One of Us: Ron Philo


Ron Philo is the recently appointed director of golf for Sawgrass Country Club.


What are your primary roles and responsibilities?

As director of golf at Sawgrass Country Club, I oversee the daily operation of the golf course operations, its staff and programming. I also work with the various member committees to ensure my team and I are living up to the club’s mission, providing an exceptional experience by combining our oceanfront location with excellent golf, tennis, fitness, dining and social activities for our members, their families and guests. 

I understand you’re relatively new inthe role. Can you please tell us about the first few weeks on the job?

My first day was Sept. 18. I have received a warm welcome from the community of members and my teammates at the club. Since arriving, I have been actively working to meet the membership. I am fortunate to have inherited a great team who has been led by PGA Head Professional Michael Broderick over the past year. It is a privilege to be here at Sawgrass Country Club, and I look forward to having the chance to be involved with every member and working to enhance the Sawgrass golf experience.

How did you get to this point? What’s your background?

I have 27 years under my belt as a Class PGA member. I was a past member of the PGA Tour’s developmental tour (Nike, Nationwide) and a PGA Professional National Championship winner. Throughout my career, I made seven PGA Championship appearances, one U.S. Open appearance, one Senior PGA Championship appearance and one Senior U.S. Open appearance. I also was a four-time PGA Section champion, and have been recognized as the PGA Section Teacher of the Year, Merchandiser of the Year and Player of the Year (five times). I’m a Florida native who was born in Tallahassee. I received my Bachelor of Arts and Master of Business Administration from the Florida State University. My fiancé is Susan Bond, who works for PGA Magazine. I have two children, Shannon (25) and Ryan (20).

What inspired you to pursue a career in the golf industry?

I was inspired by my love of the game and my passion for sharing with others what golf has provided me and my family. I am a third-generation golf professional. In the late 1960s, my father Ron Philo followed his brother David to Jacksonville. David was the golf professional at Timuquana Country Club, and my father came to open Baymeadows. 20 years later, I came to Ponte Vedra to begin my pursuit under the tutelage of longtime family friend, Bob Duval. He, together with David, cemented my desire to follow my passion into the ranks of professional golf. I have a sister, Laura Diaz, who followed me into the “family business.” She has more on-course success with two LPGA Tour wins and four Solheim Cup appearances.


How do you feel about the state of the golf industry today?

This is an exciting time for the golf industry. Exceptional talent is on display on both the men’s and women’s tours. Here in Greater Jacksonville, we are in the heart of it. At the same time, baby boomers are retiring and finding themselves with the opportunity to pursue the game with vigor.


What do you enjoy most about living on the First Coast?

Despite the challenges associated with our recent hurricanes, the weather, and of course the people. The First Coast offers residents just enough change throughout the year to appreciate each season. I love the low country, the St. Johns River and the beach. All three have their unique character and charm, and southern hospitality may be something that’s taken for granted here, but those of us who spend time away from it know just how real it is.