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Tim Garvin Honored by Metropolitan PGA as a Mentor to Golf Professionals
Author: Michael Wright - Southampton Sports
November 21st 2022 -

East Hampton golf professional Tim Garvin, who is the director of golf at South Fork County Club, has been awarded the Bill Strausbaugh Award by the Metropolitan PGA for his work as a mentor to other PGA professionals.

The award, according to the PGA of America, is given to professionals who “distinguish themselves by mentoring their fellow professionals and throughout service to the community.”

“Tim Garvin of South Fork Country Club is an incredible guy,” said Golf Channel host Brian Crowell in announcing Garvin’s award at the Met PGA awards ceremony earlier this month. The audience burst into applause. “He’s a mentor, he’s a selfless leader, he creates an environment that encourages everyone around him.”

Garvin, a Southampton resident who has been the head pro at South Fork for 20 years and was the head pro at Southampton Golf Club for nine years prior to that, has sent more than a dozen assistants on to head professional jobs at clubs like Interlachen, Jupiter Island Club, Admirals Cove, Boca Raton Resort and Carlton River Plantation.

And just this week one of his young female assistants, Angela Tocco, was announced as the next head professional at Montauk Downs Golf Course starting in 2023 - the course’s first female head professional. Tocco is a Montauk native who grew up in the junior program at the Downs, played collegiate golf at the University of Louisiana and has been an assistant pro at South Fork C.C. for three years.

“Most great mentors,” Crowell said, “were lucky enough to have great mentors of their own.”

Garvin’s mentor was his father, Francis "Buzz" Garvin, who was the professional at Philmont Country Club in Philadelphia and Admirals Cove in Florida. The elder Garvin died on November 2, just 10 days short of his son being honored for his own mentoring of the next generation of professionals.

“Winning this award is great because you’re put up by your peers - Leigh Notley and a couple others nominated me for this - and it’s the only award from the PGA that you get for doing something for somebody else,” Garvin said. “So that is very satisfying.”

The job of a PGA Professional is a broad-based one. Along with having to be an exceptional golfer capable of instructing amateurs in the mechanics of the golf swing, the job typically entails the management of a retail apparel and equipment shop and sometimes the overseeing of a club’s entire operations right down to the kitchen staff.

“For me it starts with the hiring process and letting them find the role they want to fill - some people like teaching only, some like working in the shop - because people are miserable if they’re not doing what they like,” Garvin said. “Some head pros are insecure and they don’t want to help their assistants move on because they don’t want to hurt their own operation. But you can’t have people working jobs they don’t want. You have to keep the carrot out there. I say you come work for me for four or five years and I’m going to get you another job.”