MAPGA Hall of Fame Class of 2022
Frank J. Laber, PGA – Master Professional
The Middle Atlantic PGA is proud to announce its newest selectee for the MAPGA Hall of Fame, Master Professional Frank Laber. Frank epitomizes the ideals of sportsmanship, ethical behavior, and the mission of the MAPGA. His enthusiastic spirit, loyalty, and selfless service toward promoting the game of golf and the PGA professional are extraordinary and undisputed. Frank will become the 56th member of the MAPGA Hall of Fame in March of 2022.
Born in Baltimore, MD, in 1947, the only child of Frank and Eleanor Laber, Frank is well known and respected in the Baltimore/Washington area where he has spent his entire life. He began playing golf as a youngster and was a fixture at Clifton Park GC and Mt. Pleasant GC. Later, he and his mentor and best friend for almost 60 years, Coleman Plecker, could often be found playing golf at Carroll Park GC. In keeping with the true “Baltimore son” that he is, Frank attended the University of Baltimore.
This four-time recipient of the Section’s Bill Strausbaugh Award (1988, ‘90, ‘91, ‘95) dedicated his career to improving the financial stability of the golf professional. Recognizing a need for employment support for MAPGA professionals, Frank played a proactive role in establishing the position of The PGA of America’s first Section Employment Director in 1990. The creation of this position within the Middle Atlantic Section was the foundation for career services being offered in the Section today. Frank’s initiative to establish the position of Employment Director on the Section level subsequently evolved into a National effort, impacting the entire structure of The PGA and all its members!
As a result of Frank’s inspiration, positive systemic changes have taken place to improve employment opportunities, the financial well-being, and the negotiating climate all enhancing the status and lifestyle of today’s PGA professional. Frank still believes that along with the honor that comes with being a PGA Head Professional, there also comes a responsibility to mentor others to realize their potential in the profession. He was awarded the Section’s PGA Professional Development (formerly Horton Smith) Award in 1987 for his efforts as an educator and has continued over the years to play an important role in the Section’s education programs. Promoting the game through sharing knowledge, developing human relations skills, improving playing proficiency, and keeping current with education and certification requirements are some of the most important lessons he still teaches new associates he comes into contact with. Frank can proudly reflect on the success of many of his former assistants who were inspired by his methods and continue in that same tradition today.
Frank became a PGA member in 1978 and has a long history of service to the MAPGA, including serving on the Section’s Membership, Tournament and Employment Committees in some capacity since 1981. He was Chair of the MAPGA Membership Committee in 1984-85, and Chair of the MAPGA Employment Committee from 1986 – 1995. Frank served as the first President of the Northern Chapter in 1989- 90; and following that term, he served as Vice President of the Northern Chapter in 1991-93. He served as Northern Chapter Director-at-Large from 1994 – 2001. For his years of dedicated service to his fellow professionals and to the Section, Frank was awarded the prestigious MAPGA President’s Award in 2001. Lastly, Frank was honored as the Section’s highest active honor, as its Professional of the Year in 2002.
Frank was also active on a national level, serving on the PGA Education Committee in 1984-85, and from 1986-91 as a member of the PGA Employment Committee. One of Frank’s proudest career accomplishments was earning Master Professional status in 1996. Just as in the game of golf, the commitment to achieve this status reflected a challenge to surpass one’s own level of mastery; and Frank eagerly accepted the challenge.
Another of Frank’s goals was in pursuing his dream to create and own a facility where people of all ages and playing ability could learn, practice, and enjoy the game of golf. Frank accepted that challenge and realized his dream in 1999. Following 18 years as the Head PGA Professional at Longview GC and a year at Hereford Golf Center, Frank became the co-owner of Black Horse Golf and Learning Center in Whitehall, MD.
Frank “retired” to Life Member status in 2009, but that has not kept him from staying active in the Section. Frank is famous for stopping by “for a cup of coffee” with his PGA peers to see how they are doing, especially on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. But many of his contemporaries still get calls on their birthday or a few times a year when Frank checks in with them. He truly loves being an MAPGA member and cares about his peers. Frank is currently involved with efforts to get his fellow PGA Master Professionals organized to share camaraderie and their collective wisdom.
Frank has been married for 41 years to his wife, Susan, who says Frank is her favorite “All World” PGA Master Professional. For his unrelenting dedication and countless contributions to the golf profession and to PGA professionals, the MAPGA is proud to recognize Master Professional Frank Laber as its newest selectee for the MAPGA Hall of Fame.