Crooked Stick director of golf earns national honor


Tony Pancake is quick to share the credit for being named the 2024 PGA of America Golf Professional of the Year.

“It’s the highest honor you can get in the PGA,” said Pancake, director of golf at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel. “It’s the highest recognition I’ve ever received. While it’s an individual award, it feels like a team award. There is no way I could have been selected without all the help I’ve had along the way through the various golf assistants I’ve had and staff members, the great clubs I’ve worked at. This award happened because of all of that, not because of me.”

Pancake will receive the award in November at the PGA’s annual meeting in Grand Rapids, Mich.

A Zionsville resident, Pancake, 60, began as head pro at Crooked Stick in 2004. He said Jim Ferriell was a great help, too. Ferriell was the Crooked Stick’s golf professional from 1978 until Pancake started in 2004.

“He became our professional emeritus until his death in 2018,” Pancake said. “He helped me in my transition to the club and understanding the culture at Crooked Stick. The award is mostly based on leadership and mentoring. It’s an all-encompassing award. Being part of Crooked Stick has been such a blessing to me and my family. The Dyes were a huge influence on the club and on me.”

The late Pete Dye designed the course, and he and his late wife, Alice, lived by the course’s 18th hole.

There are 41 section award winners of Professional of the Year, with the national winner usually being chosen from the section winners.

“I had been a section winner a couple of times and been a finalist for the national award but had not won it,” Pancake said. “This year, Patrick White, a former assistant of mine, was the Indiana Professional of the Year. He came to me and said, ‘I think you can win, Tony. Would you consider taking my place and sending in an application?’ I have to thank Patrick, who is director of golf at (Carmel’s) Woodland Country Club. It would never have happened without him.”

Pancake and his wife Libby’s four children all played golf at Zionsville Community High School. Youngest daughter, Annabelle, is a senior golfer at Clemson University. Oldest daughter, Allie Roberts, played at Lipscomb University, and son, T.J., played at Cedarville University.  The couple’s youngest son, Trent, was the only one not to play collegiately.