The Student News Site of Malvern Preparatory School

Friar's Lantern

The Student News Site of Malvern Preparatory School

Friar's Lantern

The Student News Site of Malvern Preparatory School

Friar's Lantern

Local golf pro fulfills dream at PGA Championship


When I asked Dave McNabb, the head professional at Applebrook Golf Club in Malvern, the most spectators he had seen at one of his local tournaments, he told me “no more than 20 to 30.”  After playing in the PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York, McNabb can now multiply that number by 1000.

It was a dream come true for the local golf pro, whose road to Rochester started back in June at Sunriver Resort in Oregon at the PGA Professional National Championship.  McNabb placed T-9 at Sunriver, with the top 20 earning a spot to the year’s final major at Oak Hill Country Club.

During the five week hiatus between Sunriver and Rochester, McNabb said he’d been “walking on clouds”.  Though once he got to Oak Hill, it was crunch time.

He spent the most of the practice rounds with fellow PGA section pro, Mark Sheftic, the head of instruction at Merion Golf Club.  McNabb also got to play with Dustin Johnson and Steve Stricker before tournament action began Thursday.

“They were all great guys,” McNabb said of the tour professionals. “They were great to us, just like playing with your buddies.”

He said the biggest difference between the tour and club pro was the consistency in making good contact and the length of the shots.  When asked to describe Dustin Johnson’s power, a player known for hitting it long, McNabb had one word, “sick.”

“[Dustin] was like fifty yards by me with his driver. It’s pretty different, so to watch something like that, I mean that’s definitely just a different sound, different ball flight, it was fun.”

When the competition came around, McNabb was paired with two well known European Tour professionals, Branden Grace and Stephen Gallacher.

McNabb, like all 20 of the club pros, missed the 3 over par cut after the first two rounds, but he was far from disappointed with his play.

“I think I played pretty good, I don’t think I played anywhere near as good as I’m capable of playing but I think I played better than just an average round of golf. The first day I didn’t hit very many fairways and scrambled around pretty good, especially given the condition of the golf course, so I felt pretty good about that.  The second round I was playing about the same, I was playing pretty steady, made a bunch of pars, had one little hiccup there on the back nine, but overall I played pretty good for the way I hit the ball, I was pretty happy with the way I played.

When asked about the pressure of playing in front of the crowd, McNabb said, “I like playing in that environment. Some guys do, some guys don’t, I love it.” “I had a ton of fan support, signing a bunch of autographs, they were all cheering for me, yelling my name.  Who the heck they knew who I was I had no idea.”

Though he did not accomplish his goal of making the cut, McNabb had the experience of a lifetime and is much more confident about his ability to compete against the world’s best.  His main objective now is to qualify for next year’s PGA Championship.

What will McNabb take away from his experience?  “I will take away, first of all, the desire to get back there again, and to get back in that environment for sure, I mean that’s something that you know I am most excited about is trying to get back there again,” he said.

And if he does, he can bet we’ll be rooting for him each step of the way.


Dave McNabb is originally from Michigan, but moved to east coast in 1993 when he took the job as Assistant Pro at Cavaliers Country Club in Newark, Delaware. Eventually, McNabb became the head pro at Cavaliers in 1996. In 2010, he was offered the opportunity to become the head pro at Applebrook Golf Club, where he has been ever since.

Road to Rochester Timeline:

September 22, 2012: McNabb finishes in the top 12 at the Philadelphia Section PGA Championship at White Manor Country Club to qualify for the 2013 PGA National Championship

June 26, 2013: McNabb finishes T-9 at the PGA National Championship at Sunriver Resort, Oregon to punch his ticket to the PGA Championship

August 8-9 2013: McNabb fires rounds of 74 and 76 (+10) to tie for fifth among the twenty club pros who competed at the PGA. [/box]

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Friar's Lantern Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *