Mike Avis, longtime Tulsa golf professional and club fitter, died of a heart attack Thursday night at the end of a Demo Day at LaFortune Park Golf Course in Tulsa.
Avis, 66, who worked at Baker’s Custom Golf from 1985-2013, was there as the rep for Mizuno, a company for which he did contract work since he left Baker’s. He and longtime Mizuno rep Mike Slipko have been friends for more than 20 years.
“We lost a great one last night,” Slipko said today. “He was old school, he took pride in the game of golf and he knew everybody. If you went to a Demo Day in Tulsa, he knew just about everyone there from having been in the business so long and being so friendly.”
Avis came to Tulsa after a career as a golf professional in Kansas City, Mo. He was originally from Overland Park, Kan. and attended Kansas State University. In Tulsa, he first worked for long-time Tulsa professional Jack Higgins at Meadowbrook Country Club, where he met Brian Baker, owner of Baker’s Custom Golf.
Slipko described Avis as an avid Kansas City Chiefs fan, a dog lover and very knowledgeable about his profession. He did a custom fitting with LPGA superstar Stacy Lewis while she was at the University of Arkansas that led her to switch from steel to graphite shafts, increasing her swing speed and helping her become the world’s top-ranked player for a time.
Pat McCrate, director of golf at LaFortune Park, said Avis was starting to pack up the Mizuno tent as bad weather approached around 7 p.m. Thursday when he fell to the ground of an apparent heart attack. Paramedics were unable to revive him. More information will be added, including funeral services, as it becomes available.