Ben Ulevich Goes From Oglebay to Nemacolin
PITTSBURGH — Nemacolin Woodlands is one of the most beautiful resorts you will find anywhere. The Pittsburgh-based luxury destination is filled with pools, outdoor activities, a casino and more.
For golfers, it is second to none. Featuring two Pete Dye Courses — Mystic Rock and the recently opened Shepherd’s Rock — it is a golfer’s dream.
And the man behind keeping the course looking its best is Wheeling native Ben Ulevich.
“I really enjoy it and it is a welcome change,” Ulevich, 43, said. “The resort is well-known worldwide and it is a fascinating place.
“The Hardy family that owns it, they are great owners and great people to work for. They strive for excellence and that is what you try and give them.”
For Ulevich, it is a dream come true. But is a dream that was has been in his blood for a long time.
Having grown up in golf with his family members, he started small, working at age 13 at Oglebay.
Ulevich was at Oglebay during the completion of the Palmer Course, helping grow it in during the construction. From there he worked his way up to superintendent of the Crispin Course.
“I was fortunate to be a part of the Palmer Course growing up,” he said. “To have that experience gave me a really good stepping stone.
“I don’t know if this is always wanted to do, but I have always had golf in mind. My older brother is this business and I got to see what his life was like and the potential in it.”
The Wheeling Central, West Liberty and Penn State graduate moved on from Oglebay to spend three and a half years at The Greenbrier as superintendent, then moved to York, Pa., to the Out Door Country Club for 11 years.
Six months ago, he became the senior greenskeeper at Nemacolin Woodlands, just in time to see the completion of the Shepherd’s Rock course.
“The Hardys wanted a really fun course and Pete Dye and Tim Liddy did an amazing job of designing the course,” Ulevich said. “I came in in February for the final stages. I take a lot of pride in and it is a rewarding, but demanding, job.
“I deal with a lot maintenance of the grass and the detail work. It can lead to some late hours, but we strive to be the best and we take pride in doing that.
“I have a lot of golf experience, being in this business for almost 20 years. I have managed another high-end golf club and resort and I think all my experience will help. It is another set of eyes and a different perspective.”
The Mystic Rock course played host to a few PGA events in the early 2000s and while there are no plans to bring the main circuit back to either that course or Shepherd’s Rock, the door is definitely not closed.
“I think we just want to get this course opened first and let it mature,” Ulevich said.
Area One Tournament Moves
Controversy surrounding the Rudy Mumley OVAC All-Star Game has been a hot topic this week. Several players were being forced to choose whether to participate in the summer classic or their respective legion baseball tournament.
A couple months ago, I wrote a column saying kids shouldn’t just focus on one sport. So I am very much in favor of letting the players participate in both –especially when a pep rally and an ice cream social is all they would miss.
I personally like Tom Rataiczak and Bob Koch and think the OVAC does a lot of good things for our student-athletes, but I disagree with them on this.
Fortunately, a wrong has been put right thanks to the managers of the Area One Legion Tournament. The double-elimination tournament, which begins Tuesday, has been moved from the I-470 Complex to Bethany College.
That means Wheeling’s Isaac Rine, Gage Giovengo, and Butter Murray, as well as Weirton’s Michael Mills, will not have to leave the Bethany College campus and will be eligible for both the Area One Tournament and next weekend’s football classic at the Dave Bruney Football Complex in Martins Ferry.
Kudos to Mark Delbrugge, Jason Swartzmiller and Bill Burkett for helping to make this happen. By virtue of Wheeling’s victory against Weirton on Friday, Post 1 earned the top seed. Tuesday will see Moundsville and Weirton battle at 6 p.m. with the winner taking on Wheeling on Wednesday. An elimination game will be played Thursday with the championship being held Friday.
Josh Strope can be reached at email@example.com