Alex Sinclair was old school. He played that way, and he looked that way.
The consummate club professional died last week at age 93 in Crystal River, Fla. He was a lifetime member of the Northeastern New York PGA.
Sinclair was the head pro at Mohawk Golf Club from 1957 through 1972. He also served as the head pro at Schuyler Meadows Club in Loudonville for 13 years.
At the time he took over as head professional, Sinclair was only the fifth head pro ever at Mohawk, having worked as a longtime assistant under Jim Thomson, who served that club as head pro and superintendent for 50 years.
Sinclair, who was born in Thurso, Scotland, was inducted into the NENYPGA Hall of Fame in 1981. He won the section’s Stroke Play Championship, the local club pros’ premier event, in 1956, 1959, 1961 and 1965 and was still a fine player as a senior, winning the NENYPGA Senior Stroke Play Championship at age 69.
“He was a dapper guy,” said Al Stein, the former head pro at Glens Falls Country Club. “He was also a great player. He was an old-school Scottish player. He was always down the middle and on the green. Nothing fancy. He hit the ball very well.
“I played with Alex after we had both retired. He, myself, Bob Smith [the late Wolferts Roost CC head pro] and Ed Bosse [former Colonie G&CC head pro] would get together and play somewhere, usually at Schuyler Meadows. I know he lived down in the Venice, Fla., area for quite a while, and we had a place that wasn’t that far away. I was going to stop by and see him the last time we went by that way, and I didn’t do it.”
Local clubmaker Dick Bogdan remembers Sinclair’s look more than anything else.
“He was a suave looking guy,” said Bogdan. “He reminded me of Lloyd Mangrum [former U.S. Open winner], because of his looks and his smooth swing. He was a very good looking guy and a fancy dresser. He fit the role very well of being a head pro at places like Mohawk and Schuyler Meadows.
“He was a Scottish pro and was an old-school type of golf professional. He had that old-school swing.”
Sinclair’s family moved from Scotland to the United States and settled in Pennsylvania when he was 7 years old. He began his golf career as the assistant pro at Riverside Golf Course in Reading, Pa. He later was an assistant at Blue Ridge Country Club in Harrisburg, Pa.
He served three years in the Army Signal Corps in World War II.
After his years at Mohawk Golf Club and Schuyler Meadows, Sinclair was the teaching pro at Mill Road Acres in Latham. He also spent his winters teaching golf at the Belleview Biltmore Hotal in Clearwater, Fla.
Sinclair qualified for the PGA Championship six times and was a three-time local qualifier for the U.S. Open. At one time, he owned the course record at Mohawk, first with a 65, and then with a 64.