Obit: Here's to Joe Couch, who lived the golfing life we all dream of — on Guam
The Guam golfing community has been mourning the death of Guam golf icon Joe Thomas Couch, who died Aug. 16 at the age of 78 after (...)
The Guam golfing community has been mourning the death of Guam golf icon Joe Thomas Couch, who died Aug. 16 at the age of 78 after battling a long illness, said Richard Sablan, president of the Guam National Golf Federation, in a release.
Couch was born and raised in El Dorado, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas, where he played collegiate golf.
He moved to Guam in 1971 to work for J&G Enterprises’ advertising department, and he joined Glimpses of Guam Magazine in 1974, which at the time was published and run by the U.S. Navy.
Couch ended up taking over the ownership of Glimpses and operated the business for 31 years until selling the company in 2005.
Although he was committed to his business, Couch’s passion had always been golf.
He played competitively in the early ’70s to the late ’80s and was also a member of the Guam national men’s team competing the South Pacific Games.
He played in the championship and A-flights, and continued to play recreationally with the Hawaiian Golf Club.
As a member of Guam National Golf Federation, Couch served in several capacities from board member, to president to secretary general.
Couch served alongside the late George Benoit for many years, and the two of them were responsible for the growth and development of the sport of golf on Guam over the last 40 years.
Couch helped establish Guam junior golf as well as the men and women’s amateur golf programs. Couch was instrumental in helping to establish a direct relationship with the Royal & Ancient Golf Club, more commonly known as the R&A, and was instrumental in helping secure Guam’s membership to the R&A affiliate the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation.
Membership in the R&A enabled Guam’s top adult and junior players to receive invitations to participate in world-class amateur tournaments and competitions throughout Asia, the Pacific, the United States and Europe over the years.
Over the course of the last several years, Joe’s declining health kept him in the background of the program.
“In spite of his personal situation, he was always there to lend a hand. For as long as he was able, he attended every ranking tournament that was held by the federation almost up to the very end. Whether it was shuttling players to and from the driving range or working as the tournament starter, he was always there to assist,” said Sablan.
“Joe is fondly remembered for his sense of humor and his joking manner. He always kept the meetings lively and upbeat,” Sablan said.
“Joe was a good guy and a lot of fun to work with,” said Carlos Salas, former Guam National Golf Federation vice president. “He was dedicated to the organization and was generous with his time. He will be missed.”
Couch is survived by his wife of 31 years and longtime Guam National Golf Federation national team member Mariquita “Laling” Cruz Couch. He leaves behind a brother, Lonnie Couch, and sister, Betty Couch.