Think you have a busy schedule? Well, don’t complain to Jim Remy.
He’s got us all beat, serving as the president of the PGA of America and vice president and general manager of the Okemo Golf Division at the Okemo Valley Golf Club in Ludlow, Vt. That means lots of travel, telecommuting, long days and plain old hard work.
Remy was the first New England PGA Section member to ever ascend to the office of PGA president. An accomplished and highly regarded golf businessman, he holds the distinction of having served in virtually every capacity within the areas of Association governance, including an unprecedented six-and-a-half year term on the PGA’s National Board of Control, which reviews and rules on membership issues. He was named to the Board in 1997 to finish the term of William A. Mitchell, who passed away, and was then named to his own term in 1999.
By 2004, Remy was elected national PGA secretary, serving a two-year term, until his election to PGA vice president in 2006, and then PGA president in 2008.
Remy has served in almost every capacity within the New England PGA Section as well, including as the Section’s president from 1995-97. Among various awards, he was named the 1997 New England PGA Golf Professional of the Year and inducted into the New England PGA Section Hall of Fame in 2008.
A PGA member since 1984, Remy began his career at Worcester Country Club, site of the first Ryder Cup played in the United States. He served as a PGA assistant professional at Worcester and Mount Pleasant Country Club, two of Massachusetts’s premier private facilities.
After accepting the PGA head professional position at Killington Golf Resort in Vermont in 1985, he went on to become the PGA director of golf and summer sports, and eventually the PGA director of golf for the Vermont Divisions for S-K-I Ltd.
In late 1997, Remy accepted a position with Okemo Mountain Resort and became responsible for the construction and development of the Okemo Valley Golf Club. Today, as vice president and general manager of the Okemo Golf Division, he is responsible for all aspects of one of New England’s leading membership and resort facilities.
Remy and his wife Darlene have a daughter, Niki.
Golfing Magazine somehow managed to catch up with Remy for a few minutes recently and had a little chat with this most active man.
GM: You’re so busy. Where are you headed off to?
JR: I’m going to Texas to play with former President George W. Bush to kick off Patriot Golf Day, which raises funds for the children of fallen and wounded soldiers.
GM: That is a great cause.
JR: It is. A lot of these kids don’t get much assistance and the effort has been able to raise five and a half million dollars so far.
GM: You travel a lot?
JR: Yes. Having two full-time jobs means I have given them basically half my life the last few years. It’s certainly been a challenge to balance both. But I have a great staff at Okemo who help run the show there, and a Blackberry is a great tool.
GM: What have you focused your efforts on as president of the PGA of America?
JR: Well, the last two years have been tough due to the recession and everything that has happened in the business world. But the one thing that has been positive is that golf has remained healthy overall. People love the game and the industry has reworked its business model to compensate for the downturn caused by the recession. And the various governing bodies and organizations that help run golf have come together in cooperative ways to strengthen the game.
GM: The PGA of America has been active in promoting the game?
JR: Yes. Our Play Golf America efforts that we have had in place for a half dozen years has helped grow the game and added some stability to the industry during the recession.
GM: What messages do you try and get across to the general public and government about the game?
JR: The golf industry is a 76 billion dollar business and there are 16,000 golf facilities and all of them are different. We employ a million people directly and another two million indirectly. And about three quarters of all golf courses are public, so we aren’t an elite business. We need to continue getting those messages out to the decision makers.
GM: Anything else?
JR: We are working to get people to understand that they need to take time in their busy lives to smell the roses. There are so many positive things about playing golf--from the health benefits to being with your family and friends--that is worth people carving a piece of time out of their days to play the game,
GM: Being such a busy man I would imagine you don’t have much time to play?
JR: I get asked that a lot. But I try and play as much as I can. I played nine holes last night and I’m going to play 18 holes tomorrow.
GM: What is your favorite time on a golf course?
JR: It is those times that I play with my buddies at Okemo and we have a little bet on it. I’ve had the opportunity to play so many great courses but my home course is still enjoyable.
GM: What is you favorite course anywhere?
JR: I would say Augusta and the Old Course at St. Andrew’s for obvious reasons. But really, it’s the one I’m playing at the time. It’s like I say when people ask me about my favorite meal. I say the one I’m eating right now.
GM: How about in New England, other than Okemo?
JR: I like Ekwanok in Manchester, Vt. and Worcester Country Club in Massachusetts. I still go back and play in a tournament at Worcester every year.
GM: What is your low round?
JR: A 66 I shot at Killington Golf Resort in Killington, Vt.
GM: Any parting thoughts?
JR: Just that I hope I’ve been able to show how important golf is to a lot of people and that we’ve been able to get the occasional golfer more interested in playing more. It is such a great game and a wonderful lifestyle that you can enjoy your whole life.