By Bob Denney
On Dec. 5, 2005, delegates to the Northern California PGA Annual Meeting assembled in posh Pebble Beach to record a milestone in PGA of America history.
Sue Fiscoe, a native of Syracuse, New York, who had built a solid reputation as a business owner and as a golf professional, was sworn in as the first woman PGA Section president.
Today, retired and living in Port St. Lucie, Florida, Fiscoe, 67, reflected on a leadership path that ultimately opened doors for other PGA Members.
“It is a great Section,” she said. “We had a wonderful executive director in Chris Thomas. He was exceptional. Bob Young was vice president, Monte Cook was secretary, and we had wonderful people like Mike Mazzaferri, Shim LaGoy and Ken Morton paving the way. They were extremely supportive. Because they were so well respected, the rest of the Section gave me a chance.”
“It was exciting. Our ED did a wonderful job administering the Section,” said Fiscoe. I told him that if things go haywire, I will be on your case. But if they don’t, I will be on your side. Things never went haywire.”
By Fiscoe’s trailblazing example, three other women became Section presidents: Kathy Swanson (Minnesota, 2007-08); Leslie Core-Drevecky (Colorado, 2014-16) and this year, Paige Cribb (Carolinas), who leads the largest PGA Section.
In 2020, current Northern California Vice President Dede Moriarty of San Francisco will become her Section’s second woman president. “That’s the Northern California PGA for you; always progressive,” said Fiscoe.
Fiscoe didn’t stop leading at the Section boundaries. She served as PGA District 11 Director from 2009-12, and ran for PGA President in 2012. She didn’t win the election, but it had a ripple effect across the country. In November 2014, Suzy Whaley of Farmington, Connecticut, was elected PGA Secretary, becoming the first woman to attain PGA national office. In November, Whaley will become the 41st president of the PGA of America.
“Suzy is going to be a very, very good president,” said Fiscoe. “She’s a good businesswoman and she’s a great image for the PGA. It’s wonderful that someone like her is going to be the first woman president of the PGA.”
The Fiscoe “effect” was not lost upon Whaley.
“Those before you pave the way; and Sue’s term on the Board and as a candidate empowered me and many other women to follow suit,” said Whaley. “Sue continues to support me and I thank her for her inspiration.”
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