2012 Colorado Golf Hall of Fame Inductee
The late Tom Babb did plenty for Colorado golf during his 27 years of working at Inverness Golf Club in Englewood. If there was any doubt about that, Myran Craig, a former executive director of the Colorado Section PGA, put Babb's considerable contributions in some perspective.
"Of the long list of those representing the Section as the president, none did more, and few did as much as Tom in constantly striving for the improvement of the Section, its members and programs," Craig once noted.
Babb served as director of golf at Inverness from 1973 to 2000. He was there from the very beginning, helping prepare the course for its opening, even to the point of operating some heavy earth-moving equipment as the holes were constructed. In the early years, Babb did about everything to get Inverness on its feet, including filling in as the operator of the course's snack bar on busy days. And, thanks largely to Babb's mentoring over the decades, many of his assistants have gone on to head professional positions.
Babb was a highly regarded instructor, a decorated member of the Colorado PGA and an enthusiastic host as major Colorado tournaments were played at Inverness.
All that has earned Babb a spot in the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame.
Babb was a two-term president of the Colorado PGA, serving for a total of six years in the 1980s, and he was on the Section's board of directors from 1977 to '87. He played a key role in the Section establishing a home office of its own.
Babb won each of the following Colorado PGA awards twice: Professional of the Year (1981 and '87), Teacher of the Year (1991 and '92) and Resort Merchandiser of the Year (1995 and '98). In 1999, he also earned the Colorado PGA's Warren Smith Award for lifetime achievement. And in 2000, Golf Digest named Babb one of the top 10 golf instructors in Colorado.
"In every organization, leadership is a huge element to an organization's future and success," noted Colorado-based PGA Master Professional Danny Harvanek. "Tom Babb was the right person at the right time for the Colorado Section PGA. ... His leadership played a huge role in why the Colorado Section, 'the little engine that could,' is where it is today."
During Babb's tenure at Inverness, the club hosted the Colorado Open six times (1992-97), becoming just the second home course in the history of the event after the tournament moved from Hiwan Golf Club.
Babb was also instrumental in Inverness hosting the prestigious John Elway Celebrity Classic, numerous Colorado Section Championships and the Colorado Open Golf Marathon, which raised significant funds for Craig Hospital.
"He felt very strongly that it was the duty of the facility to open its doors to as many events as possible," said Bob Stallman, who also has served as director of golf at Inverness.
Besides all of the aforementioned, Babb was always recognized as an ardent supporter of junior golf.
In addition to being an outstanding golf professional and teacher, Babb was a very good player in his own right. He qualified for the 1987 PGA National Club Pro Championship and represented the Colorado PGA in the Colorado Cup Matches during the 1980s.
Before coming to Colorado, the Chicago native was an assistant professional in Illinois and a teaching pro in Florida and Michigan.