Tim Chocklett Inducted into the RVGHOF Jun 7, 2004  (15 years ago)

2004: Tim Chocklett
By Randy King, The Roanoke Times
Jun 7, 2004, 10:40

Thirteen months ago, Tim Chocklett heard rumors that he was being considered as a candidate for the Roanoke Valley Golf Hall of Fame.

"Somebody said they had put my name in the pot," Chocklett recalled last week. "But I didn't get it. So I felt like, 'Don't worry about it, my name probably won't come up again.'"

Well, Chocklett was wrong. He got a well-deserved mulligan a year later.

Strongly endorsed by those who know him best, Chocklett was a veritable "gimme" to become the 29th inductee in the Hall of Fame. He will officially enter at an awards banquet in November.

In addition to being one of Roanoke's most solid players for the past two decades, Chocklett has given much more back to the game in his 24 years as golf coach at William Byrd High School. The Terriers captured GroupAA titles in 1992 and '97. William Byrd has been the GroupAA runner-up three times and finished third on three occasions.

Chocklett, along with HOF board of directors at-large member Jerry English, was instrumental in the mid-1990s in the formation of the points system to help determine the Roanoke area's best junior players. The system was so well-received that it has since been expanded to rank the valley's top men, women and senior men.

"Tim has done so many things for Roanoke Valley golf," said English, who spearheaded Chocklett's nomination for induction. "Of all the coaches I have known, Tim is probably the closest thing to a combination teaching pro/golf coach that I have ever seen. His knowledge and love of the game is constantly instilled in his players."

Chocklett said he's humbled that folks think enough of him and his contributions to golf to make him the Hall's newest member.

"I was really kind of shocked when I found out," Chocklett said. "I was greatly honored. I thought maybe you had to be real old, real good, or die or something like that to get in.

"Well, I haven't died yet," he added, laughing. "I'm thinking I probably got in there because of a little bit of everything. Coaching golf, I think is probably the biggest reason. It's kind of like I've been a pretty good player but never a great player."

Surprisingly, Chocklett did not pick up a club until after his 1973 graduation from William Byrd, where he played tennis, basketball and ran track.

"Some friends of mine asked me to play golf one day and I think I went out and shot 95," said Chocklett, a 1977 Virginia Tech graduate. "I could have cheated ... I didn't know any of the rules. They just told me to hit my driver on the first tee, hit a 3-wood on the second shot, and when you get around the green, you use those irons. That was all the directions I had."

Chocklett eventually honed to his game to where he was shooting in the low 70s. In 1995, he won the Valley Amateur championship.

Unlike many high school coaches, Chocklett knows enough about the golf swing that he can offer cures when one of his kids is struggling.

"Some of the parents who were pretty good golfers themselves would tell their sons on our team what they were doing and the kids wouldn't listen to them," Chocklett said. "Then I would watch them, and I would tell them the same thing and they would do it. Kids don't always listen to parents, but they'll listen to you as the golf coach if they think you know what you're doing."

Chocklett's Byrd teams have been blessed with some of the valley's best players, most notably current Blue Hills teaching pro Jeff Sprinkel, a former state high school champion; reigning two-time HOF men's champion Scott Wise; and former HOF men's winners Ryan Ketron (1997) and Robbie Craft (2000).

Chocklett, whose teenaged sons Ben and Josh have become accomplished players themselves, is trying to get his game back in shape after undergoing surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome three years and not swinging a club for two years. He returned to competition last June, posting a respectable 11th-place finish in the HOF men's championship.

"That was like winning the tournament for me. I was simply tickled to death I could still remember how to play," said Chocklett, who now also coaches the William Byrd boys' tennis team.

Chocklett, who also has worked part time in the Hunting Hills pro shop for the past 20 years, said his wife, Susan, has had to put up with a lot because of his strong commitment to golf.

"There have been a lot of nights when I've been very late for supper," Chocklett said. "I've had a lot of cold dinners. But that's better than no dinner at all. She never gets her name in the paper, so I'd like to thank my wife for all her support."

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