From long ago, Warren Root had a love affair with Greenhills Country Club.
Now he has a chance to give it special love each day as the local golf venue’s new head professional.
Root feels the country club has always had a sound reputation and his hope is to make it better than ever before.
Root had been working in the Richmond, Virginia area as an instructor for an academy at Hunting Hawk Golf Club before returning to his native West Virginia.
He grew up in nearby Parkersburg and attended Parkersburg South.
COVID-19 has presented its challenges to so many facets of life, including the golf business. But all things considered, Root has been pleased during his little over a month on the job.
"We've actually been busy enough that we've got a lot of days that people are waiting on a golf cart, since we keep it down to one person per cart," Root said. "All those kind of things.
"It makes it a little bit of a challenge, but we've been quite busy.”
Root graduated from Parkersburg South High School, where he was a standout baseball player, in 1987.
It wasn’t until after high school he came to know the game of golf up close and personal.
“I started competing pretty shortly after (his high school graduation). The rest is history,” he said. “That’s 31 years in the making to get to today.”
Following high school, Root joined the Air Force.
He was a medical specialist while in the service and later on worked as a nurse. But it was playing golf and being around courses tugging at his heart as to how he truly wanted to make a living.
Among the stops on his golfing business tour have been the Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama and the old Sycamore Creek Golf Club in Ripley.
Despite his late start to the game, he made up for lost time in a hurry. Not only working in the business as a professional but by honing his skills to be the best he could be while competing.
“I just could not stand the fact I couldn’t figure it out when I started,” said Root in explaining his love for the game and the drive to succeed and make golf his life’s work. “Then I started digging and the rest is built in to what it has come to today.”
On the greens is where Root feels he’s at his best. "Anything close," he said.
“It’s always been the strength of my game. That’s something I picked up early and seemed to kind of come natural. And I’ve studied to great lengths since then.
“So, that’s been my strong suit. If I can get a putter in hand I’m usually in pretty good shape.”
He had success in tournament golf during the early stages of his playing days.
“A long time ago when I was a lot younger I won a lot of stuff down south,” said Root, who is 50. “Small pro events and those kind of things. Never quite figured out how to play that next level. I wish I knew then what I know now.”
Root’s best round ever came in Montgomery.
"I shot 61 at Wylakes Country Club back in 1990,” Root said. “I've scared 59 a couple of times but seemed to always manage to not get there."
His best day strolling the 18 at Greenhills was a 65.
Speaking of the GHCC, Root feels the what's most challenge are the greens.
“They're the biggest defense. It's not a long tract by any means, so you don't have to be a long hitter. But boy, you have to be in the right position on these greens. If you're not, it can make for a long day."
He feels Greenhills has much to offer, including its layout.
“It’s just a beautiful tract,” said Root, who raves about the work GHCC's head groundskeeper Larry Price and his crew do in keeping the place well-manicured. “Every hole just shapes in nicely. It looks good. The greens here are spectacular. This year is no exception.
“We’ve got the greens back up exactly where we want them and they’ll continue to get better as they go this year.”
Root says with any new leader there will be change, and some tweaks have already come into play.
"We've spent this first month doing a complete facelift basically. What it looks like when you pull in the parking lot, what it looks like when you go in the pro shop and how we're starting to cut the golf course."
Root feels one mission is to continue educating those in the region that Greenhills is open to the public.
The club continues to offer memberships.
Root is also excited about the tournament golf GHCC will stage in the next several months.
"We just hosted the first West Virginia Senior Series of the year for the WVGA (West Virginia Golf Association), which was a cold and windy day. Those guys toughed it out in some pretty ugly conditions," Root said. "We've got the (87th West Virginia Open) Last Chance Qualifier coming up (June 17) for the WVGA. Of course, we always have a lot of charitable fundraising events with scrambles and those kind of things as well."
With a background in teaching the game, Root will be offering an array of lessons.
“That’s always been my passion,” he said.
Root and his wife, Stephanie, have four children – Austin, 26, Chelsey, 23, Olivia, 11, and Blaize, 9.
Austin Root is a former standout golfer at Williamstown High and Louisville’s Spalding University. He, too, now works in the golfing business.
Root and his son competed in the West Virginia Open back in 2013, which was Warren’s only time playing in one of the state’s most prestigious golf events. The West Virginia Open features professionals and top amateurs from the state each year.
They qualified for the that year's Open, which was played on the grounds of the Pakersburg Country Club in Vienna, at the Golf Club of West Virginia in Waverly.
Austin Root took medalist honors with a 69. Dear old dad wasn't far behind with a 71.
"I did so (competed) at his request," Warren Root noted.
He says another aspect that makes Greenhills a place golfers and non-golfers would want to be is the food.
“Bogey’s (BBQ & Grille) has been a great addition,” said Root. “They offer great food. It seems everybody enjoys the environment. I think it’s nothing but a positive.”
And an individual with Warren Root’s experience in the golfing business is indeed a positive for the Greenhills Country Club.
And he’s ready to make this Jackson County sports treasure grow to its fullest potential.