By Ryan Kaczmarski
Westlake resident Janice Moodie is trading in her LPGA Tour card for the chance to share with others her knowledge and enthusiasm for the game of golf as an instructor at Avon Oaks Country Club.
“I’d like to get a nice little client base here and teach some (junior golfers), so I’m offering myself up to teach here at Avon Oaks,” Moodie said.
Moodie has been a member of Avon Oaks since just after arriving in the Greater Cleveland area – introduced by club member Jon DiPalma – and as her professional career started to wind down, she has been taking courses and getting certifications as a golf instructor.
“I think I personally can add a lot more wealth of knowledge than just the regular golf instructor,” she said. “I think I can add, with my 15 years on the LPGA tour, stuff on the golf course that others might not be able to, such as course management. I, for sure, can help people get around the golf course a little easier.”
Moodie is willing to work with golfers of all ages and playing levels, and one does not need to be an Avon Oaks member to take lessons with her.
“I’ll hopefully have a broad spectrum (of students),” she stated. “I think I can take somebody who is just keen on the game, and doesn’t have much of a golfing background, especially a junior player, (and) I think I could take them up through the ranks and get them to be very good. It just depends on (the student’s) dedication to the game, and what they want to do, as well. I think I can (also) help people who have played for a long time … and get them, with better course management, to save some strokes. I also like to focus on the short game.”
Along with personal swing lessons on the driving range, Moodie will also offer course playing lessons and group lessons – and you can add her to your foursome for fun personal outing lessons.
The Glasgow, Scotland, native cites her growing family as being a key factor in her decision to retire from being a touring professional.
“I have two kids – Craig and Matt – and Craig is a kindergartner at St. Raphael (located in Bay Village),” she explained. “With Craig being in school, it ties you down a little bit more and (I) don’t want to miss him (growing up and attending school). It’s just time.”
The two-time LPGA tour event winner – she also has two Hyundai Team Match victories, with teammate Lorie Kane – traces her love of the game of golf back to her mother, a former 6-handicap amateur, who taught her the game at a relatively young age.
“I was 11 when I really started getting into golfing,” she said. “Here, over in the (United States), a young age is like 4 or 5 (years old). I would say that I was young, but when you have girls on the LPGA tour now winning events at the age of 14, I don’t think 11 was that young.
“I reckon when I was 16, was when I knew that golf was going to be the passion and the thing I really wanted to do (professionally).
“I was playing nationally – for Scotland, Great Britain and then for Europe – traveling all around the world on an amateur level, and then I knew that was definitely the road I wanted to go down.”
Moodie first came to America in 1993, on a golf scholarship to San Jose State University, where she won 12 collegiate tournaments, was the Big West Conference Athlete of the Year 1994-1996 and All-Big West in 1994-1995, and finished in the top 10 at the NCAA championships 1994-1997, earning first team All-American honors each year 1994-1997.
“I hadn’t been to the states ever (before college),” she said. “I had traveled all over the world playing golf, but never to the United States.
“(Adjusting to life in America) was definitely a big challenge,” she added. “The country is just so big! When I grew up, there was a McDonald’s five miles away; then, all of a sudden, here there is a Burger King, a KFC and a Taco Bell on each corner, so that was mind-boggling to me. It is a bigger, faster-paced country than what I was used to. I got to make some good friendships there – a couple of Scottish people from San Jose – these are people I’m still in contact with to this day.”
She was inducted into the San Jose State University Athletic Hall of Fame in 2003, and a year later she was inducted into the National Golf Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
As well as playing on the LPGA and women’s European tour, she was a member of the European teams that won the 2000 and 2003 Solheim Cup.
Moodie made the move to Northeast Ohio with her husband, who formerly worked for IMG, and settled in Westlake.
“(We) also have a place down in Florida,” she said. “That’s the only way I could stay sane, with all the snow around here. I’m a bit of a snowbird, you could say.
“I really like it here (in Westlake). Florida is a little bit more transient, where as here, people live and there is just good family life.”
Moodie has not given up playing for good, as she plans to play in a couple of LPGA events per year, and she has been chosen as the captain of the European Junior Solheim Cup team, which will compete this summer at The Inverness Hotel and Golf Club in Denver, Colo.
If interested in instruction by Moodie, call the Ways & Greens Golf Shop at Avon Oaks Country Club at 440-871-4638 and reserve an appointment.
The Avon Oaks Country Club is also looking for nonmember junior golfers to participate in the Junior Account Program. Applicants must have a love for the game of golf, carry a 3.0 GPA and have an 18 handicap (for girls) or a 12 handicap (for boys). The limit will be 10 junior golfers. For a single fee, the Junior Account players will have access to the club’s driving range and golf course (with some time limitations). For more information, call Avon Oaks Country Club at 440-892-0660.