JUNO BEACH, Florida — The remaining chapter in one in every of golf’s most storied careers is about to be written: Bob Ford, who had not one however two dream jobs as Head PGA Professional at Oakmont Country Club and Seminole Golf Club, will retire from Seminole on June 1.
Ford has overseen Seminole’s golf operations since 2000. He stepped away from Oakmont in 2016 after working at the Pennsylvania membership for 37 years, splitting his time at each golf equipment for 16 years.
Just as he selected the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont to function his departure date, Ford determined three years in the past, when Seminole was awarded the Walker Cup (May 8-9), it could be the proper time to step into retirement.
“I wanted to work through the Walker Cup, because that’s such a great event,” Ford mentioned final week. “I wouldn’t say it was a difficult decision. Everybody has a shelf life.”
What a life the 67-year-old Ford has loved in golf, spending greater than 4 many years working at two of essentially the most prestigious golf golf equipment on this planet. The Jupiter resident has deservedly earned his share of accolades – each as a participant and as a PGA Professional.
In 2005, Ford was inducted into the PGA of America Hall of Fame. He was additionally the recipient of the 2017 Bob Jones Award, the best honor the USGA can bestow on somebody. Typically, the low-key Ford downplays his accomplishments.
“I was unbelievably lucky,” Ford mentioned. “All of us have some luck in our success. I was in the right place at the right time twice. I thank my lucky stars.”
It’s the 2 golf equipment and their high-profile members who must be grateful. Ford took his occupation to one other stage with the service he and his employees offered.
“Bob’s impact on the game cannot be overstated,” mentioned Jimmy Dunne, Seminole’s president since 2012. “I could go on and on about Bob’s achievements on the golf course, but what has made him truly special has been his dedication to mentoring younger generations of club professionals. If you look at golf clubs all over the country, you can find former assistants of Bob’s who have become leading club professionals.”
Bob Ford was the top skilled at Oakmont Golf Club for 37 years.
It’s no shock Ford’s alternative, Matt Cahill, is on his employees. Cahill turns into the ninth head skilled in Seminole’s 92-year historical past, becoming a member of an illustrious listing that features Masters champion Claude Harmon, Henry Picard and Ford.
Bob Ford, proper, is retiring as Head PGA Professional at Seminole Golf Club in Juno Beach and Matt Cahill will likely be his alternative.
Matt Cahill the most recent Ford assistant to grow to be head professional
Ford says the membership made the choice to rent Cahill, however he supported it, simply as he has roughly 50 former assistants who’ve moved on to be employed as head professionals elsewhere.
“It’s my greatest legacy,” Ford mentioned. “It means the world to me. My assistants did everything for me. They worked hard for me and I worked hard for them.”
Ford then smiled. “It means I’ll have a lot of places to visit to play golf,” he mentioned.
Ford’s mentor was Lew Worsham, the 1947 U.S. Open champion who served as Oakmont’s head skilled. Ford labored for Oakmont briefly throughout the 1973 U.S. Open, when Johnny Miller shot his well-known final-round 63 to win.
Ford had been a high novice participant in Pennsylvania and at the University of Tampa. While in faculty, he requested Worsham for recommendation on what career path to select, considering he would say the PGA Tour.
Instead, Worsham supplied Ford a job at Oakmont. Five years later, Ford changed Worsham as head skilled. At 25.
Right place, proper time? Perhaps. But the correct individual.
“Bob is the epitome of a golf professional, the finest the business has ever seen,” mentioned Kevin Murphy, the Head PGA Professional/GM at McArthur Club in Hobe Sound. “He set the gold standard for PGA Professionals.”
Ford proved within the 1983 U.S. Open at, naturally, Oakmont he might nonetheless play the sport. Despite coping with all his duties equivalent to operating the merchandise tent, he completed twenty sixth. Ford stays the final host professional to make the lower at a nationwide open.
He had no illusions about pursuing a career as a participant, although. “I sat down a week after that and thought, ‘You’re likely not going to do anything better than this,’ ” Ford mentioned.
Besides, why would he go away a job like Oakmont’s? A technology later, he added Seminole to his resume.
Asked what he would miss most about Seminole, Ford didn’t discuss in regards to the picturesque Donald Ross-designed course and the beautiful Atlantic Ocean views. He talked in regards to the relationships.
“I’ll miss interacting with my staff and the members every day,” mentioned Ford, who spent most of his time close to the primary tee. “Every day someone from the golf world comes through here. To meet all these people has been extraordinary.”
Bob Ford’s not completed with golf — he’ll be a starter
The job has its complications, little question. You’re coping with principally well-known and/or wealthy people who find themselves used to getting their means. It is usually a high-wire act for a head professional to stay at a membership for a protracted time. Not for Ford.
“Not only is Bob everybody’s friend, but he makes everybody feel like you’re a lifelong friend,” mentioned longtime Seminole member Nathaniel Crosby Jr., Bing’s son and the U.S. captain for the Walker Cup.
“Bob doesn’t play favorites. He doesn’t hang around with a clique of members. He’s the ultimate diplomat.”
Ford won’t be shopping for a rocking chair after June 1. The USGA has requested him to be a starter for the U.S. Open so long as he desires, and he’ll nonetheless work as a marketing consultant for Golf Business Network, a hiring firm.
But when his buddies ask him if he desires to be a part of them for a weekend golf getaway, he can say sure. Another chapter is about to start in his life.
“It’s phenomenal where the game has taken me,” Ford mentioned. “I’ve had a storybook career.”