By Jim Nugent
They have been described as the backbone of American golf.
They are teachers, small businessmen, tournament administrators, rules officials, employers, mentors, and knowledgeable golf equipment ambassadors. Many are golf fashion informed, while others are asked to oversee the cart fleet and bag storage area. Occasionally they even function as unlicensed psychologists, called upon to counsel struggling amateurs.
Of course I am referring to the PGA of America head golf professional. Many of these individuals also play the game at a very high level and compete, nationally and locally. So for the sixth consecutive year, Global Golf Post is proud to salute the best playing PGA golf professionals by naming our 2020 All-Pro teams.
Here’s our criteria to be considered: The professional had to be classified A-1 (head golf professional at a golf course), A-4 (director of golf at a golf course), or A-13 (general manager). We limited the pool of candidates to these classes because we want to recognize the pros who perform all of the tasks working at a golf course entails and continue to play at a high level.
To make our selections, we looked at finishes in several key tournaments in 2019, including the PGA Championship, the Senior PGA Championship, the PGA Professional Championship, the Senior PGA Professional Championship, the U.S. Open and the U.S. Senior Open. We then considered performance in section events, utilizing player-of-the-year points as proxy for sustained excellence. Any golf professional in these classes who won section player-of-the-year or senior player-of-the-year honors achieved at least honorable mention status on our All-Pro list.
The 86 players presented herein, representing 36 PGA sections, are the PGA professionals who posted outstanding performance in 2019. They are to be saluted for their good play and respected for playing at a high level while balancing all of the duties that come with their jobs.
One pro received First Team honors for the sixth year in a row: our 2018 Pro’s Pro, Rod Perry of Crane Lakes Golf & Country Club in Port Orange, Fla.
As we have done in previous years, we identified one professional who embodies the spirit of our All-Pro effort. In 2015, it was the esteemed head golf professional at both Seminole Golf Club and Oakmont Country Club, Bob Ford. In 2016, we recognized Bel-Air Country Club’s Dave Podas. In 2017, we honored Rob Labritz, the director of golf at GlenArbor Golf Club in Bedford Hills, N.Y. In 2018, we honored Perry. Last year, it was Cary Cozby, the director of golf at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla.
This year, we have selected Jim Sobb, director of golf at the Ivanhoe Club in Mundelein, Ill. As Sean Fairholm observes in his accompanying profile, Sobb has spent more than three decades at Ivanhoe while becoming one of the most respected club pros in the country.
If one of those honored is your club pro, drop him a note and congratulate him on being selected, and take to social media to call him out; he’ll appreciate it. And even if your pro is not among those honored here, consider thanking him or her for advancing the game of golf in America.