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Bill McInerney, of La Grange Country Club, Named Assistant Golf Professional of the Year

By Tim Cronin

Unusual for an assistant professional, Bill McInerney has been in the golf business for more than a quarter century. For a time the head professional at what was the Chicago Heights Country Club, he gravitated back to an assistant position after working for club manufacturers.

This gives him a range of experience unmatched by other Section assistants, and the choice for 2016 Assistant Professional of the Year.

“Bill is a constant and committed source of enthusiasm for learning and enjoying the game and the camaraderie it fosters,” La Grange member Christopher McClure stated in his endorsement of McInerney. “I have seen Bill’s commitment to his profession result in the growth of golf participation at our club and especially in our thriving youth golf program. As the membership chair of LGCC, I have leveraged Bill’s talents to attract and retain members who express apprehension about golf.

“The criteria for this award – leadership, strong moral character and service to the game – are exactly the key attributes that the membership of our club, and all those who know Bill, would use to describe him.”

An assistant does much of the grunt work in a shop. In McInerney’s case, it’s largely outside the shop. He manages the outside service staff, from the starter to the bag room. That makes him the overseer of everything from the tee sheet to billing to making sure clubs are cleaned after each round.

There’s more. He’s also charged with tournament operations, the club’s handicap program, youth golf and, back inside, the retail side of the shop. Twice, in fact, he’s been voted the merchandiser of the year in the private category, including at La Grange in 2010.

In other words, McInerney deals with a little bit of everything.

“Having worked outside of the golf industry, I realize that I do what I love each day,” McInerney said. “I focus on each member’s needs no matter how trivial with punctuality.”

McInerney, thanks to his time with Titleist and Cobra Golf, is a custom club-fitter, and has mentored fellow professionals on step-by-step training in what he calls “this intricate, artful task.”

He also provides advice to fellow professionals on growing their youth golf programs.

“I believe the juniors of today are tomorrow’s leaders,” said the winner of Golf Digest’s best junior golf program award for private clubs in 1989. To that end, McInerney has managed the club’s Youth Golf Program and PGA Junior League and West District Junior teams.

Off the course, McInerney has served as a member of his local school board, as well as serving on Illinois PGA committees, including the one overseeing the Section’s participation in the Chicago Golf Show.

“I can tell you ‘Billy Mac,’ as he is known to us, has no peer,” wrote La Grange member Don McNeely. “He is popular with the members, staff, and even the caddies which is perhaps the toughest group of all. As George Bernard Shaw is known to have said, ‘one doesn’t get a second chance to make a first impression.’ Billy Mac always leaves that great impression.”

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