February 22, 2002
Bob Crowther knows the difference between bad news and really bad news.
Crowther, the long-time head professional at Cripple Creek Country Club near Ocean View, Delaware, recently discussed his health problems and his ongoing recovery from major surgery.
“I’m happy to be back to work,” he said. “The club membership’s been really great, with many cards and flowers and get-well wishes.”
The trouble started about a year and a half ago. The 6’1″ golfer, who weighed a comfortable 200 pounds, was running to stay in shape. He ran a few 5K events, and even thought about entering the occasional marathon.
“I began having these big changes in how I’d feel. Some days I’d have no problems with running 10 or 15 miles, and on other days it was all I could do to get out of bed,” Crowther explained.
His mood swings were accompanied by a massive weight loss. Crowther said, “I dropped 50 pounds in five months, and we were getting scared. I was eating triple portions of everything, but I couldn’t stop losing weight. It didn’t stop until I reached 150 pounds.”
Unfortunately, a series of doctor visits produced a wide range of possible reasons for his difficulties. “We finally went back to my family doctor. He performed a complete physical, and he discovered a lump in my neck,” Crowther said.
That lump needed checking, especially since it was getting larger. Crowther traveled to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland for major surgery.
“I underwent three and a half hours of surgery. They removed a tumor, what they called a ‘toxic nodule,’ attached to my left thyroid gland. That was why I had those big hormonal ups and downs. I stayed in the hospital for two days, and then came home for a couple weeks for recovery.”
“They took out the entire nodule and my left thyroid gland, along with a piece of the isthmus that normally connects the left and right thyroid glands together.”
“Fortunately, the biopsy after the surgery showed that the nodule was non-cancerous, which was the good news,” Crowther noted.
“I’ll be undergoing more tests soon to see if my right thyroid gland is still producing enough of the required hormones. If it isn’t, then I’ll have to start a regimen of synthetic hormone therapy. I’m still trying to get my weight back. So far I’ve only managed to add a single pound.”
Crowther stressed how his wife helped him. “Bonnie’s been wonderful throughout this process. She had to handle everything for a while there, dealing with our kids and all with me laid up.”
Things were certainly easier when he started out in golf.
Crowther graduated from high school in Wayne, New Jersey in 1979. The avid golfer was also an accomplished skier, and was on the developmental squad of the U.S. Ski Team for a while.
Crowther joined the Marines, and was stationed at Camp LeJeune. After his discharge in 1984, he used his skills at golf and skiing by working for the Whiteface Mountain Resort in Lake Placid, New York. He then began a stint as an assistant golf pro at the Country Club of Ithaca, in New York.
“I then worked as the first assistant pro at Meadia Heights, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, for three years. I left there to become the head professional at Cripple Creek in 1990.”
Crowther’s work for better relations between golf professionals and the clubs for whom they work has gained notice. He’s twice won the Philadelphia P.G.A. Section’s annual Bill Strasbaugh award for his efforts.
The popular golf pro is looking forward to the new season as he recovers. “The club’s been doing a lot of work to get ready for spring, and I’m glad to be back in action.”
Shawnee Country Club will host a “Meet the New Golf Pro” night for its members at the clubhouse on March 1, 2002 from 6 to 8 p.m.
Devon Peterson, a Class A P.G.A. professional, begins his new job at Shawnee that day, after years of experience at Atlantic City Country Club and other New Jersey courses.