Joe McDermott, PGA
The legend we know as Joe McDermott, the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award winner, has given a lifetime of contributions to golf, from his commitment to Albuquerque Country Club, where he was the PGA Head Professional for over 25 years, to his leadership in the Sun Country PGA and, of course, the great playing career he compiled in the Sun Country, the PGA of America and throughout the world, literally!
surely has been one of the more significant figures in history of the Sun Country PGA
McDermott was born in Kierush, Ireland in 1940 and was in golf from an early age, learning by caddying in a land that places golf in high regard.
From the beginning, the plan was for Joe
to move to the States as soon as he
was old enough and that meant that in 1959, at the age of 18 years old, Joe
was on his
way to Chicago.
While in Chicago Joe worked at a Savings & Loan and joined a local semi-private club where many of the policemen, judges and officials were members.
The relationships he
created with these people would prove to be valuable to Joe's future.
While in Chicago, McDermott
made a name for himself as a player by winning many amateur events, including the City Championship.
Because of his
was invited to Medinah Country Club
to join 20 other top amateurs to discuss the creation of a local Handicapping system.
The trip turned out to be a turning point and a good story.
After play and meetings Joe waited for his ride, Officer Gene Vanarkle, to finish a gin rummy game.
As the night wore on, the suggestion to get Joe
a scholarship to college was tossed about.
By the end of the night Joe
had a scholarship and also learned to drive.
Officer Vanarkle was in no condition to drive so he
threw the keys Joe
a said get us home... Joe
had never driven a car at that point in time, but somehow got them both home safely.
"Somewhere warm" is where Joe
wanted to go when asked what college he
wanted to attend.
One of the connections the Chicago group had was with Dick McGuire, the legendary UNM Golf Coach, also a SCSPGA Lifetime achievement winner, so it was off to New Mexico for McDermott!
McDermott arrived in New Mexico in 1962 and after a successful collegiate career he graduated from UNM in 1967.
then went on to qualify for the tour and played during the '68 & '69 seasons.
played in 22 events, made the cut in 11 and money in 5 - that's how they did it back then, making the cut did not guarantee money.
Good but not good enough for Joe
He went back to Chicago in 1969 and worked at Butterfield Golf Club as an Assistant Professional for two years before coming back to New Mexico and Albuquerque Country Club in 1972.
Joe was the PGA Head Professional at ACC for 25 years before retiring in 1997.
active career, McDermott
was one of the more active players and businessmen in the Sun Country PGA
and always one of the more outspoken.
He served on the Board as the Tournament Director and Vice President; holding both positions back when there was no Executive Director and the Board was heavily involved with the day to day business of the section.
After retiring in 1997 he
started a new playing career on the Senior circuit and wasted no time in making his
In 1998, Joe
crossed the pond, going back to his
birth country and won the Irish Senior Open as one of the crowning jewels of his
long dominance as a player, McDermott
played in two U.S. Opens, one PGA Championship, five U.S. Senior Opens and five PGA Senior Championships.
When asked about what he
was proud of, Joe
replied, "I always got better and won at every level.
From winning the Munster Boys Championship in 1958 (Ireland's equivalent of the US Junior Am), to amateur golf in Chicago, then playing and winning in college, on to dominate in Sun Country
, and finally on the Senior level with his
win in the Irish Open, McDermott
certainly has been the consummate PGA Professional and a great representative for the Sun Country PGA
Congratulations, Joe McDermott, for a Lifetime of Achievement.