The smallest section in the Professional Golf Association of America will eventually fill that national organization’s highest position.
Derek Sprague, the 43-year-old head pro at Malone Golf Club for the last 22 years, has begun his two-year term as national secretary, which means in 2016, he will become the national president.
Sprague, who will continue his duties at Malone GC and for the Northeastern New York PGA, the smallest of the PGA’s 41 sections, takes over as the PGA president during the PGA’s centennial celebration, the same year that golf returns to the Olympics for the first time since 1904.
“It’s pretty exciting for the smallest section of the PGA to get an officer elected on the national level,” said Sprague, who was honored Monday during a reception at the Hilton Garden Inn. “This was a high-profile election because of the fact that I’ll be the sitting president during the return of golf to the Olympics. I’m thrilled to have this opportunity.”
As national secretary, Sprague will be responsible for all membership matters. After his current two-year term, which began last month, is over, he will move up to vice president for another two years, where he will be responsible for the PGA’s financial matters.
After that, it’s on to the presidency of one of the world’s largest sports organizations.
“Right now, I’m low man on the totem pole as far as the national hierarchy, but I’m working with a sense of urgency,” said Sprague, who estimates he will be on the road at least 100 days a year. “I have plenty of ideas. The fact that I was elected from such a small section says a lot about the PGA members. It’s not about where you work or where you live, it’s about what you stand for. The ideas I have right now for the PGA are not big pie in the sky ideas, but rather the little ones that can help the average golf professional.
“It was sort of like David vs. Goliath. Since the NENYPGA section is the smallest in the country, I was campaigning against PGA members from South Texas, the Metropolitan New York section, Georgia, Colorado and Minnesota,” he said.
Sprague has been serving the NENYPGA in several capacities since 1995 and was selected the District I director, representing the NENYPGA, New England and Connecticut sections, in 2006.