Success Stories

A Wonderful Student: Gary Barton

Gary BartonLong ago in a land far away, I had a youngster show up on my lesson tee during my Westchester CC days. In fact it was the last day of my teaching season that year (mid 90’s). He was not a wealthy country club kid, but a middle class public course kid from Staten Island, NY. Gary Barton was a polite, strong, bright youngster with a big time desire to excel. I have to expand on the polite, bright part…. If you were to meet Brenda and Gary Sr. it would be clear why Gary was what he was and is who he is . This world needs more Brenda’s and Gary Sr.’s!!

Let me get back on track. That day in late October Gary showed up it was freezing cold. It was my last lesson, on my last day of a long season. Next stop Florida! I just wanted to get going. However as the lesson started this young man stopped me in my tracks.

You see he wasn’t particularly gifted although reasonably athletic. He was a broad wide body. more of a football body than for golf. He was raw undeveloped …. I asked young Gary what his goal in golf was. I anticipated this young tike to tell me he’d like to break 90 … His instant reply was “Coach, I’d like to play college golf “! His passion and depth captured me instantly. First of all college golf for Gary was 4+ years and gobs of hard work down the road if at all. Honestly although I loved the passion and exuberance of the student, if you had asked me after that first session what I thought I would have said he was a long shot at best.

Well 20+ years later let me bring you up to speed. Gary went on to play wonderful Jr golf. He went to The College of William and Mary. There he was a two year Captain of the golf team. Gary set and still holds several school records.

In his last event his senior year he won The Virginia Cavalier Classic in a playoff. The field was loaded with powerful ACC teams. William and Mary was projected to finish last. Gary’s individual win propelled William and Mary to perhaps its finest golf hour to date, a major team win! I remember getting a call from Sr. & Jr. still at the event. They were both crying. I never told them but when we finally hung up I cried my eyes out as well…. Tears of joy!

Gary graduated with upwards of a 3.6 GPA. He has since earned Masters in Business Administration and Information Technology from George Washington University. He was recently made a partner at the prestigious Cotton & Company.

If you can’t tell I’m extremely proud of this gentlemen. However his finest accomplishments have not been on the golf course, they have not been in the classroom or in a board room. Gary married Jeanne. Mrs. Barton played college golf at a little school in the Midwest called Notre Dame. She is every bit the winner Gary is! Jeanne’s family is as wonderful as Gary’s.Gary Barton-family

They have two young boys. Gary III and James. One of my greatest teaching wishes is that I live long enough to give each of these two knuckleheads a golf lesson. I would like it to be when they’re old enough that I can share with them how damn lucky they are to have been born into a family of grandparents and parents as awesome as they have surrounding them.

I have coached winners on several major professional tours. I’m very proud of many of my accomplishments in golf. However none make me more proud then a youngster from Staten Island, NY who came to me on a cold day in late October many moons ago. He has become a father, a husband, and a business leader beyond compare. I’m proud this youngster who has grown into a wonderful man is still today one of my dear friends.

As a professional if in your long journey in this wonderful game if you are blessed to have one maybe two Gary Barton’s in your stable your time has been so very worthwhile. Thank you Gary Barton. You have taught me as many lessons as I taught you…..

Shot a 72 today!

13 GIRs (missed two greens by a yard or so). 30 putts (no three putts). 3 birdies no doubles. Missed 7 birdies from 15 ft in (one from 6, most from 12-15 range). Did not miss a fairway with the driver.

Two bad shots (mishit four iron on 13 and a pull nine iron on 14 from a hanging lie).

Very good round and one that would not have happened a month ago!! – Michael

Imprinting the word “pivot” in my brain has been very helpful

Tom, thanks again for your helpful lesson ten days ago. I have noticed that imprinting the word “pivot” in my brain has been very helpful in adjusting my swing, and the bunker play has improved also. My only problem is that, when I played with Alan on Sunday, I needed to remind him that I only can have one coach at a time. Many thanks again, —Pug Winokur

Vickers Boys Florida Parent – Child Champs AGAIN !!

Mike VickersVickers Boys Florida Parent – Child Champs AGAIN !!

Tom, you will be glad to know that Gus and I have made it five out of six years winning the FSGA Parent Child. No doubt your instruction has played a big role for us. We were 3 down going into the last day but finished eagle-birdie-par to get in a playoff. The playoff was alternate shot from 30 yards. Thankfully the kids hit the pitch. Gus lipped out and I made the four footer for the victory. We are looking forward to your return to naples so we can work some more. Thank you very much —Mike & Gus Vickers


Just wanted to thank you for your help

Hi Tom,

Greetings from northeast Ohio! Hope your summer is going well. Just wanted to thank you for your help.

Had my first hole-in-one Monday at my home club(Tippecanoe Country Club) at a charity outing! Knocked it in with a 6 iron from 170 and, get this, I won a Chevy Cruize! Not a lease, but the car itself! See you this season at the Quarry.

Respectfully, Mark Billy


Picked stuff up quickly


Picked stuff up quickly. You have some eye. You best teacher in the game

—Jon Doppelt, Former Richardson Memorial Champion


A Proud Grandpa!


I can’t thank you enough for your seeing Dennis yesterday. All he did on the way home was talk about the experience and sense of accomplishment he felt.

Thanks again. —D.

Hard work pays off !

Dear Tom,

During the month of June, the club I belong to, North Fork Country Club, held it’s first President’s Cup Tournament for women. I participated and won my flight. After winning my flight, I played the winner of the A flight for the President’s Cup. My opponent has a 14 handicap and I have a 25 handicap. We had a wonderful match and I was able to win the President’s Cup. I also played the best round I have ever played. I shot a 89 and my opponent shot an 85. It was a very exciting and fulfilling experience. 

Hard work pays off ! —Mary Ann Alexander



Shot 69/73/74

Hi Tom,

Shot 69/73/74 to finish 10th at the Swiss International Amateur. It was supposed to be 2 rounds today but they cancelled one due to heavy rain. Played good the first day, second round I was in the trees like all the time with the Driver and today not really good but even after 17. On 18 I was in the greensidebunker in a downhill lie and the sand was really flat due to the rain. I then accidently touched my ball slightly at address but enough to make it move like half an inch…. Double bogey… Frustrating to end like that. The course was in my eyes really easy and it wouldnt have been hard to shoot 3 times in the sixties, so Im really surprised that I ended up 10th in a decent field. Winner shot only -6…—Philippe


Thanks for today.

Seems simple now but habits can go unrecognized without seasoned, professional eyes. Shot 81 today. Several good darts, including 65yd lob wedge to 18 for a 1 putt par and 2 145yd 8 irons for 1 putt birdies on 2 and 9. —Thanks again, Kurt


Success Story: Val Klosterman

Val Klosterman and Tom Patri at Val’s Club Win

Long time and very dedicated student Val Klosterman won her second Spanish Wells Club Championship this past winter (2013). Val has been a wonderful student whose work ethic has allowed her to take my coaching and climb the mountain of success! She works with me each winter in Naples and during the summer season while I’m in New York we stay connected via my ON LINE V1 VIDEO ACADEMY.

Val is not through winning yet! I believe her best golf is still ahead of her.

Tom Patri’s Junior/Collegiate Years

Tom had a wonderful junior career with 15 junior titles crowned by his 1976 Met (MGA) Junior title. The Met Junior is the oldest junior event in the country. His college record was equally successful with 5 wins, twice named 1st Team All-American while attending Florida Southern College. Tom finished his collegiate campaign with a victory at the 1981 NCAA II NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP.

As a teacher and a coach the awards continued to find Tom. In 1998 Tom was named Met PGA TEACHER OF THE YEAR. In 2000 Tom was added to Golf Magazines Top 100 Teachers in America list. In both 2004 and 2006 his peers recognized him as The Southwest Florida PGA TEACHER OF THE YEAR. Finally, Tom was awarded The South Florida PGA TEACHER OF THE YEAR AWARD! Only two teachers have won Teacher of the Year in both The Met and South Florida sections. These two sections are commonly recognized as the two strongest collections of teaching and coaching talents in the country.

Tom likes nothing more than to share his golf knowledge with students who share both his passion and love for this great game regardless of their skill level.