Houston Bowles is tournament chairman for this year’s PLAYERS Championship. In this role, he oversees the 2,000-or-so volunteers who support the PGA TOUR’s flagship event. He also represents THE PLAYERS at speaking engagements throughout the year. Bowles is a federal account manager for North Florida at Florida Blue. A resident of Atlantic Beach, he has lived on the First Coast since 1998. A PLAYERS volunteer over the years, he has served on the committees for the Benefactor Tent, commissary, corporate hospitality, ecology, general parking, off-site parking, volunteer parking, VIP parking and walking scorers.
Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
I was born and raised in the Washington, D.C., area and have lived in the greater Jacksonville area for over 20 years. My wife and I live in Atlantic Beach and have two daughters, Ellie and Kadie.
How did you first become involved with THE PLAYERS?
Being a golf fan, it was a no-brainer for me to get involved with the tournament. I first came as a fan in 1998 and knew I had to be a part of the tournament, so the very next year I started volunteering in the Corporate Hospitality committee. This will be my 24th year as a volunteer, and each and every year it just gets better and better.
What do you enjoy most about what THE PLAYERS offers and your current role?
As one of the oldest professional sports events on the First Coast, I appreciate that THE PLAYERS served as a gateway for so many other professional sports franchises and events. THE PLAYERS offers exposure to the sport for younger generations, service to others for the volunteers, support for so many worthy causes and economic benefits for the community. As the chairman, I enjoy seeing others enjoying the experience of the tournament — the crowds of fans cheering, the pride of the sponsors and vendors representing their businesses, the volunteers working hard, knowing their efforts serve our local community, and the PGA staff fulfilling the goal of running an amazing experience.
Do you have some goals as tournament chairman?
I think every chairman hopes for a tournament without any issues — good weather, great attendance, and record-breaking fundraising to distribute to our charities — but most especially NO pandemics.
You’ve had a chance to observe the impact of THE PLAYERS on the local community. Can you tell us a little bit about what you’ve seen?
The impact of THE PLAYERS here in our community is unparalleled. Obviously, it is our responsibility to be good citizens in the communities where we live, work and host one of the world’s most recognized sporting events in the world, but to be able to see the reactions of the nonprofit charities each and every time is remarkable. It’s a testament to the continued commitment from our volunteers, the proud partners, civic leaders, fans and frankly everyone in Northeast Florida. It’s truly remarkable.
What do you enjoy most about living on the First Coast?
The First Coast grabs you once you really experience it, warmer than winter, but just enough to enjoy a good fire. There is always an outdoor activity to do whether in your backyard or just down the road.
How do you like to spend your free time?
Playing golf, of course.