Jay Williams has lived a golfing life that has now led him to be the new teaching pro at Eastern Shore Yacht and Country Club.
Growing up in Virginia Beach, he tagged along with his father on weekend golf outings before he was old enough to swing a club, later hitting from the forward tees.
When he was old enough to play on his own, his father would drop him off on summer days at Kempsville Meadows Country Club, where he was given the choice of swimming in the pool or playing golf. “I think I went swimming once and spent all the other days playing golf. It was a great place to grow up,” recalled Williams, now 66.
Williams loved baseball too and played on a Little League team with twin brothers Curtis and Allan Strange. That trio would later help lead Princess Anne High School to back-to-back state golf titles in 1971 and 1972. “Allan was as good a golfer as Curtis,” said Williams, “but Curtis was more determined and concentrated on golf. Allan was also the quarterback of the football team.”
Of course, most golfers know Curtis Strange went on to become an NCAA golf champion at Wake Forest and then had a Hall of Fame pro in a career that included back-to-back U.S. Open titles.
Williams earned a partial golf scholarship to the University of Maryland, where he received a degree in communications. His father was a production manager at WTAR-TV, now WTKR, but Williams felt pulled to golf, and with his father’s blessing, competed on the Mid-Atlantic Tour and the Florida Mini Tour before pursuing a career as a teaching professional, attending three levels of PGA Business School.
“My father and I were like best friends, and he had a huge influence on my life, supporting me in whatever I chose to do,” said Williams.
Starting as an assistant golf professional, he spent time at a number of Virginia Beach golf courses, including Stumpy Lake, Red Wing and Bow Creek before becoming head professional at his home course, now Kempsville Greens Municipal Course. One of his favorite playing partners in the Tidewater area was the legendary Chandler Harper, winner of the 1950 PGA who won the Virginia State Open a record nine times and spent his entire life in the Portsmouth area.
More recently, Williams was an associate teaching professional at Cypress Point Golf Club in Virginia Beach. About a year ago, he moved to Harborton because he liked the slower pace of the Eastern Shore. When an opening came up at Eastern Shore Yacht and Country Club for a teaching golf professional, he applied and got the job.
“I feel like I have a Luck Dragon following me around,” said Williams. “I love teaching the fundamentals of golf to anyone from young kids to seniors. I feel like I have patience — which golf teaches you — to work with golfers of all skills.”
Williams said he works from the feet up, emphasizing balance as the key to a golf swing. “I’ve seen it all when it comes to swings, but you need balance to find a swing that works for you. I try to fix two or three things with one tip,” added Williams.
Williams is now available to members and non-members of the club for golfing lessons, starting at $45 for adults and $30 for youth for a 45-minute session. A package of three lessons is $120 for adults and $75 for children. A package of six lessons is $210 for adults and $140 for children.
Call the pro shop at 757-787-4519 for more information or to schedule a lesson.
Williams will also be providing golf instruction at ESY&CC’s Summer Camp for youth ages 4 and up from June 22 to June 26. Campers are grouped by age with tennis and swimming also included among camp activities. The price is $125 for members and $150 for non-members. Call 787-1525 to register or obtain waivers at https://www.esycc.com/