Flattery, John (2011)

About Flattery, John (2011)

John Flattery’s prominent golf career moved him to the forefront of Middle Atlantic PGA leadership cadre for a longer period than any other officer in the organization’s history. Over a period of almost 20 years, he served the Section as either, the President, Regional Vice President, or Secretary-Treasurer.

John was born to Michael William and Mary Anne (Reynolds) in Peabody, Massachusetts, a suburb of Salem.  He was the oldest of seven children, five girls and two boys.  Brother Jimmy would also become a prominent PGA Professional in the Baltimore area.

John started as a caddie in 1911 (age 7) at Kernwood CC in Salem, Ma.   When many golf professionals entered the military as World War I broke out, he became the caddie master, club maker and eventually assistant professional at Kernwood CC In 1917. Three years later John assumed the head professional position at the Franklin CC.  Within a year he took over at Pine Brook Valley near Boston. John earned his PGA membership on May 1, 1922 a few months before his 18th birthday! Siwanoy CC in Mount Vernon, New York, came next where he remained as the Head PGA Professional for three years, 1928 -1930.

From 1920 through 1929 John “wintered in Florida” as a teaching professional at Palm Beach Golf Club at the Breakers Hotel.  After a long hiatus and at the behest of the owner, John returned to the Palm Beach Golf Club from 1950 through 1959.  Every year he would depart Baltimore via train on Christmas day and return on March 19th.  While in Palm Beach he enjoyed his interaction and involvement with numerous celebrities and prominent figures, among them, the Kennedy family, Prince Rainier of Monaco, and The Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

In the late 1920’s, a New York Railroad executive and amateur golfer, Ed “Gunboat” Smith, laid out the plans for a country club and resort in the Ellicott City area south of Baltimore. The course, Allview Golf Club, was first planted in 1928, the same year John would marry Catherine M. Fitzpatrick. These were exciting and changing times in the United States, beginning with the “Roaring Twenties” and followed by the Great Depression.

John’s friends and associates included Gene Sarazen, Johnny Farrell, Babe Ruth, and other sports heroes.  However, the 1929 stock market crash brought an end to the elaborate plan for a luxury resort but the golf course became a reality.   In 1931 John, along with Catherine, came to Allview to be Head PGA Professional.

He remained at Allview through 1934 when he was selected as the first Head Professional at Rodgers Forge Golf Club (now known as the CC of Maryland) in Towson.  In 1944, John moved to the Head PGA Professional position at Forest Park Golf Course (Baltimore) where he remained for two years before becoming the Head PGA Professional at Green Spring Valley Hunt Club in Garrison, Maryland. John hosted the MAPGA Match Play Championship (the Baltimore City Open) at Green Spring Valley from 1946 to 1965. John, known by all as a quiet and caring human being and the consummate PGA Professional, served the members of Green Spring Valley Hunt for 26 years before retiring in 1972.

The members of Green Spring Valley Hunt Club honored John at that time with the title of PGA Head Professional Emeritus while, at the same time, he became a PGA Life Member.  Upon John’s 25th anniversary at the club, the members held a celebration in his honor.  After presenting him with a silver tray, John in turn gifted it back to the club for use as the trophy for the Men’s Match Play “Season Long Championship.”  It remains in use to this day.

At the MAPGA Annual Meeting in October 1939, the membership elected John as their Secretary – Treasurer.  He held that position for just a year when in the fall of 1940, he took on the Baltimore Regional Vice President position which he held until May 1943.  Also, in 1942 he carried out the Tournament Chair duties.
John succeeded Wiffy Cox as MAPGA President in May 1943, serving through October 1946.  When he stepped down as President, his colleagues trusted and relied on him so much that they elected him Secretary – Treasurer for a second time.  He continued to serve in that capacity for another decade. Altogether, John Flattery served as a MAPGA officer continuously from 1939 through 1957.

Impressively and true to his profession, it is noteworthy that during John’s outstanding career, he mentored and encouraged several other Middle Atlantic PGA Hall of Fame members – Bill Strausbaugh, Bill Clarke, Walter Romans, Andy Gibson, John O’Donnell and Dick Whetzle. John’s brother, Jimmy, also deceased, was the Head PGA Professional at Forest Park Golf Course in Baltimore.  He orchestrated the prestigious Jimmy Flattery Junior Championship for many years at Forest Park, encouraging a substantial number of junior golfers who went on to become professionals.

Sadly, John’s wife, Catherine, passed away in 1959. They had three sons, John Jr., now deceased, William and Paul.  John is currently survived by Bill, his wife Winnie; Paul, his wife Jane; 7 granddaughters, and 13 great grandchildren.