METAIRIE, La. – PGA Professionals Jimmy Gamblin and Joe Barbato (presented posthumously) have been selected as the 2016 inductees to Gulf States PGA Hall of Fame. This honor recognizes their devotion to growing the game of golf and their longstanding contributions to the game.
“This is a greatly appreciated honor,” said Gamblin regarding his induction. “It’s the biggest thing to ever happen to me and I owe it all to my junior golfers.”
Gamblin was motivated to focus his efforts on junior golf in the early stages of his career. He recalls being greatly inspired by Northwood Country Club’s Head Professional Bill Davis who Gamblin said was providing opportunities to juniors during a time when most professionals were only expressing interest in growing the game amongst older groups.
“As soon as I met Bill, I knew that’s what I wanted to do,” said Gamblin. “I wanted to be a second father to these kids just like him.”
An eager and committed advocate of golf, Gamblin dedicated his life to teaching the game. He made substantial impacts on the lives of numerous friends, colleagues and students while serving as an assistant golf professional (1968-1969) then longtime head professional (1976-2013) at Northwood Country Club in Meridian, Miss., in addition to Meridian’s Briarwood Country Club (1970-1976).
Gamblin’s clear passion for teaching and supporting youth resulted in the growth of many new opportunities for juniors to learn and develop their game in the Gulf States region, including his involvement with establishing the Meridian Junior Golf Association and First Tee of Meridian. In addition to serving the Gulf States PGA as the vice president of the Mississippi Chapter, Gamblin has also served numerous terms on both the Section and Chapter junior golf committees in an effort to continually enhance junior programming.
Representative of his admirable behavior, Gamblin is known for giving lessons free of charge simply out of love for the game and a strong desire to give back to the community. He is also revered for upholding and elevating the image of a PGA Professional, leading by example to promote the respect and dignity associated with the sport. It is these qualities and countless more that have earned him the frequently-used designations of “friend” and “mentor” by those who have interacted with him.
“God blessed me real good to have the opportunity to work with these juniors and see them grow up, get college scholarships, go into the golf industry, and witness some become golf coaches,” said Gamblin. “When I see what they’re doing now, I just hope that I had a little part in making them who they are today.”
Joe Barbato, PGA will join Gamblin and the other esteemed members of the Gulf States PGA Hall of Fame. Barbato was instrumental in the formation of the Gulf States PGA and served as the Section’s first president in 1968. He spent the latter part of his PGA career in Mobile, AL.
Joe was the youngest of three brothers, all of whom were longtime PGA Professionals. Mike and Luca Barbato are also enshrined in the Gulf States PGA Hall of Fame. The Barbato family is from Lafayette, LA.
The 2016 Hall of Fame inductees will be recognized during a ceremony on January 14th at Northwood Country Club in Meridian, MS.
About the Gulf States PGA Section
The Gulf States Section, Professional Golfers’ Association of America, is an association of golf professionals whose mission is to promote interest, participation, and enjoyment in the game of golf; establish and maintain professional standards of practice; and enhance the well being of golf professionals.