By Ken MacLeod
PGA teaching professional Jim Young will become the new director of instruction at Gaillardia Country Club in Oklahoma City beginning June 1.
Young has been teaching and running the instructional programs at River Oaks Country Club in Edmond since 2010, where he was a charter member when the club opened in 2000.
Young succeeds Seth Bryan, who left to become the director of instruction at Flint Hills National near Wichita, Kan. Previous to Bryan, the job was held by Ryan Rody, now director of instruction at Southern Hills in Tulsa.
Young said it was a Godfather move. “They gave me an offer I couldn’t refuse.”
The teaching facilities at Gaillardia are matched by few clubs in the state. The driving range will be closed when Young takes over as it is first up in a massive sodding project as Gaillardia was hit hard by winter kill on its 419 Bermuda turf grass, which it is replacing with Tahoma Bermuda, which is hoped to be much more cold tolerant.
Young was working in auto finance when he first joined River Oaks and didn’t join the PGA program until 2010. He earned his Class A PGA teaching license in 2015, but long before that he had a passion for the swing.
“I had studied an enormous amount on my own and my dad (Jim Young Sr.) was really into technique and had about every instructional book that’s ever been written,” Young said. ‘I caught the bug from him. To some extent, when I started I was winging it, but those I was teaching enjoyed the experience enough to keep coming back and keep sending friends and family to me.”
Young will continue to teach many of his personal clients but is looking forward to working with a membership strong on instruction and practice. He’ll have access to Track Man and Body Track, indoor/outdoor bays in the teaching center, putting and chipping green, a short range for wedges and the regular driving range. A simulator is being installed in the clubhouse.
“They have a lot more toys than I have now,” Young said. “The facilities and resources are great. Garret Diel (head professional) and Chris Watkins (general manager) are really committed to instruction and learning. I’m really looking forward to working with the membership.”