WATERTOWN-During the spring membership meeting of the Connecticut Section PGA, President Ian Marshall announced Garry Sassu as the 2018 Golf Professional of the Year.
Sassu has been a long time Section member who consistently demonstrates the qualities and values of this award. It is the highest honor that can be paid to a PGA Professional.
“Being named Professional of the Year is humbling more than anything else,” Sassu said. “The Connecticut Section has a lot of great candidates, so just to be thought about to receive the award was enough.”
It was Sassu’s countless successful programs at Chippanee Country Club in Bristol that helped earn him the Professional of the Year Award. Previously was named Private Merchandiser of the Year (1994), Junior Golf Leader (2004), and Bill Strausbaugh Award winner (2014).
“My greatest passion is teaching young golfers how to play the game,” said Sassu. “My truly favorite day of the week is Friday morning when I teach 80-100 kids at the club.”
Sassu began his golf career as an assistant to fellow Professional of the Year John Nowobilski at Pautipaug Country Club in Baltic.
“He was an established player, but what impressed me most were his social skills early on,” Nowobilski said. “He hit it off with the members right away and personified a true golf professional by appearance, character, attitude, and playing skills.”
After two years at Pautipaug, Sassu became an assistant at Chippanee under Leo Chizinski from 1983-1984, and then head professional in 1985.
“I try to be the best that I can be in whatever I do,” Sassu said. “I try to pass it on to my children and because of that I’ve lived a very blessed life. I go to work every day at a job that I absolutely love to do, in a town that I absolutely love. I do it at a country club that I love to be at and work for a fantastic group of people. And most of my best friends in the world are from Chippanee Country Club.”
Back in his junior golf days, Sassu was at nearby Pequabuck Golf Club in Bristol, learning from pro Dave Proll.
“He took me under his wings when I was a kid,” Sassu said. “I always appreciated what he did for me.”
Sassu was captain of the golf and wrestling teams at Bristol Central High School, where he was an All-CCIL golf selection in the Class of 1975.
He then played golf at Stetson University, in DeLand, Florida. There, he lettered all four years and served as captain his senior season. He was the team MVP and had the lowest stroke average in his final three seasons.
Sassu played in the Greater Hartford Open, now Travelers Championship, in 1987 and in the National PGA Championship in 1991.
He is a certified club fitter for PING, Titleist, Taylor Made, Calloway and Cobra Golf companies and was selected the PING Golf Company Regional Club Fitter of the Year in 2002.
In 2009, Sassu was recognized by the Bristol Tramps and was inducted into the Bristol Sports Hall of Fame in 2014.
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860)801-5096 or firstname.lastname@example.org