A heart for community

Superintendent and volunteer firefighter Tim Webb receives the London Ontario Golf Heart Award. 


Tim Webb at Sunningdale Golf & Country Club in London, Ontario
Tim Webb, who oversees Sunningdale Golf & Country Club in London, Ontario, received the London Ontario Golf Heart Award this year. Photo by Kaitlyn Jeffrey

The London Ontario Golf Heart Award is presented annually to a community member who has given back to the game of golf unselfishly through the years.

The award’s most recent recipient, Tim Webb, is equally accomplished beyond the club where he works.

Webb, a GCSAA Class A superintendent and 36-year association member, is in his 37th year overseeing 36-hole Sunningdale Golf & Country Club in London, Ontario. His 25-year career as a volunteer firefighter is not as lengthy as his time in the golf industry, but his dedication — whether at the club or away from it — exemplifies the man.

A decade ago, Webb arrived first at the scene of a two-car accident. It turned out that he knew a person involved. Let Webb’s son, Brandon, take it from there.

“She rolled her car. Couldn’t get out on her own,” says Brandon, who came to learn that the woman was his grade school friend in their youth. “To this day, she says it helped save her life.”

Webb would tell you he simply was doing his job.

Earlier this year, Webb became the first superintendent to win The London Ontario Golf Heart Award.

LondonOntarioGolf.com publisher and editor Jeffrey Reed began presenting the award in 2011. “I was quite excited,” Webb says when he was informed that he was the 2023 winner. “It’s great for our industry that they started realizing the job superintendents are doing. They are an intricate part of the golf industry as well.”

The award committee makes its selection in the categories of golf professionals/instructors, golf mentors, golf course owners/operators, golf course architects/designers, members of the media and, now, superintendents. Mike Weir, Masters champion in 2003, is among previous Heart Award winners. Weir once played in a charity tournament at Sunningdale.

Webb’s selection satisfies Randy Wilson, district fire chief for the Middlesex Centre Fire Services-Arva Station in Arva, Ontario. “He’s a funny guy. He keeps the guys going. He is well-liked by all firefighters,” Wilson says. “We’re proud of him for receiving this award. (He’s) just a good person.”

Webb, 59, credits his mother, Ruth, for setting the example of how to act. “I saw firsthand how she treated people, respected them and genuinely cared for people,” he says.

Besides his job as superintendent, Webb serves as a volunteer firefighter (he’s second from the left in the back). Photo courtesy of Randy Wilson

Tim Webb putting out a fire as a volunteer firefighter

He grew up in London, a city nearly exactly halfway between Toronto and Detroit. Webb recalls as a kid riding 10-speed bikes with his brother Chris on a path that took them past Sunningdale. Tim Webb was 13 when he initially encountered life working at a golf course, toiling in the back shop cleaning clubs at Fanshawe Golf Club in London. “I remember I wasn’t tall enough to put the clubs away that were up higher,” he says with a laugh. “I also remember thinking I want to work outside.”

Mission accomplished. Webb was employed for five years at Fanshawe before being hired as an assistant at Sunningdale. One year later, he was elevated to superintendent and has hosted both Ontario and Canadian Amateur championships and the Freedom 55 Tournament and has overseen numerous renovations. He also has groomed many of his assistants for promotions. Paul Halk is one of them.

“He’s very dedicated. He was always there, around the staff, very friendly, approachable, characteristics I want to use to try to build my staff,” says Halk, a 15-year International Superintendent Member at Donalda Club in Toronto. “His volunteer role as a firefighter shows his dedication, not just for the golf club but for the community. In this job, dedication early in my career helped me along. I used to go to his office, and he took time in his day to talk to me about whether I would like to go to school or what I would like to do. Apart from that, he knew what he was doing with the turf.”

Sunningdale head golf professional Jason Wyatt has known that for a while.

“I have been very fortunate to have a working relationship with Tim Webb for over 30-plus years. Tim is the consummate superintendent and is always smiling while out at the club. He is an expert in his craft and extremely detailed. This has never been more apparent than during our recent construction phase at Sunningdale Golf & Country Club. I consider him not only an incredible co-worker, but also a friend,” Wyatt says.

Webb also is a father who has done his best to separate the golf course and firefighter duties from being a husband to his wife, Lynn, and children Kaitlyn and Brandon. “When I was younger, I never understood the commitment and work ethic he had to have at the golf course,” says Brandon, a business development manager for a medical technology company. “Away from there, he’d be outside throwing us the ball, kicking soccer balls. At home, he had our undivided attention.”

Speaking of home, Webb has no issue being late for work. “It’s a 30-second walk to the shop,” Webb says. “I’m usually early.”

Howard Richman is GCM's associate editor