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Meet The Staff

  • Tom Underwood
    General Manager

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    Tom has been in the golf course operations business for 22 years. He has a great love for the game and business and started in the industry playing full time on numerous mini tours after receiving his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management. Tom has led several successful operations at both nationally ranked private and semi-private golf clubs and lives in St. Augustine with his wife Melanie and their five children.

  • Matt Carroll
    Head Golf Pro

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    Matt was born in Houston, Texas, but grew up in Marietta, Ga. Matt joined the staff at Palencia in late 2015 and brings over 17 years’ experience in the golf industry as active member of the North Florida Section of the PGA. Prior to coming to Palencia Matt was the head golf professional at Misty Creek Country Club in Sarasota, Fl. In addition to being a head golf professional Matt also has held the role of Director of Instruction as well as spent time coaching at the IMG Academy during their summer adult and junior golf programs. Matt credits his family for giving him a start in the game of golf as he continues to enjoy both playing and working in the sport he loves.

  • Kyle Benson
    Assistant Golf Pro

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    Kyle was born and raised in Sarasota, Florida and played four years of high school golf at Lakewood Ranch High School. In his senior year, he won the State Championship with a record of 103-0. Following high school, Kyle enrolled in Eastern Florida State, playing for two years on the college golf team. He enjoys playing golf, fishing and spending time with friends and family. He is also in the process of completing his PGA Class-A.

  • Earl Conte
    Assistant Golf Pro

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    Earl has lived in the greater Jacksonville area since 1997. A native of Newark New Jersey, Earl grew up primarily playing baseball, bowling and tennis. He was not introduced to game of golf until later in life but immediately fell in love with the game after hitting a pure 7 iron on the 18th hole in his first participation of a charity golf event. Earl started working in the golf industry at Slammer & Squire at the World Gove Village and after 4 years there working in various capacities, he came to The Palencia Club as part of their Outside Operations Cart Staff and eventually transitioned into the Golf Shop as an Assistant Professional. Earl is planning to take his PAT and upon successful completion with will enter the PGA PGM program.

  • Santiago Cavanagh
    Director of Instruction

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    Santiago Cavanagh is a Class A PGA member with 11 years of experience and is TPI certified. He has spent time as an Assistant Golf Professional and a Head Golf Professional, most recently at King & Bear at World Golf Village where he was the Head Pro. Santiago left that position in 2006 to make a run at the PGA Tour. He has competed in numerous PGA and mini-tour events in both North and South America. For the past five years, Santiago has been and continues to be the Men's and Women's Golf Coach at Flagler College.

  • Sara Martinson
    Wedding & Special Events Director


    Sara joined The Palencia Club team in 2015 as Wedding & Special Events Director. She has a wealth of experience in coordinating weddings, parties, and business meetings and coordinates those activities for both Club Members and special events.

    Sara was born in Hampton, Virginia and moved to St. Augustine with her family when she was 10 years old. She is one of six siblings and the oldest daughter. She graduated from Nease High School(St. Augustine, FL)and then went on to earn her Marketing Degree from Florida State University.

    When she isn’t working Sara enjoys going to the beach, attending concerts, spending time with her family and golfing.

  • Michael Ryan Monahan
    Assistant Golf Professional


    Michael joined The Palencia Club in 2017 as Assistant Golf Professional. He is a Class A PGA Professional, elected August 1, 2017 to the PGA of America. Michael graduated from Coastal Carolina University in May, 2017 earning a BS in Accounting and a specialization in Professional Golf Management.

    Michael was born in Detroit, Michigan and lived in Myrtle Beach for five years where he served as Assistant Golf Professional at The Dunes Golf and Beach Club prior to making his way to The Palencia Club. He also has experience at two private golf facilities in Michigan, the Hamptons on Long Island and Whistling Straits/Blackwolf Run in Wisconsin.

    Michael has served as Head Volunteer Chairman of the USGA’s 2017 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship.

  • David Levin
    Head Golf Course Superintendent


    David Levin joined The Palencia Club in August 2017, appointed as Head Golf Course Superintendent. David came to Palenciafrom The Country Club of Winter Haven where he was named “Superintendent of the Year” bythe North Florida PGA East Chapter.

    David was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, grew up living on a golf courseand fell in love with the outdoors. He started as a volunteer on the Golf Maintenance Staff at age 14. Since graduating from Rutgers University’s Turfgrass Management Program in 2000, he has worked at two of the Top 100 Clubs in America – Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pennsylvania and Huntington Valley Country Club in Huntington Valley, Pennsylvania.

    David’s first Superintendent position was at Indigo Run Plantation in Hilton Head, South Carolina and he also served as Head Superintendent at Grand Harbor Golf & Beach Club in Vero Beach, Florida. While not working on the golf course, David enjoys fishing on the Intracoastal and taking his two dogs for a walk.

  • Jason Farrell
    Events/Tournament Coordinator
    Golf Shop


    Jason joined The Palencia Club team in 2017 and is a PGA Apprentice, working towards membership in the PGA of America.

    He was born in West Milford, New Jersey but has been a resident of Palm Coast since 1989. He played college and professional soccer and found his passion for golf after his tenure at the University of North Florida.

    Jason began his golf professional career in 2004 at Grand Haven Golf Club as 1st Assistant Professional and spent the last 10 years at Hammock Beach Resort, most recently serving as Golf Operations Manager.

    His tournament experience ranges throughout the spectrum, including PGA Tour and Champions Tour events.

  • Matt Coon
    Food & Beverage Floor Manager


    Matt was raised in Waterbury, Connecticut where he lived until he turned 26. He decided, after attending college, that he needed a fresh start in life –a fresh start somewhere warm–so he moved to St. Johns County, Floridaon New Year’s Eve 2016.

    A few weeks later, he walked into The Palencia Club with extensive experiencein the service industry, but littlehands-on experience in the restaurant/bar industry. With high hopes and a great attitude, he was hired as a bartender and server. With his strong work ethic and dedication to excellence, he was promoted to Food & BeverageFloor Manager within six months. Matt continues to work hard at providing a positive dining experience for Palencia’sMembers.

    Although Matt is busy at the Palencia Club, he does findtime to go the gym, play basketball and train in Mixed Martial Arts.

  • Crystal Bonnin
    Banquet Captain


    Crystal moved to Florida in July of 2013 via Alaska, Montana, and The Virgin Islands. She became part of The Palencia Club’s Food and Beverage Teamin August 2013 when she joined the Club as a server and bartender; later promoted to Floor Manager, and most recently shifting to Banquet Captain for the Club’s many weddings and special events.

    She has worked in the food service industry for over 20 years. Crystal began as a dishwasher at a small Italian restaurantin her hometown of Edgerton, Wisconsin and quickly worked her way up to cooking for the restaurant’s grateful patrons.

    In her spare time Crystal enjoys traveling, reading, hiking, going to the beautiful local beaches, and lately has been dabbling in painting. Her “partners in crime” are her fiancé, Chris, and their two dogs, Hughie and Merlin.