QUEENSBURY – Tom Haggerty prides himself on being a “hands-on” golf pro.

So much so that he still picks up golf balls every day at the driving range of the Glens Falls Country Club.

“I tell everyone this is my therapy,” said Haggerty, who is retiring Dec. 31 after 42 years as the head pro at Glens Falls CC. “We have a range-picker, and there are no phones there, it’s very relaxing – I just go out and pick up the balls, even if it’s only for 20 minutes.”

Haggerty, 70, served the club for 50 years, starting as an assistant to former head pro Al Stein in 1973. He is one of the longest-serving pros in the business.

Haggerty is just the fifth head pro since 1915 at Glens Falls Country Club, the historic and challenging Donald Ross-designed course near Glen Lake. The course was ranked No. 86 in the Top 100 Private Golf Courses in the Country by Golf magazine in 2020-21.

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Standing behind the counter in the pro shop earlier this week, Haggerty looks perfectly at ease, even simply inventing score sheets for an upcoming tournament.

“I’m old school, I’m practical,” Haggerty said with a smile. “I have never been beaten for work. I look forward to getting here every day. There’s always something to do — there’s not a lot of downtime.

If anyone can say he was born for this, it’s Haggerty. Hailing from Rexford, just outside Schenectady, he literally grew up on a golf course – his late father, Bob Sr., was the Edison Club’s longtime head pro. His late brother, Bob Jr., was head pro at the Schenectady Municipal Golf Course for 37 years.

All three Haggerty men are members of the Northeastern New York PGA Hall of Fame, representing more than 100 years as the golf course’s chief pros.

“I went to Miami-Dade College for about a year, but when my dad got sick, I came back to the Edison Club to help out,” Haggerty said. “One day my brother called me and said I should put my resume at Glens Falls Country Club. Al Stein hired me right away – it’s the only professional job I’ve ever had .

“Tom has dedicated his career to serving the members of Glens Falls Country Club with excellent customer service in golf operations,” Tracie Warner, executive director of the NENY PGA Chapter, said in a statement on the retirement of Haggerty. “He has mentored many young assistants into head professionals and is highly respected among his fellow PGA professionals. His tenure at one facility has become a rarity in the industry.

Haggerty said the makings of a successful chief pro go beyond teaching golf lessons, organizing tournaments and knowing the equipment. It all comes down to customer service.

“It’s dedication, it’s love for the game and good service to members,” Haggerty said. “Not my quote, but I always say we’re in the happiness business. The members are here in their spare time — it’s up to us to make it better. And so are the guests — you make them feel like a member.

“I inherited a lot from my dad – he was old school, practical too,” he added. “The Edison Club had 700 members, 27 holes – his dedication was incredible.”

Haggerty said he was most proud of being the head pro at Glens Falls Country Club.

“It’s an honor for me to be here,” he said. “I have members who never call me Tom – they say, ‘Hey, pro.’ I’m very proud of that, I’m very proud to be a PGA Professional, I’ve been blessed with good professional assistants 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 dedicated professional golfer I’ve ever met,” said Saratoga Golf & Polo Club head pro Kevin Hughes, who worked as Haggerty’s assistant in 1984-86. “He is totally committed to serving his members. He loves the Glens Falls Country Club and its membership. … I learned a lot from him, that the member comes first. He is top notch in customer service. »

As for what’s next for him, Haggerty said he’s not going anywhere, he just 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 standout junior and Siena College golfer – and his family in Pennsylvania.

And he can also play golf.

“I haven’t had enough time to do that in years,” Haggerty said. “I was a very good player until the 80s, then my son was born and the club got busier. But that’s the least of my worries.

“Members pay dues and you have to give them a good product,” he said. “I hope I have over the years.”

Former Post-Star sportswriter Dave Nathan contributed to this story.

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