This is an article I did for a magazine called "Know Your Pro"
Name: Jim Woods,PGA
Best round and where: I have shot a 61 twice at the Heritage Country Club in Binghamton NY, where I had 11 birdies in one round and 10 birdies in the other. I was the Head Golf Professional at the course at the time and had a great group of guys to play with on a weekly basis. Heritage County Club also held the PGA Tours 4 Spot qualifier for the BC open where I also qualified for my first PGA Tour Event in 1999 with a 67. I qualified again through the section in 2003 missing the cut both times. I will never forget being inside the ropes and how great it felt to play with some of the best players in the world. It was a Ryder Cup Year at Brookline and a lot of the players were there ... Phil Mickleson, Nick Faldo, among others. It really lets you know how good you are when you see these guys practice and play that close to the action.
How you got into golf: My father put a club in my hand at the age of 5 and I never looked back. I would consider my family to be the perfect foursome. I have a twin brother who is a Golf Professional in upstate NY and my mom and dad both play on a regular basis. I enjoy going out as a family when I get the opportunity to visit. We were very fortunate to grow up on the first hole of the En-Joie Golf Course in Endicott NY, Home of the BC Open and the Dicks Sporting Goods Open. Since I was young I always was into golf and through Junior High and High School I was able to compete at an early age. I had a great school coach named Tom Smith who was also a PGA member at the time. I learned a lot from him as he was our school coach for all 6 years that I played. I believe we may still hold the record in NY State for the most wins and lowest scores in a season.
Positions/jobs before your current position/course: I have held several positions at all different types of golf facilities from driving ranges to private country clubs. As an assistant I started out at the En-Joie Golf Club in 1993 then moved to the Heritage Country Club as the first assistant and then Head professional from 1995-2003. I then came to NJ to work at the Forsgate Country Club where I was the Teaching Professional and Tournament Director for 4 years and then the Director of Golf for 2 years. I have always enjoyed teaching the game. It seems to be much more rewarding to me when a student hits a pure shot for the first time or learns something new that lowers their score.
How you arrived at your current position/course: I have always had aspirations of owning my own golf academy so I can share my experiences and teach other people what I have learned over a lifetime dedicated to golf. I have been building my golf academy in my head for several years and it is amazing to see it in action after all of these years. Refining my teaching process and simplifying my approach to the game has helped speed up the learning process for most of my students. I am very into technology and offer state of the art computerized learning aids that give students instant feedback through visual and kinesthetic learning. Through the years I have taught well over 10,000 lessons and hope to continue my role as the Director of Instruction of my own Golf Academy.
What you like most about your job and why: My true love for the game is seeing other people learn and shoot lower scores. I would consider myself a true student of the game in all aspects. I have had opportunities to play with PGA Tour Professionals and learn from some of the best teachers in the game. Along with my own trial and error I have developed a method that my students have had a great deal of success with.
What makes your course/facility special, favorite thing about your course/facility: Our facility is open all year long and we have a great indoor studio with state of the art video and computer technology. We have a covered driving range with heated stalls that allows us to hit balls all winter long even when the ground is covered with snow.
Favorite course (other than your own) locally (New Jersey/Eastern, PA) and anywhere else in the world: My favorite course I would have to say is Bethpage Black. It is a true test of golf. I competed in the NY State open there in 2003 and shot an even Par round of 71 from all the way back in tournament conditions. It was truly one of my best rounds of golf under pressure.
Best golf tip you can give or ever got: I have heard so many tips and quotes through the years, but here are a few that I think have really helped me:
“Take nothing seriously except taking nothing seriously”
“Treat every shot as an opportunity to hit another one”
“There is no good and bad in golf there is only the shot that you tell your body to hit”
“Whoever can miss it the best will be the winner on that day”
“Old man par is tough to beat, but beating your self up is easy”
My favorite “Practice like you play and play like you practice”
What do we need to do to grow the game: In this day and age people are moving faster and faster every day. Golf and life take patience and understanding along the way. I think it is important to make people realize that golf is a process, similar to learning a musical instrument, or your ABC’s. It is a game of a lifetime that teaches us many lessons along the way. With all of the ups and downs that you experience in life, golf can help prepare you for success. Learn to slow down and enjoy golf as you enjoy life and the game and your life will grow around you over time.
Parting shots (feel free to offer observations, anecdotes, etc. about the game): There are no quick fixes on the path to lower scores. Pre-Swing Determines In-Swing. What you do in the 10-15 seconds leading up to your swing is just as important as the swing. Be consistent at being consistent and you will improve.