Former Pine Brook pro honored by PGA

SKANEATELES – Michael Doctor, who served as the golf pro at Pine Brook Golf Club in Gloversville from 1980-1984, was recently named the 2013 PGA Professional of the Year.

On January 22, Doctor will be honored in Orlando, Fla. with what is considered the highest annual honor bestowed upon a PGA of America Professional.

According to Doctor, his time at Pine Brook opened the door to a long, successful career in the sport.

Doctor was brought up surrounded by golf. His father was a PGA professional who competed in two Canadian Opens, five Senior PGA Championships, and eight PGA Professional National Championships. Doctor’s uncle played on the PGA tour, and two of his cousins competed on the former Hogan Tour and Canadian PGA Tour.

Doctor’s father spent time as the golf pro at Craig Wood Golf Club in Lake Placid before settling in as the pro at Bluff Point Golf Resort in Plattsburgh.

“That was my first introduction to playing golf on a golf course and caddying and that type of thing,” said Doctor, who lives in Camillus, N.Y. “I went to work for him in the bag room and in the pro shop and I worked for him for a number of years before I set out on my own.”

While Doctor considered himself a decent golfer, he knew early on that his foray into golf as a profession would be different than that of the rest of his family.

“I never really got into golf because of the playing part of it,” said Doctor. “I did like to play, but I enjoyed teaching the game more than playing the game and I also enjoyed taking care of members and their guests at the club and being more on the business end of it.”

Doctor spent time as a golf pro at clubs in South Florida, Detroit, New Jersey, and Ticonderoga before coming to Pine Brook in 1980.

“I had five great years at Pine Brook and the people there were very, very good to me,” said Doctor. “It’s a great town, Gloversville.”

For the past 29 years, Doctor has been the PGA head professional at Skaneateles Country Club. Among Doctor’s responsibilities are conducting clinics, giving individual golf lessons, preparing the golf season calendar, and coordinating and running all golf events for men, women and children.

“Anything that has anything to do with golf goes across my desk and is under my guidance to make sure it’s done right,” said Doctor.

Doctor has spent a great deal of his career devoting time to junior players and inner-city kids. He said instructing golfers and educating people of all ages about the business of golf has always been his passion.

In addition to his work as the director of golf at Skaneateles Country Club, Doctor has served two terms on the national PGA Board of Directors, held section leadership roles on the Board of Directors of the Northeastern New York PGA, and served two terms as president of the Central New York PGA Section.

After learning of his nomination for 2013 PGA Professional of the Year honors in February, Doctor was not expecting to bring home the prize. Doctor said he knows that it often takes two or three times submitting applications to be considered for the honor.

“There’s a lot of great golf professionals out there who do a lot of wonderful things and when I got the phone call, yes, I was surprised,” Doctor said. “I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would receive this award.”

Doctor was chosen on his first try. The award is a coveted achievement in a long, rewarding career for Doctor.

Inducted in 2009 into the Central New York PGA Hall of Fame, Doctor was the Section’s 1991 and 2012 Golf Professional of the Year, a six-time recipient of the Section Bill Strausbaugh Award, a five-time winner of the Junior Golf Leader award, a two-time Horton Smith Award recipient for contributions to professional education, and the 1995 Section Teacher of the Year. While a member of the Northeastern New York PGA Section, Doctor was named recipient of the 1983 and ’84 Horton Smith Award.

Between 2001 and 2003, Doctor was named to Golf Magazine’s roster of “America’s Top Golf Teachers” and was a five-time recipient of the Golf Digest Junior Golf Promoter Award. Doctor was also named a U.S. Kids Golf Top 50 Teacher in 2011-12.

Doctor, 62, plans on retiring from his current position when he turns 67. He hopes to continue teaching and putting on clinics, and hopes to find a place where he is able to promote the game of golf through educational programs that teach golf professionals what the business is about.