If anyone is qualified to lead the South Carolina Golf Association, Biff Lathrop is.
“I have had a 37-year internship,” he said and laughed.
He will take the helm of the state’s top golf organization on Jan. 1, succeeding his father, Hall of Famer Happ Lathrop, who has guided the SCGA for more than 40 years.
“An exciting opportunity,” Biff Lathrop said Thursday after the SCGA announced his promotion from senior director to executive director. “It’s a step up in my career, and I’m looking forward to it.
“(The senior Lathrop) will still be around with an emeritus title. The association has never been an occupation for him; it’s in his blood. He will be a valuable resource going forward.”
Happ Lathrop became the only employee of the SCGA in 1976. During his tenure, he bolstered the number of member clubs from 99 to more than 300, the number of golfers from about 11,000 to more than 70,000 and assets from $50,000 into the millions. The state’s junior golf program is the envy of the nation. Scholarship programs and the junior golf foundation developed under his leadership.
“We want to build on that,” Biff Lathrop said. “We have a great staff in place, and we’re looking to continue to grow the game. The association is certainly headed in the right direction, and we want to look at some ideas for the future as they come along. In the modern world, if you aren’t moving ahead, you’re getting behind.”
Happ Lathrop’s one-person operation required assistance and the family – wife Joyce, son Biff and daughter Shaye – lent a hand. Biff’s introduction – and the beginning of his “internship:” “I started out by licking envelopes for mailing when I was 6,” he said.
Biff, 43, would attend tournaments with the family and gradually assumed more responsibilities. He joined the association in an official capacity in 1995 and through the years advanced to senior director. In that role, he has overseen all actions of the SCGA, including competitions, member services and other activities. He is a rules expert and has served on the USGA Mid-Amateur committee.
Director of competitions Kyle Maloney has been working with Biff Lathrop in conducting tournaments for more than a year and will assume that primary role.