This month we interview John Grothe, who received the Section’s highest honor in being chosen as the 2020 Golf Professional of the Year. He is also greatly involved with the Children’s Cancer Association.

Facility: Willamette Valley CC

Hometown: Carmel, CA

PGA Member Since: 2001

Tell us about your golf beginnings.  How did you get started? 

I came to golf a bit later in life. When I was 18, I began working at the Pebble Beach Resorts as a busser in a restaurant overlooking the first tee of the famed course. Working at Pebble, my passion for the game was supported and encouraged. I am a bit embarrassed to say my first full round of golf was at Pebble Beach Golf Links. What I shot will remain a closely guarded secret, but I did lose 17 balls in 16 holes before I parred 17 and 18 with my last golf ball.

Who are or were your mentors?

Early in my career – Jim Langley, Laird Small and RJ Harper

Middle of my career – Sean McGowan and Jerry Mowlds

Later in my career – Harold Bluestein, Sean Fredrickson and Barb Trammel

You are often seen playing in Section and Oregon Chapter tournaments. What are your favorite Section event and Oregon Chapter event to play in?

I try to play in as many events as my schedule allows. This year I am scheduled to play in 16 events. My favorites are the PNW Pro-Am, Pro-Assistant and the Bandon Pro-Am. Basically any time I can lean on my partner!

You serve on the Children’s Cancer Association Ambassador Board, and are a national speaker and parent advocate as well. Please tell us what the CCA means to you.

At 18-months-old, my son Colton started having seizures. What began as a mere eye flutter, eventually escalated into 5-hour long episode and a medically induced coma. Facing the real possibility of losing our son, I was full of doubt and fear. I questioned what our future would bring and how I would summon the strength to face every day. Eventually, we told Colton it was OK to leave us.

It was in that moment, at our lowest point, there was a quiet knock on the PICU door – that’s when CCA walked into the room. A young man in a purple shirt representing the MyMusic Rx program asked if he could play for Colton as he lay in his coma. Ever so softly the young man strummed and sang on his ukulele. It was a simple song and a simple action but it gave us a moment of reflection. It gave us hope when we had none.

Over a few weeks, Colton slowly re-emerged and it was CCA’s MyMusicRx program he engaged with first. A music specialist visited Colton daily and before long, Colton was chirping to his favorite songs. The evident joy within him and the hope within us had been restored thanks to CCA.

It was because of this experience I got involved with CCA.  CCA provides JOY to seriously ill children around the country as they transform pediatric care.