Queensbury – Tom Haggerty is proud to be a professional golfer.
So much so that he still picks up golf balls on the driving range every day at Glens Falls Country Club.
“I tell everyone this is my cure,” said Haggerty, who will retire on December 31 after 42 years as chief pro at Glens Falls CC. “We have a range picker, and outside, there are no phones, it’s very convenient – I just go out and shoot balls, even if it’s only for 20 minutes.”
Haggerty, 70, has served the club for 50 years, starting as an assistant to former pro boss Al Stein in 1973. He is one of the oldest professionals in the business.
Haggerty is only the fifth professional chief since 1915 at Glens Falls Country Club, the historic and challenging Donald Ross-designed course near Glen Lake. The course was ranked #86 in the nation’s top 100 private golf courses by Golf Magazine in 2020-21.
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Haggerty is standing behind the counter at the pro shop earlier this week, looking totally at home, even simply making up scoresheets for an upcoming tournament.
“I’m old school, doing my business,” Hagerti said with a smile. “I’ve never been beaten up at work. I can’t wait to get here every day. There’s always something to do – there’s not much time lost.”
If anyone can say he was born for this, it’s my emigrant. A native of Rexford, outside Schenectady, he literally grew up on a golf course – his late father, Bob Sr., was a longtime professional head at The Edison Club. His late brother Bob Jr. was a professional head coach at Schenectady Local Golf Course for 37 years.
All three men from Haggerty are members of the Northeastern New York PGA Hall of Fame, and represent more than 100 years as professionals on the golf course.
“I went to Miami-Dade College for a year or so, but when my dad got sick, I went back to Edison’s club to help him,” Hagerti said. “One day my brother called me and said I should put my resume at Glens Falls Country Club. Stein hired me right away – it’s the only professional job I’ve ever had.”
“Tom has dedicated his career to serving Glens Falls Country Club membership with excellent customer service in the golf operations,” Tracy Warner, executive director of the NENY PGA division, said in a statement about Hagerty’s retirement. “He has mentored many young assistants to professional chiefs and is highly respected among fellow PGA professionals. His tenure at a single facility has become a rarity in the industry.”
Haggerty said the gains for a successful professional boss go beyond teaching golf lessons, organizing tournaments, and knowing the equipment. It all boils down to customer service.
It’s dedication, it’s love for the game, and good service to the members,” said Haggerty. “That’s not my quote, but I always say we’re in the business of happiness. The members are here in their spare time – and that’s for us to make it better. And the guests too – you make them feel like members.”
“I inherited a lot from my dad – he was old school, and he worked too,” he added. “Edison’s club had 700 members, 27 holes – his dedication was incredible.”
Haggerty said he’s even more proud to be a professional president at Glens Falls Country Club.
“It’s an honor to be here,” he said. “I have members who have never called me Tom — they say, ‘Hey, Pro.’ I’m so proud of that, I’m so proud of being a PGA Pro. I’ve been fortunate to have such good pro helpers over the years.”
He was named Professional of the Year in 2006 and has received numerous accolades for his commitment to service.
“He’s the most professional golfer I’ve ever met,” said Kevin Hughes, head of the Saratoga Golf and Polo Club, who served as Haggerty’s assistant in 1984-1986. “He is fully committed to his membership service. He loves the Glens Falls Country Club and membership. …I learned from him that member comes first. He is top notch in customer service.”
As for what’s next for him, Haggerty said he’s not going anywhere, and won’t be involved in the day-to-day operations of GFCC. He will be able to spend more time with his son, Chris – a former junior golfer and pro golfer at Siena College – and his family at Penn State.
And he’ll be able to play some golf, too.
“I haven’t had enough time to do this in years,” Haggerty said. “I used to be a really good player until the 80s, then my son was born and the club got busier. But that’s the least of my worries.
“Members are paying the dues and you have to give them a good product,” he said. “I wish I had over the years.”
Former sports writer Dave Nathan contributed to this story.
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