CARMEL, Calif. -- James "Jim" Langley, former long-standing PGA Head Professional at Cypress Point Club, died peacefully at home on July 20 after a series of health challenges. At the time of passing he was surrounded by his loved ones. He was 75 years old and just minutes away from his 76th birthday.
Langley was a member of the famed 1959 University of California at Berkeley basketball team that won the NCAA Championship. He served a short while in the USMC, and began his golf career as a tour player, obtaining his PGA card in 1965 at the very first tour school.
He was best known for his 34-year tenure as the PGA head professional at the Alister MacKenzie-designed Cypress Point Club—where he held the rare distinction as an honorary member following his retirement. His career spanned 41 years as a dedicated member of the PGA of America.
"Mr. Langley was a Pro's Pro," explained Chris Thomas, executive director and COO for the Northern California PGA. "His respect for the industry, the profession and his fellow PGA Member was always in the forefront along with his deep commitment to 'give back.' His love for life, faith, family and the game of golf was contagious. He will forever be remembered not only as a Pro's Pro, but also as an absolute gentleman."
A consummate professional, Langley was loved and respected by those who came in contact with him through the game of golf, his volunteer work with his church, or his tireless charitable efforts. That extraordinary list included his cherished CPC club members and staff, PGA Tour players and PGA club professionals.
"Jim and I became instant friends when we began on Tour together in 1965," said former Ryder Cup Captain Dave Stockton, owner of Stockton Golf. "He was the finest person I've ever met and Cathy and I were proud to have him as a role model and godfather for our son, Ron. He always found a way to reflect the focus of conversation back to others. In fact, we spoke a few days before he passed and his last words to me were, 'Let me know if there is anything I can do for you.' My family is blessed to have had him in our lives."
In 2003, Langley was inducted into the California Golf Writers Hall of Fame, and in 2005, named Golf Professional of the Year by the Northern California PGA. In 2008, the Northern California PGA Foundation created an event named specifically in his honor: The Langley-A Tribute to Legends, which today, continues to recognize golf legends while also raising funds for worthy programs including youth scholarships.
Golf legend Jack Nicklaus is the most recent person honored by The Langley. He said, "Barbara (Nicklaus) and I had the fortunate pleasure to be with Jim almost a year ago, on a night I was truly honored to have received an award bearing his name. Our thoughts and most heartfelt prayers go out to Lou (Langley) and their four sons. They lost a wonderful husband and father, and our game lost a wonderful man."
"Jim was a very nice person, a good friend and a great pro," shared PGA Hall-of-Famer Arnold Palmer. "He had all of that misfortune and yet always was in such good spirits despite it all, very accommodating and good-natured without fail. I was certainly very sorry to hear that he had passed."
During his tenure as a golf professional, Langley mentored juniors through the AT&T Pebble Beach Junior Golf Foundation, was a supporter of The First Tee of Monterey County, and volunteered with the local Boys and Girls Club. When his sons were in their formative years he supported their athletic endeavors, serving as Carmel High's booster club president. Langley and his wife Lou, have been loyal Cal Bear fans and supporters.
In 1987, a tragic automobile accident left Langley without the use of his right arm and enduring much pain. Typical of his reaction to personal misfortune, Langley spoke about the blow with uncommon optimism and a deep belief in his faith. "It has made me realize what is truly important in life," he professed. "We should challenge our comfort levels, step out of ourselves for a while and recognize that there are many who need our help and our guidance. Faith and family will get us though anything."
Committed to giving back at the community level, Langley was also a supporter of the Gateway Center, Hospice Foundation of the Central Coast and the Carmel Mission Foundation. His memorable moments included an occasional round of golf with his sons plus the often-treasured time with his loving wife, Lou, and their grandchildren. His favorite pastimes included reflective walks at Cypress Point and often along the path at Carmel Beach.
Langley is survived by his wife, Lou, four sons, Brad (wife, Gina), Brett, Brennon (wife, Melissa) and Bryan (wife, Gwen), and eight grandchildren. Family and friends will gather at a Celebration of Life in loving memory of Mr. Jim Langley on Tuesday, August 13, 2013, 10:30 a.m., at the Carmel Mission Basilica, 3080 Rio Road, Carmel, Calif, 93923.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be sent to: NCPGA Foundation-The Langley Golf Youth Scholarship Program (411 Davis St. Ste. 103, Vacaville, CA, 95688) Carmel Mission Foundation (200 Clock Tower Place, Carmel, CA, 93923), The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation (909 N. Washington St., Ste. 400, Alexandria, VA, 22314), or Meals on Wheels (40 Clark St., Salinas, CA, 93901).
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