole course on July 4, 1930. Five years later the now permanent 18-hole course was completed and the game of a lifetime has continued to be an Oglebay mainstay.
As with all things in the park, improvements to facilities and programs fall to community champions who make investments in the park they love, and more often than not, the sport they play. Golf enthusiasts established the Oglebay (Men’s) Golf Club in 1938 and the Oglebay Women’s Golf Club was established in 1963. Both organizations have done a superb job promoting amateur golf throughout the Upper Ohio Valley, through their active involvement with most of the tournaments, and in raising funds for improvements to the courses.
Part of the strategy is improving play on the course itself, especially the cart paths.
The 18-hole Crispin Center underwent extensive renovations in the mid-60s including expanding the automatic water system and replacing the old wooden bridge with an earthen walkway that spans the ravine on No. 5. The new walkway made the use of golf carts possible for the first time. The cart paths have since been paved and widened, to accommodate the number of golfers we see annually.
Since the addition of the Jones and Palmer courses, Crispin’s usage has hovered between 19,000 and 23,000 rounds annually. In 2021 Crispin saw a recent record of 25,500 rounds, and Oglebay’s golf staff, headed by General Manager Danny Ackerman, is working hard to promote and maintain this level of play into the future.
Part of the strategy is improving play on the course itself, especially the cart paths. The path’s age is one factor, but the topography of our beloved West Virginia hills play a role in the paths’ wear-and-tear. Water runoff from rain and ground maintenance eats at the paths’ edge creating mini culverts that can make navigating the course tricky.
The cycle of play is important to upgrades and improvements and our golf leagues make a tremendous difference. More play leads to more investment which leads to a growth in membership and the cycle continues. Women’s Golf Club member and former president, Chris Muroski brought her concerns about Crispin’s cart path conditions to Ackerman, anticipating upcoming tournaments in 2021 and beyond. They toured the path discussing what needed to be done, but Ackerman knew there was no budget for repairs. Muroski, no stranger to finance asked, “Can we at least get a number?”
“Oglebay’s list of maintenance projects is ongoing. The casual park user probably doesn’t think about how much money it takes to keep the parks in top condition. I knew when I raised my concerns, I needed to follow-up with a gift to get the ball rolling,” Muroski shared.
In addition to her leadership gift, the ever-quiet advocate for Crispin sought donations from friends and asked the Women’s Golf Club to use funds raised by the group’s events, such as the June Invitational Tournament, as funding sources. It wasn’t a hard sell. Muroski, “… reminded the membership that this is the course we love and we need to do what we can to support it.”
Muroski moved to Wheeling in 1989. “Oglebay is so important; it’s such a blessing for the community. We can’t take it for granted. If we expect the park to continue into the future, we have to do our part to support it. That means understanding that Lodge revenue isn’t enough to sustain the park, private contributions are required.”
Thanks to her efforts, enough money has been raised to start the cart path project.
“Oglebay’s list of maintenance projects is ongoing. The casual park user probably doesn’t think about how much money it takes to keep the parks in top condition.”
“Chris’s efforts make Oglebay and the greater Wheeling community a special place to work and live. It was her initiative that brought this project to fruition,” Ackerman said.
This year, the 1.4 mile path will be made wider and curbing will be added to minimize the runoff problems. Aprons at the end of the paths will also be made larger. Additionally, tee upgrades and repairs will be completed for holes 1-8 and No. 12. The No. 9 green will be improved as well. The work will be completed by Cast & Baker of Canonsburg, PA.