PGA Member Jim O’Leary Has Served As Head Golf Professional at in Fitchburg For More Than 50 Years
Members – past and present – of Oak Hill Country Club will come together for two special events on August 15-16 to honor longtime PGA Member Jim O’Leary, who has served at his post for 50 years as head golf professional.
On August 15, a Pro-Amateur tournament will be held featuring 30 top New England PGA professionals and 90 Oak Hill Country Club members. The following day will be designated as “Jim O’Leary Day” at Oak Hill as current and former members of the club as well as friends of the O’Leary family will gather to celebrate Jim’s many contributions to the club.
“When people think of Oak Hill they think of a beautiful Donald Ross golf course located in the hills of central Massachusetts,” said club President Robert Montolio. “But they also think of Jim O’Leary. Jim has always placed the interests of Oak Hill first and I truly believe he considers every member he has met over the years to be an extension of his family. And for longtime members at Oak Hill, like me, he has been such a presence in our lives that we consider Jim an extension of our family, as well.”
O’Leary began his career at Oak Hill in 1960 and served three years as an assistant under PGA Professional Tom Lamey. He joined the staff of Art Harris at Mount Pleasant Country Club as a teaching professional for the 1963 and 1964 seasons. O’Leary then returned to Oak Hill as head golf professional in September, 1964 upon the sudden passing of Lamey.
During his tenure at Oak Hill, O’Leary has been an enthusiastic supporter of junior golf and has also been very encouraging to all players who are new to the game. Long before it became a popular phrase, O’Leary has been a visionary by suggesting that golfers “play it forward” to help more people enjoy the game. An outstanding golfer as well, O’Leary captured the 1962 New Hampshire Open and the 1963 New England Assistants’ Championship.
In addition to his work at Oak Hill, O’Leary has been a very active member of the New England PGA with a focus on professional education and the development of young professionals. According to Michael Higgins, executive director of the New England PGA, “Jim is the consummate PGA Professional and his longevity at Oak Hill Country Club is a testament to that. His contributions to the game of golf have not only had an impact on the lives of the Oak Hill CC members, but they can be felt throughout New England and beyond. Jim is a leader, a teacher, a mentor, and an inspiration to all PGA Professionals.”
The New England PGA recognized O’Leary’s commitment to professional education by honoring him with the Horton Smith Award in 1977, and for his outstanding performance as a golf professional,
O’Leary was named New England PGA Golf Professional of the Year in 1979. In 2011, O’Leary’s lifetime of achievements and contributions to the game of golf were recognized by his induction into the New England PGA Hall of Fame.
A resident of Fitchburg, Jim has been married to his wife Jane for 48 years and together they are proud to have five children and nine grandchildren.