Tribute to a pro

October 20, 2009

Much of John Feinstein's genius as a writer lies in his ability to peel back layers on superstars and anonymous figures with equal resonance.

The Golf Digest contributing editor's most recent post on his blog, Feinstein On The Brink, is only the latest example. Feinstein pays tribute to Pat Conway, an assistant pro at Long Island's Gardiner' Bay Country Club and a longtime friend who died Monday of lung cancer (despite being a non-smoker) at age 56.

Conway was little known beyond Shelter Island, but like the best club pros, she was a giant to her students, equal parts swing coach and motivational speaker. Feinstein knew this not only from his own history growing up alongside Conway, but through his daughter Brigid, who had found a kindred spirit in the pro.

Feinstein writes:

*The two of them bonded. Patty often told Brigid that their goal was to show people that you didn't have to be big and strong to be a good player. "Hit it past the big kids Brigid, she would often say. Brigid has won the long drive competition in her age group at the end of the summer four years out of four. I swear to God I don't know how she's done it or how Patty did it. The third year I was off-island on the day of the various junior contests and called Brigid to see how things had gone. How'd long drive go, Brigid?" I asked.

"Still undefeated," she answered.

**-- Sam Weinman