Junior Golf Alliance of NY

Jan 122018

John Cooney with the US Open Trophy.

By Bob Weiner

After 31 years with the Troy Police Department, John Cooney certainly knows a lot about dealing with people, rules and regulations. His lifelong love affair with golf goes back even further. That’s why his new role with the New York State Golf Association is a no-brainer.

The Wynantskill resident and Troy-native was recently named to the NYSGA Executive Committee and will be extremely involved with numerous decisions regarding the huge organization’s budget, appointments and other day-to-day operations.

“I’m really excited. This is not only an honor, but also a huge challenge,” Cooney said.

“I’ve talked and dealt with the rules of golf for so many years, but now I’ll be making business decisions, as well. I’m going to have a more concrete role now with a huge presence in the game.

“This is not just a hobby but almost like a new career for me,” he added.

Former Troy P.D. Capt. John Cooney is the NYSGA Rules Official with the final twosome in the NYS Men’s Amateur at Mohawk Golf Club in Aug. 2016.

The tools of the trade for NYSGA Rules Official John Cooney.


Cooney’s name and face already should be familiar to serious amateur golfers in the Capital Area, as he’s been a NYSGA senior rules official for more than five years.

“My biggest moment so far was being the starter for the State Amateur at Bethpage State Park’s Black Course,” Cooney said. “But this new role is a progression for me. The people at the NYSGA are straight shooters.

“In golf, we always encourage each other, and that’s the way it is with the NYSGA. Now, my new position has a lot more weight. I know I can really make even more of an impact on the game.”

Cooney’s involvement with golf began when he was just a youngster, when his parents would drop him off at Frear Park in Troy early in the morning and not pick him up until it was dark. He not only played plenty of golf there, but also worked as a starter, ranger and cashier.

Cooney’s obsession with hard work and practice eventually resulted in improving his game to the point where he was a 3-handicap. He has qualified for both the New York State Amateur and Mid-Amateur. Cooney was a longtime member of Burden Lake Country Club before briefly joining the Country Club of Troy. Currently, he’s a member of Olde Kinderhook.

John Cooney at Bethpage Black for the NYS Men’s Amateur in August 2017. Photo provided.


He recorded two of his three career holes-in-one at Burden Lake CC, but the other ace was his most memorable.

“I got a hole-in-one on the 17th hole at Oyster Bay on a vacation at Myrtle Beach,” he recalled. “When you are paying for drinks at a place like that, everyone was reaching for the best stuff in the house. It was quite expensive,” he said with a chuckle.

Cooney’s career low round is 68 at Queensbury Country Club. He’s played in numerous Capital Area golf championships over the years and is still quite serious about the game.

“There was a time when I was so passionate about the game that it was difficult for me to control my temper, but I’ve long since taken care of that problem,” he said. “This game is great, but it can certainly frustrate us at times.”

Cooney said his long career in the Troy Police Department, where he retired in 2014 as a captain, will help him with his new duties. He was union president for eight years and had plenty of experience with contract negotiations, as well as with officer training and public relations. He’s also the owner of Police Positive Consulting Services.

Cooney and his passion

“To have a new job that is a passion is really special,” Cooney said. “The game has been good to me. I love the rules of golf, and I know I’ll still be involved as a rules official. But I’m looking forward to my new duties as an executive, where I can help plan events and make decisions behind the scenes. I’m very excited.”

Dan Russo is congratulated by Tournament Chair John Cooney at Schuyler Meadows Club in 2013.

John Cooney and Dan Ireland have teamed up at the Troy Invy since 2003.

John Cooney at 2013 NYS Men’s Am at Schuyler Meadows Club.

John Cooney wastes little “time” at the USGA’s Golf House while at his rules seminar in 2011.