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Jim Smallwood a.k.a. Jim_Smallwood_Jr.
How close have you come to your first ace? Well, Jim "Golfnut Jim" Smallwood came painfully close several years ago and the almost-but-never-was ace still eats at him to this day. I won't put words in his mouth, but it kind of sounds like he wishes he hadn't come that close. That way he wouldn't have to put up with the torture of one of golf's greatest feats! Enjoy!

How old are you and what's your occupation?
I am 46 years old and have been working as a warehouse worker for the past year and a half after being laid off for about a year.

When did you start playing golf and what's your handicap?
My parents have pictures of me as a very young boy with a club in my hand at the age of two or three years old. My handicap has seemed to plateaued at 3. I would like to get to scratch, just as an ego thing, but not having the time needed to accomplish this, what is a guy to do?

How often do you play?
Currently I am only able to get out on the weekends. I used to play weekends and once or twice during the week but as I mentioned with my new job my schedule makes it a little difficult to play during the week. That is one of the many reasons I enjoy Oobgolf, seeing how others are doing with their golf games while I’m unable to get out as much as I would like. I am happy to say I’ve enjoyed playing with fellow Oobgolfer friends I’ve met through this wonderful site.

Tell me about a great shot you've made.
I have two stories that come to mind. First as a young teenager playing with my dad on one of the courses on Kiawah Island we had identical second shots into the par four ninth hole. I hit a fantastic shot to a couple of feet for a knock in birdie and looked to my dad and said, “ok, beat that.” Sure enough not only did he knock it inside of my shot but holed it. I was crushed, remember I was a young teen.

My second story is one I enjoy telling people. In college, I believe this was on the 215 yard par 3 15th or 16th hole at Pipestem in WV. In a college tournament the group ahead of us let us hit our tee shots before the putted out. The group ahead was sitting on the hill behind the green as we hit our shots. As my ball was in the air, covering the pin, the threesome on the green jumped up and started yelling. On the tee we were sure that I had just had my first ace. Once we got the the green we found my ball was plugged in the lip of the cup. My teammate told me that the ball hit the pin and the cup at the same time winding up plugged. We thought it had to be an ace but, depressed, I said I’ll play a second ball, recording two scores for that hole and let the officials decide if it was an ace. Unfortunately the officials told me my score was a two and not an ace because the first ball ‘did not come to rest on its own accord’. I will never forget that description.

What is your best golf memory?
I’ve always enjoyed playing golf with my family and I was excited to have my parents come down to college to visit and I took my dad out to my college home course of Canaan Valley. This was shortly after he had a quadruple bypass. As we stood on the 13th green in the wide open scenic green I heard this loud “clicking” sound and I asked my dad if he could hear that unfamiliar sound. As he was standing about 15 feet away he said oh that’s one of my new plastic heart valves. WOW!

What is your "home" course?
I no longer have a true home course. The past couple of years I’ve been playing a lot of the nearby courses that I have put off, or forgot about. I truly enjoy playing the variety of courses. I felt golf was getting a little stale playing the same course over and over again. I’m pleased that my handicap is much more solid and true playing a variety of courses.

What ball do you play?
This is a great question. The past year I played a variety of balls to see what really works well for me. I’ve come to the conclusion that the Bridgestone B330 series balls work best for me. I am currently playing the Bridgestone B330-RXS. I love the feel and touch it provides around the greens.

Ok, here’s where I get a little finicky. A true golfer right? Since the early ‘80’s I’ve been a huge fan of Ping products. In 1981 I bought the original Ping Eye irons and played them up to 2005. After that 25 years I finally got fitted again, (I also feel Ping has the best fitting program), and have loved my Ping S59 irons. In the past couple of years I have demoed a number of different drivers and 3 woods. I recently bought the TaylorMade Burner driver and 3 woods.

Drivers: TaylorMade Burner SuperFast 2.0
Fairway Woods: TaylorMade Burner Superfast 2.0
Hybrids: Ben Hogan Edge CFT
Irons: Ping S59
Wedges: Cleveland 588 GunMetal
Putters: Boccieri Golf Heavy Putter B3-M

Favorite pro?
I still feel my favorite player is Tom Watson. As a high school student I followed Tom Watson at Congressional in the Kemper Open and thought I could relate to his game.

Favorite course you've played?
Wow, this is a tough question. I have played a number of very nice courses. I feel I will call it a tie. In 1989 or 1990 I played Pebble Beach, from the tips. About eight to ten years ago I played the Ocean Course on Kiawah Island. I had more fun on PB, probably because I shot a better score. The Ocean course is definitely the toughest course by no contest that I have ever played. Both courses have amazing scenery. If I had the chance to play one or the other course once again it would be a tough choice. I would love to play either.

Dream course you've yet to play?
Here locally I hear how nice Pine Valley is and I would love to play it because of it’s locality and prestige.

Best round ever- and what course?
My best round ever is a funny story. In college I shot a -6 66 at our home course Canaan Valley in our home tournament (also my best tournament score) for a course record that stood for all of 40 minutes until someone came in with a 64.

What is one aspect of your golf game you would like to improve on in the next year?
Very easy question. DRIVING. I need to hit more fairways.

Tell me a story.
As I mentioned earlier my home course in college of Canaan Valley gave me a jolt of reality. I went back last October for Homecoming and went out to play a round for old time’s sake. That entire weekend I felt nostalgic for my lost youth. I’ve always played well on that course, four years of college golf and my highest score on this course was 78(+6). I absolutely enjoyed my round but I had to laugh at how modern technology has caused the course to make changes. Primarily on the par threes. Number 12 is now 256 yards, it certainly was not that long in my college days, maybe 180-200 yards and the 16th hole was also about 200 yards in college now a difficult 233 usually into the wind over a pond fronting the shallow green. I still love this course if for no other reason the nostalgic trait.

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[ comments ]
Ben Crane says:
Congrats on GoW, Jim. One of these days we will get to Penn National or the Bridges.
homermania says:
Welcome to the club! The closest I ever came to an ace was one dimple.
Torleif Sorenson says:
Jim, would you mind telling what you like about the Heavy Putter? I'm intrigued. And congrats on GOW. :)
jpjeffery says:
Closest I've ever got to a hole in one is getting GiR on Par 3s.
Jim_Smallwood_Jr. says:
Funny story after reading this was I forgot to mention I did have a hole in one about 17 years ago. I aced the 16th hole at Overlook Golf Course.

Torleif, once you learn to put up with caddies complaining about carrying the added weight I feel the club is unbeatable. I always use the heaviest pair of weights, even on the fastest greens, because the heavy putter certainly takes your hands/wrists out of the stroke. If you correctly read the putting line the putter tends to swing itself. I highly recomend the Heavy Putter to one and all.
oobscott2 says:
this might make some people mad but I've had 3 hole in ones in the last 9 months
Coach Chuck says:
3 or 4 in. twice. But met a old timer a few years ago we hooked up with 5 holes left to play at a course that I only play once every couple of years and it has a peninsula par 3,he told me when we got to that hole that one time in a tournament he put his tee shot in the water short and reteed and dunked it for a 3 now that is just mean.
jstech73 says:
Last year, 150 yard par 3 at Encanto golf course in Phoenix AZ. Ball bounced of the flag pole. 2nd time in as many weeks that the flag pole robbed me of my first ace or eagle.
Jim_Smallwood_Jr. says:
chuckjr I had a similar story of my own a year or two ago. On no. 11 at Overlook G.C. @260 yard par 4 in Lancaster, Pa I snap hooked my driver OB left. Pissed off I reteed a 3 wood that landed on the fronot of the green took one big bounce and went in for a 3.
chipotle mg says:
good stories jim. thank you
Longsocks says:
3 inches i was glad yet disapointed at the same time.
marlinsjh says:
During a personal best round of 88 yesterday(for many years at least) I managed to get within 18 inches of sinking a hole in one,closest i have ever managed..
scottie401972 says:
About a foot away.
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