Little about the golf offerings at The Greenbrier are the same as they were when the Ryder Cup was hosted on The Greenbrier Course, now a nine-hole routing, after a redesign by the legendary Jack Nicklaus. But one constant that golf fans have seen this week when they have walked the course at A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier is Andrea “Andy” Pendleton.
A hole marshal on No. 18, Pendleton, a Greenbrier County native, has volunteered for basically every golf event hosted at The Greenbrier, starting with that 1979 Ryder Cup.
“I didn’t know what I was getting into,” said Pendleton recently, as she looked over the 18th
green she knows so well and loves so much. “My mom was here, too, Hellen Aide. They kept her in the tent keeping scores as they came in.
“I loved it. I loved the game of golf, so I knew all about it. I would walk right beside of them and say, ‘Good shot.’ You couldn’t always tell, because it was so far away. So, I would wait for their reactions.”
Six years after the Ryder Cup came to an end, the Senior PGA TOUR, now called PGA TOUR Champions, came to The Greenbrier Course for The Greenbrier American Express Championships, and Pendleton was right there for the three-year stretch of that tournament. Don January won the first two, and Bruce Crampton won the third. Legends like Arnold Palmer and Gary Player were in the fields, and Pendleton has stories, and autographs, from all of them.
“Back then, you knew everybody,” she said. “Now there is so many of them, you don’t know everybody. But then there were so few.
“I kept score for Gary Player. He’s the one that said, ‘No wonder Sam Snead has a limp,’ because of the mountains and everything.”
The Greenbrier American Express Championships didn’t come back after 1987, and it was seven more years before professional golf returned to America’s Resort, this time for the Solheim Cup, the ladies’ version of the Ryder Cup.
Unfortunately, Pendleton couldn’t make it. She was on a trip to New York to buy for her family department store, and she was unable to get out on the course.
“I was very disappointed in that one,” she admitted.
But when the PGA TOUR announced the formation of The Greenbrier Classic in 2010, shortly after the Justice Family purchased The Greenbrier, Pendleton made sure she wouldn’t miss another one. She signed up as a volunteer and went to work.
Nine years later, Pendleton has become part of the tradition of the tournament, now named A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier
, as familiar faces walk by her spot on The Old White TPC year after year and are sure to say hello.
“When you come back every year, everybody knows you,” she said.
Her job on 18, she explained, was a little more difficult when there were bleachers beside the green on The Greenbrier’s “Home” hole. Fans weren’t able to see the green from behind the bleachers, and many didn’t even know players were on the other side of the giant wall on the back of the bleachers
“I had to keep them quiet, so they wouldn’t disturb the golfers,” said Pendleton.
In 2012, Pendleton was forced to miss the action because of a rare storm that came through the Greenbrier Valley just days before the opening of tournament play. The derecho destroyed homes and property around the area and left most without power for days. As the mayor of the town of Rainelle, West Virginia, Pendleton stayed at home to take care of her citizens.
But she wasn’t forgotten by the tournament staff. As Greenbrier officials delivered vegetables to Rainelle and cooked hamburgers for folks who needed a warm meal, Pendleton was handed her volunteer uniform to add to her collection.
“That was just fantastic,” she said. “I couldn’t believe it.”
The collection of memorabilia that Pendleton has secured over the years is hard to believe. She has uniforms from every tournament, volunteer pins, programs, pairings sheets and pictures from all of the events, and she is proud of signatures she’s obtained from the likes of Palmer, Player, John Daly and many others.
She also has stories, like the time she was in her position on No. 18 for a hole-in-one and was able to take advantage of the $100 cash giveaway that went to fans seated on the finishing hole.
“I just happened to be there and reached in,” said Pendleton. “But they were told they shouldn’t give it to the volunteers, so I didn’t get any more.”
This week, Pendleton’s duties have included answering questions from fans, raising her American flag high into the air to keep the crowd quiet while players were putting and encouraging fans to take pictures with a poster of Palmer, celebrating what would have been his 90th
“It’s been a lot of fun,” said Pendleton. “I just love people.”
And people love her, too.