By Cam Huffman
Andy Holland won’t be on the golf course when the 33rd Beckley Newspapers Memorial Golf Classic begins this July, but that doesn’t mean his presence won’t be felt.
The longtime BNI participant will be honored at this year’s event as the tournament will be officially played in his memory.
Holland was born in Charleston in 1948 and was adopted by a couple in Glen Daniel — Basil and Mabel Beckelhimer Holland — who had been seeking to adopt a son for a long time. He was raised in the Fairdale community.
Holland’s love of sports became obvious at an early age, although he was born with a congenital heart condition that prevented him from participating in heavy physical activity such as football or basketball. Holland, instead, often took on the role of equipment manager for his school’s teams just to be around the games he loved.
He eventually found the game of golf and began working at perfecting his skills. He became a strong golfer and traveled the world playing in tournaments. He won the West Virginia Senior Amateur Championship Silver Division in 2009 and 2010. He also won the BNI in 1985 and was often near the top of the leaderboard.
Away from the course, Holland, a Glenville State College graduate, had an influence on many young lives, teaching math and coaching boys and girls basketball at various schools, including Liberty High School, Stoco Junior High and Trap Hill High School.
Holland worked and coached in Texas, Florida and Pennsylvania, as well, but he moved back to the Beckley area in 2008, where he spent much of his time on the golf course and worked at Glade Springs.
“Golf was his game, passion and life, especially during his retirement years,” said his great niece, Angie Mullens, in a letter she wrote for a scholarship in his honor that is awarded each year to a Liberty High School student.
Holland lost his life in May of 2011 after a short battle with cancer, and honoring his memory at this year’s BNI became an obvious decision.
This year’s tournament will begin on July 13. One group of golfers will begin at Briar Patch Golf Links, which replaced Pipestem Resort State Park on this year’s lineup, while the other group will play at Grandview Country Club. The groups will switch for the second round on July 14, and the final round will be played on July 15 at the Cobb Course at The Resort at Glade Springs.
Marshall’s Bosten Miller won last year’s tournament, defeating two-time champion Brandon Reece in a dramatic playoff.