Mark Trotter, Director of Golf
He has been a golf professional for 25 years acquiring his PGA card in 1995.
In high school Mark’s father wouldn’t allow him to play football and his school was too small (Go Bunnies!) to have a baseball team. This is when Mark’s 60 year old cousin, Mary, decided to introduce him to the game of golf. Mary was more than qualified as a teacher as she had won over 16 local golf championships and is still known as one of Champaign, Illinois’s most accomplished golfers.
In 1993 he accepting a 6 month job offer that would take him to Florida and has remained in the sunshine state since. Before assisting with the opening of Sarasota National in the Fall of 2007, Mark helped develop the teaching program at Legacy Golf Club in Bradenton, Florida (also a Troon facility), later becoming their Head Professional.
During that time, Mark also spent 13 summers as a member of the coaching staff at Duke University’s prestigious Duke Golf School. The staff had 6 Hall of Fame collegiate coaches on its roster and Mark was the recipient of the Southwest Chapter Teacher of the Year Award in 2002.
Mark’s philosophy on learning to golf is that everyone should work toward enhancing your own unique golf swing. Regardless of your shape, size or ability, Mark focuses on maximizing your personal potential and feels that having fun and not giving up is what’s most important.
When not in the Pro Shop or out on the course, Mark is an avid cruier, he also enjoys teaching calligraphy at PGA workshops and loves all aspects of stand-up comedy; watching, writing, and performing. You never know when a performance might break out in the Pro Shop so be prepared to laugh when you visit Sarasota
Charles "Charlie" Darbyshire, Head Professional
Charlie is the youngest of 6 siblings, all born with a natural inclination towards golf. Charlie spent a large amount of his childhood at the golf course where his father, a lifetime PGA member, worked as a Pro. Charlie started playing golf at the age of 5 and hasn’t put up his clubs since.
After graduating from Venice High School, where he played on the golf team all 4 years, Charlie enlisted in the Army and served in Desert Storm before returning to his hometown of Venice, Florida.
Charlie’s father, who was still giving lessons at the time, suggested he get a job working the bag drop at his course while he entered the PGA Apprentice program. Charlie became a PGA member in 2007 and accepted the Assistant Professional position at Sarasota National in 2008. Charlie was promoted to Head Professional 2 years later.
Whether you are a beginner or simply wanting to sharpen your skills, Charlie’s teaching philosophy is to focus on adjusting and improving upon each student’s natural abilities. To achieve one’s personal best at the game, he stresses the importance of building upon what feels instinctive to each individual and not forcing a certain form or style.
Charlie has been married to his wife, Aga, for 10 years and together they have a 5 year old daughter, Alexandra. Although Charlie admits Alexandra probably enjoys riding in the cart looking for wildlife best, she can occasionally be seen on the course with her dad, her pink clubs in tow.
Rich Williamson, Assistant Professional
For as long as Rich can remember, he has played golf with both his dad and his grandmother. He is currently an apprentice in the PGA PGM program and is striving to be a Class A Professional.
Rich has a plethora of world experience, growing up in Dublin Ohio, moving west to Colorado and eventually heading back across the country to New Jersey to be closer to his brother.
In 2011, after taking a mission trip to Bolivia with Love and Action International Ministries, a non-profit ministry that focuses on developing orphanages in Latin American countries, Rich realized his desire to work with children.
After taking another mission trip to Mexico, he was further inspired by his desire to work with kids and became eager to return home with aspirations of developing a youth golf program.
Rich had been visiting his grandmother in the Venice area since the 1980’s and in 2012 decided to head south to warmer climates. He took on a golf apprenticeship and met his wife making his move permanent. Rich has been with Sarasota National since 2012 and has his apprenticeship under Mark Trotter, our Director of Golf.
When Rich isn’t golfing he enjoys spending time with his wife and 7 year old daughter, fishing, playing guitar and going to the movies.