On the field: Gary Koch

October 23, 2013 | South Tampa Magazine | Categories: Editorial, Field of Dreams, Sports | Tags: No tags found.

Tournament Players Club (TPC) Tampa Bay

TPC’s 18-hole course in upper Tampa is a crown jewel among professional and amateur golfers alike

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On the course: Gary Koch

An interview with golf pro, NBC Sports golf analyst and Tampa resident, Gary Koch

[mks_dropcap style=”squared”]B[/mks_dropcap]orn in Baton Rouge, LA, Gary Koch has spent the majority of his life right here in Tampa Bay. He graduated from King High School, spent his early golfing days golfing in Temple Terrace and went off to the University of Florida, where he received a scholarship to play golf. He even married his high school sweetheart in Donna Suarez. Koch was a one-time representative for the Hunter’s Green Country Club and joined the PGA Tour in the 1970s and even played on the Champions Tour. He’s best known for his role as a golf analyst for NBC Sports, a title he’s held since 1997. We caught up with Koch before he played a round at TPC with some friends to talk about life in Tampa Bay and on the Tour.

Do you play at TPC Tampa Bay often?

I travel quite a bit so I tend to play more out of state. But it’s nice to have a TPC facility here in Tampa. Pros from all over the country come here to play.

How did you get into golf analysis? Did you go to broadcasting school?

It’s funny, I actually didn’t. I graduated with a public relations degree from the University of Florida. I did an audition with ESPN in 1990 and they seemed to think I had some kind of potential and offered me a contract going senior golf coverage. A lot of my technique has just been trial and error. I do watch tapes from the broadcasts and the producers will tell me what I didn’t good and what I did that wasn’t so good. Good people have worked with me to get me better.

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Any tips for burgeoning broadcasters?

Just be yourself and don’t try and create a persona. My producers always told me don’t be afraid to give your opinion and tell what you know, because you do.

Are you playing professionally much anymore?

Not too much. I occasionally play on the Senior Tour. I actually just played the US Senior Open in Omaha a few months ago.

What are some of your favorite courses?

Pebble Beach, Shinnecock Hills on Long Island and Turnberry Resort in Scotland.

What’s your favorite course in Florda?

I like TPC at Sawgrass. It’s fun to play and broadcast from there.

Do you have a least favorite course?

To me, appraising a golf course is very subjective. It has a lot to do with how successful you were when you played there!

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What’s the strangest thing to ever happen to you on a golf course?

I was a part of a group once where a squirrel to a guy’s golf Rolex from the cart. The color must have attracted him. Fortunately, someone saw it happen and was able to stop it pretty quickly. Of course it wasn’t my watch so I got a good kick out of that.


You’ve traveled the world with your profession. What has kept you in Tampa?

I’ve lived in a lot of places in Tampa. I lived in Avila, Temple Terrace and I’ve been a South Tampa resident since 1997. Both of my daughters went to the Academy of the Holy Names. It’s just a great place to live. And I always like that my house is so close to the airport. I travel quite a bit and it’s nice to get off the plane and get right home.

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Course Facts

Name: TPC Tampa Bay

Namesake: The TPC Network includes more than 30 golf courses around the U.S. and beyond. The courses serve as a site for the PGA Tour and practice facility for Tour members. TPC Tampa Bay is open to the public as well.

History: Architect Bobby Weed designed this 18-hole, par 71 course after navigating the property with a horse in 1991. Weed enlisted golf legend Chi Chi Rodriguez as his player consultant.

Location: 5300 W. Lutz Lake Fern Rd., Lutz, FL 33558

Year Built: 1991

Length: 6,900 from championship tees

Fast Fact: TPC Tampa Bay is one of only two courses in the Bay area to be designated as an Audobon Cooperative Sanctuary.