Next stop: PGA Tour

After overcoming early struggles in his career, Tim Crouch is finding success at Florida Southern and beyond

After a successful high school golfing career and a great college golfing career, which included two straight Division II national championships, Tim Crouch is attempting to take his golfing skills to the next level.

But Crouch wouldn’t have received a majority of the accolades he’s gotten if he stuck with his original decision he made when he was 15 years old.

Tim Crouch

Crouch takes a swing for the fairway. Credit: Tim Crouch

Crouch came home from a golf tournament with his dad, and he was far from happy. His dad told him in the car that he didn’t have to play golf if it wasn’t fulfilling him anymore. So, Crouch decided to quit golf and pursue other interests, which included playing basketball.

One day passed with Crouch not playing golf, then another, and another. A fourth day came and went with Crouch not playing the game his father, Tim, has played for 40 years. For someone who’d played golf every day since the age of nine, not looking at or touching a golf club for four days came as a shock to his system. Then, he finally realized that he made the wrong decision.

“I was so bored at home, so I went to the course and continued to work on my game,” Crouch said.

Early Promise

A rededicated Crouch practiced at Hiawatha Golf Course in Mount Vernon, Ohio, the rest of the summer in preparation for his junior season at Mount Vernon High School. At the end of the 2009 season, Crouch was named the Central District player of the year.

“It’s a prestigious award, so I was honored when I won it,” he said. “By winning that, I thought I was one of the best players in Ohio.”

Going into his senior year of high school, Crouch was starting to receive calls from various colleges about his services. Ohio schools Kent State, Bowling Green, Toledo and Ohio State were interested in him.

Crouch visited Kent State and Bowling Green, and neither school was willing to give Crouch a full-ride scholarship to play golf, which left him frustrated.

“It was a slap in the face,” Crouch said. “I just tried to get bigger and better, and I was looking to compete.”

Crouch had to wait for the perfect offer, but it finally arrived. Steve Paramore, a former golfer at Florida Southern College, and Kent Miller, a long-time family friend to Crouch, made a suggestion to Florida Southern golf coach Doug Gordin. Both men said that Crouch would be a perfect fit for the golf program at Florida Southern.

“They knew my family and that I was raised right on the golf course,” he said. “They knew that I would not get really mad on the course, too.”

Gordin invited Crouch and his mother for a visit of the Florida Southern campus. After Crouch and his mother visited for a day and a half, Gordin made Crouch an offer that would be hard to turn down: a full-ride scholarship to play golf  at Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida.

“My mom was crying, and I was excited,” Crouch said. “I had a check sheet to make sure it met my needs. It (Florida Southern) has a great coach, program and location, among other things.”

Crouch could now focus on his collegiate golf career. His dream of playing on the PGA Tour and becoming a major champion was still alive thanks to Gordin’s decision.

Florida Southern Awaits

In summer 2010, Crouch again used Hiawatha Golf Course to his advantage. Crouch’s paternal grandparents have worked on the course since the 1970s. Crouch is able to get into the course for free and practice his game for as long as he wishes.

“He’s able to take his golf cart and hit balls anywhere on the course,” Crouch’s dad said. “He can play all day and in any type of weather, and Florida Southern likes to recruit one player from the North who can do that.”

August 2010 rolled around, and Crouch was ready to fill that role as a college student at Florida Southern. One of the first people he met on campus was roommate Shane Convery, and the two have helped each other’s golf games immensely.

Tim Crouch

Crouch making one last read before he hits his putt. Credit: Florida Southern

Having lived together all four years, Crouch and Convery practice together every day and play with each other in tournaments about 90 percent of the time. Because both of them practice together so often, they usually ride in the same car and eat dinner together after a long day at the golf course.

“He (Crouch) is a good influence on the golf course,” Convery said. “We are able to motivate each other on the course, which helps us both play well.”

That wasn’t always the case during Crouch’s first two years at Florida Southern, which were admittedly inconsistent. While Crouch had his high points, he also played various rounds of golf that didn’t live up to his expectations. Crouch said that he has always been a great ball striker, but knew that his putting game  still needed to improve if he was going to get to the next level.

“He doesn’t make as many putts as he can,” Gordin said. “If his short game is good, his result will be good, too.”

During his junior year at Florida Southern, Crouch started to make his mark on the program. Crouch qualified for the Division II National Championship, which took place at Hershey Country Club in Pennsylvania. In the final round, Crouch started the day four shots off the lead. But after a strong showing on the final 18 holes and a few players succumbing to the pressure, Crouch became a national champion for the first time after he won in a playoff.

Despite the victory, Crouch was not satisfied with just one national title. He started preparing to defend his title. Crouch returned to Hiawatha Golf Course once again in summer 2013 to hone all aspects of his game, surrounded by the support of his family.

Crouch qualified to defend his national title. Gordin and Crouch’s parents made the trip to Grand Rapids, Michigan, to watch Crouch play at The Meadows. On this occasion, Crouch entered the final round three shots off the lead. He eventually became the third golfer to win back-to-back national titles after finishing the tournament at even par.

“He’s always been a good closer,” Convery said. “When he is able to play his own game and is in the right mindset, he’s tough to beat.”

What’s Next?

Crouch’s plan for the rest of his college career is simple: finish up his degree in physical education, and then try to make his dream of becoming a member of the PGA Tour a reality. Crouch will look to enter the Canadian Tour first, then the Tour before he makes his debut on the PGA Tour.

Crouch has had to overcome a lack of solid golf scores and compelling college offers to get to where he currently is. Gordin thinks that if Crouch continues to maintain a good attitude, he’ll reach the heights few have accomplished.

“His future is unlimited,” Gordin said. “If he continues to develop his skills on the mini-tours, then he’ll have a chance to play as a pro.”

Crouch knows his goal of becoming a PGA Tour golfer is a tough one to reach, but he’s confident in his abilities and course management.

“My future is bright, and I’m only starting out,” Crouch said. “If I continue to work hard and stay focused, I can make it on the PGA Tour.”

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