Michael Doherty’s contribution to the welfare of golf in the Northwest corner of Ireland is legendary. When the universally-liked, head pro at City of Derry Golf Club and former Captain of the Irish PGA died on 2 December 2016, he left an unbridgeable gap in the lives of the many who knew and respected him. 2001 IPGA Captain, the late, Bobby Browne, presenting the late, Michael Doherty with the Golf Professional of the Century Award at the IPGA’s Centenary Dinner. Losing Michael inspired one of his best friends and biggest fan, Colm McCarroll, to employ the skills he learned in the newspaper business as publisher of the Derry Journal and Derry News, to pen a fascinating and wide-ranging account of Michael’s extraordinary life, which he named “A Gentle Man Passed By’ in a glossy, 254pp, A4 book, choc-full of written reminisces and photographs gathered from Michael’s many friends as well as various newspaper archives. Michael Doherty joined North-West GC in 1957 as an assistant professional, under Norman Drew. He stayed there for fifteen years before joining City of Derry in 1972 where he stayed until 2008 when illness finally won the day. His contribution to the welfare of golf in the Northwest was immense. Peter Alliss said of Michael: “He was the sort of professional who made our (PGA) association splendid and worthwhile. He cared about everybody. He tried his best. He was honest and true, knowledgeable (that word again), wasn’t jealous in keeping information and ideas to himself – he passed them on to others. He was a man for all seasons and a stalwart of the game.” David Jones (formerly Bangor) called him a ‘proper pro.’ When the PGA celebrated its centenary in 2001, Michael was the popular winner of “Club Professional of the Century Award.” Michael also served on the Executive Committee of the PGA ‘across the water.’ During this service, he was invited to be a match referee at the 1977 Ryder Cup Matches at Royal Lytham & St. Anne’s. As luck would have it, he officiated the singles match between Bernard Gallaher and Jack Nicklaus, which Gallaher famously won by 1-hole. Perhaps, Nicklaus was distracted by searching questions from Bernard on ‘tax matters’ that seemed to vex both of them? To be fair to Jack, he did his best to be helpful including conceding the match point! The book is bristling with similar, wonderful anecdotes and should you like to have a free copy, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org stating which newsagent in your town or village you would like it delivered to. Because much of Michael’s later life was blighted by the dreadful arthritic disease, Ankylosing Spondylitis and Parkinson’s Disease all proceeds from the voluntary contribution you may wish to make should go to The Michael Doherty Fund c/o First Trust Bank, Meadowbank, Derry A/C No: 21070054. Sort Code: 93 84 83 IBAN: GB31FTBK93848321070054 and/or c/o Allied Irish Bank, Buncrana. A/C No: 12735181. Sort Code: 93 72 90. IBAN: ie18ATBK93729012735181. All proceeds will support ‘patient comfort’ at Nazareth House, Fahan, Co. Donegal, Arthritis Ireland and Parkinson’s Ireland. All good causes of which Michael Doherty would approve.
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