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R.I.P. Jim Langley

Quite possibly the nicest man who ever lived. The longtime head professional at Cypress Point, former Marine, former Cal basketball player and great golfer passed away Saturday night the 19th and would have celebrated a birthday Sunday the 20th.

Joel Zuckerman recently interviewed Jim and posted this wonderful profile of the great man.

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Reader Comments (14)

Quite possibly the nicest is an understatement.

I first met Mr. Langley on May 22, 1991 on one of those life-changing experience days we all tend to exerience once or twice in our lives. No, I didn't play Cypress, but, took a chance, walked into the pro shop and asked this kind man behind the counter to please not call the police on me for trespassing on private grounds. "I just want your answer to be, that the police are waiting or me the gates. Please go out there quietly or, you just hung up the phone with the police and I've got five minutes head start to get out of here!" Mr. Langley laughed, and I interrupted him again, "you have to let me finish, to let the rejection be complete! Could I please play this golf course?!?!?!"

His response was Langley-classic, in that mild-mannered voice, "I've heard them all, but your's was the best one yet, an unfortunately, no, you can't play, but I'm not going to call the police. You can however take a scorecard!" Which I still have in my copy of MacKenzie's Golf Architecture today. He then suggested that I go down to Spanish Bay, which I did and which did change my life from an experience I had there. And when I walked to the counter to see about walking on, the pro asked me if I had just been up at Cypress, which I replied, yes! Well, Mr. Langley called and asked me to take care of you.

Reliving that experience years later with Jim, he didn't remember, and it was simply because he touched so many the same way so many times. I'm grateful to have known him. Eternally grateful.

There's a new star in heaven tonight.
07.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterTommy Naccarato
Pete Newell coached Jim Langely in basketball and he was part of those great Cal teams of the late 50's and early 60's. One day Pete called him into the office and said, "Jim, you are taking a full load of classes, you are playing on the basketball team, and you have two part time jobs. That is too much to take on, can you please give up one of the part time jobs?"

I know a different era, but no wonder he was destined for a great career at CPC.

Tommy, good story.
07.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterLynn S.
Must have been a special man, and wow, what a job!

I can see it all now Tommy- great story and it reminded me of a couple of people I have met thru the years and it makes me want to be a better stranger to those I meet.

Via con Dios, Mr. Langely.
07.22.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
There is another Langley story where this cop from,the Bay Area, was in vacationing with his family on the peninsula. The young man had recently taken to the sport and was simply golf crazy.

While looking for Spyglass, he got turned around and and thought he had found it, got out of the car and went to the putting green and started practicing. Seeing what looked like an out of place tourist on Cypress Point property intrigued Mr. Langley, and he went out on to the putting green to investigate. When he asked, can I help you, the typical conversation started up:

New Golfer: yes, I'm here to play, but wanted to practice my putting. I haven't been playing long and the putting drives me nuts!
Jim Langley: well, yes,it's an intricate part of the game. It takes a lot of practice!
New Golfer: That's the problem! I'm a cop and work a lot of hours, plus with my wife....
Jim Langley: What time was your tee time?
New Golfer: I didn't have one. I was going to see if I could get on as a single.
Jim Langley: your in luck! I was just going to tee off, you could join me if you like.

And away they went!

The entire time,this young cop not knowing he was not at Spyglass, but at one of the most exclusive club's in the world.

I was told that eventually,during the round, he explained exactly where was at and where he was playing and eventually he left the police force and became a much respected club pro, all with the help of Jim Langley.
07.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterTommy Naccarato
Tommy, if only *you* had thought of that ''cop'' story, maybe you could have got on, and now you might be the pro at Tommy's Pitch, Putt, and Paint.

Seriously, it is so easy to be nice, and to hear of Mr. Langely and his practicing the art of being a nice human being; again this makes me want to go to Wal Mart and help little old ladies thru the cross walk

(real bumper sticker down here-Bury me at Wal Mart, so my wife will visit me regularly)

Sorry Jim, no disrespect meant.
07.22.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
Sorry to hear of his passing. Golfweek had an excellent article on him when he retired. After reading, I realized what a class act he was.
07.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBill Vogeney
I got to play Cypress Point with Jim's son. That day was certainly the highlight of my golf life. Heard many stories about Jim. Impressive. I will never forge that day.
07.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDavid R Holland
@Tommy, those are really great stories. They are worth passing on to other PGA Pros who could learn a thing or two from old-school psychology 101. Obviously he must have been trained from a class act as well, somewhere along the way. These guys are out there, like Jim, but there are fewer and fewer.
07.23.2013 | Unregistered Commenterol Harv
In 1983, i called Jim Langley and told him it was my goal to play Cypress Point. After what seemed an eternity ha said"when do you want to dome up?" We were blown away and Jim graciously had us as his gues 3 or 4 times a year for many years until he retired. I always painted a ceramic piece of Ben Hogan, his swing idol, and I loved his little offfice with my Hogan artwork tucked here and there. He was the finest pro I've ever met, always had a smile on his face, generous, and his boys were just like him, great guys. Jim we'll miss you
07.23.2013 | Unregistered Commenterfrsjrs
Casey's quote from Jim: "'You have to give what you have.' And that would refer to anything: time, attention, money, even the clothes on your back" is as good a summation of the man and my friend as can be said.

Jim was a beautiful man. We will miss him for now; but we will all see him again one day playing the 16th over the chasm with both of his arms in Heaven.

God has called one of his angels home.
07.23.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSteve Zavodnick
why is it today's 50 something head pros spend all day in their office? They never interact with the players, guest or members like Jim Langley did. He was really warm and special, and most generous, always handing us a free sleeve of Titleist balls telling us to have a good game. If there is a club professional who belongs in Golfs Hall of Fame, Jim Langley certainly does. The only time I ever saw Jim in his office was AFTER all the morning players had teed off and were away. Today's head pro's, YUK!
07.24.2013 | Unregistered Commentersenior
Onetime in the early 80s, my husband and I were staying at The Lodge on a golf holiday. I like to take long walks early in the morning, and happened upon the Cypress Point Club sign. I walked up the short driveway and this tall, slender, good looking man greeted me as I stood on the practice putting green. He introduced himself as the head pro Jim Langley, and told me that this was a private golf course. I introduced myself and told him how much I'd love to see the course. Next thing I knew the two of us got into a golf cart and he took me around all 18 great holes of Cypress Point. It was a cold, dreary, drizzly day, but after meeting Jim I felt like I had been covered with a ray of sunshine. We remained friends for 30 years and whenever possible, when my husband and I were at Pebble Beach, he would arrange for us to come over and play Cypress. I always brought him my handmade artwork. He's by far the finest human being I've ever known. How I wish the world had more Jim Langley's. I will miss him
07.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJudy
Those are great stories! I never met him but through stories like those definitely feel like I know him....
07.26.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
I have a heaven on earth story I'd like to relate about Jim. After hitting my 3 wood out on the left side of the fairway at the 18th at Cypress Point Club, I looked up at the green and saw Jim Langley up there watching my tricky approach through those winding puzzle of cypress tree limbs. I fortunately canned a downhill 20 footer for my bogey so didn't look like a fool in front of the great pro. He had the caddy take my clubs up and and said " follow me, I want to show you something." He took me back around the other side of the clubhouse, a secret spot, where I gazed out at the entire beauty of the 16th and 17th holes and the blue Pacific beyond. What a heaven on earth experience and I know Jim took great joy in taking me to that spot as he smiled all the way back as I babbled about the beauty of the place. I said "Jim, I'd like to be a dues paying member of this club, can you help out?" Jim straightened up, and said, "hey, I just work for these guys!" What a guy, I doubt I'll ever meet another like him. What a gift from God to give us Jim Langley for all those great years, The best of the best.
07.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterWood

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