Greenbrier Youth Day Kicks Off With Unexpected Substitution for First Tee Roanoke

The First Tee Roanoke Valley contingency poses in front of the main entrance to The Greenbrier during Tuesday's activities.
The First Tee Roanoke Valley contingency poses in front of the main entrance to The Greenbrier during Tuesday’s activities.

Rising Cave Spring High School senior Meagan Board was scheduled to be on the bag as a caddy Tuesday afternoon. Instead, an early morning call quickly put her in position to be the one swinging the clubs in the bag.

Last Tuesday kicked off the formal activities of the week-long Greenbrier Classic with the traditional Youth Day at the Old White TPC course in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.

Originated by Greenbrier owner Jim Justice during the inaugural Classic in 2010, Youth Day centers around 4 First Tee chapters, three from West Virginia and our own First Tee Roanoke Valley chapter. Justice has always been a supporter of youth, and he values the importance of teaching character, integrity and commitment as key life lessons to young people.

Despite his business interests in energy, agriculture and hospitality, Justice has amazingly continued to coach both the girls and boys varsity basketball teams at Greenbrier East High School in Lewisburg. Both are among the top teams in the state and the girls won the West Virginia state championship in 2012.

Tuesday’s activities began with a luncheon in the main hotel’s Chesapeake Room, attended by First Tee members, officials and guests. Also in attendance was Earl Tomblin, Governor of West Virginia, along with PGA pros Jordan Spieth and David Mathis. Spieth and Mathis talked about the work it takes to become a professional golfer and the two answered questions from a moderator and First Tee members.

Justice gave advice with a superb story related to baseball.

“In baseball, you’re going to be in the field some day when the situation presents itself where there’s two out in the last inning, the bases are loaded our team has a one-run lead, and the opposing batter has a 3-2 count on him.” Justice said. “You know the batter will hit the next pitch, so what do you want to happen? You can want the ball to be hit to you; or you can pray that the ball will be hit to someone else to get you off the hook. Be a leader and want that ball to be hit to you. In life, as you get older, it is something that will set you apart as special – someone who wants the challenge to be in your hands.”

The First Tee chapters moved to the Meadows Course after lunch for a trick-shot exhibition by Billy Winters and shot-making clinic by PGA pros Scott Langley and D.J. Trahan.

The much-anticipated Polo First Tee scramble followed with pros Billy Horschel and Jonathan Byrd teaming with the four First Tee participants for the $ 10,000 purse.

Cave Spring's Meagan Board was the First Tee Roanoke Valley's last-minute scramble player substitute, teaming with PGA pro Billy Herschel in Tuesday's prime-time event in impressive fashion.
Cave Spring’s Meagan Board was the First Tee Roanoke Valley’s last-minute scramble player substitute, teaming with PGA pro Billy Herschel in Tuesday’s prime-time event in impressive fashion.

First Tee Roanoke Valley had a late lineup change when planned participant Garrett Sweeney of Salem High School was forced to withdraw after he was afflicted by an ear infection and fever. Board was scheduled to be Sweeney’s caddy, but a 6:00 a.m. text had Board donning her golf shoes as his replacement, and Salem HS golfer Andrew Butts toting Board’s pink golf bag.

Despite admitting to being a little nervous playing in front of such a sizeable gallery, Meagan looked like the composed pro, smoking some great tee shots and having her team using several of her shots. She also made a clear-cut impression on Herschel on the first tee as both posed for a classic Greenbrier moment.

BILL TURNER