Sarge is good to know

The golfing community, as with other areas in life, is a close-knit bunch where who you know can play as much if not more of a factor as what you know.

Geoff Cochrane may be in his 11th year at Santa Ana Country Club, but he got his start in the golf business at another club a few drives and long irons away.

Before Cochrane came to Santa Ana, where he is head pro, he spent more than nine years at Mesa Verde Country Club. Cochrane worked in the bag room for six years and the pro shop another three before transferring to Santa Ana in 2000.

Cochrane golfed for Orange Coast College, but he didn't see himself becoming a golf pro when he started the Mesa Verde job.

"I originally took the job because I was playing golf at OCC so it would provide a place to play and practice," Cochrane said last week minutes after the Jones Cup at Big Canyon Country Club.

Fast forward a bit and Cochrane continues the story of how he started in Mesa Verde's golf shop.

"I had a month left of college at Long Beach State and Sarge [Mesa Verde's head pro Tom Sargent] invited me in. I tried it, loved it and the rest is history."

Sargent's influence on Cochrane is unmistakable.

"He taught me what a golf pro is and should be. He pushed me to be the best," Cochrane said.

Cochrane isn't the only one who has gleaned wisdom from Sargent about what it means to be a head pro, which along with lessons, includes the business side of golf.

Lehua Wise started as an assistant pro at Mesa Verde in January.

"I have learned more from him [Sargent] in the last five months than the last five years," Wise said. "He teaches us and we go and learn. We're never sitting in the shop for long. He teaches us about merchandising and the overall business."

Sargent was president of the Southern California PGA from 1993 to '95 and in 1997 the PGA named him its National Golf Professional of the Year. Sargent is also a three-time section Teacher of the Year (1986, '91 and '95).

If you want to know about the golfing business, Sargent is a good one to turn to.


Part-time Corona del Mar resident John Cook claimed his third Champions Tour title this year following his final-round six-under-par 66 Sunday in the Montreal Championship.

Cook set a tournament record 21-under 195 at Fontainebleau Golf Club in Blainville, Quebec. Lu Chien-soon of Taiwan finished second by three strokes to Cook.

Cook has eight victories on the 50-and-older tour to go with 11 PGA Tour titles.

Copyright © 2019, Daily Pilot
EDITION: California | U.S. & World