FitzHugh, Woody (2012)

About FitzHugh, Woody (2012)

Woody FitzHugh’s distinguished playing during the 1980s earned MAPGA Hall of Fame honors.   Capturing the MAPGA Section Player of the Year titles four times: 1981, 1984, 1985 and 1987 included not only two Section Championships, but also three Virginia Opens.

Additionally, he spent three years on the PGA Tour, 1980 – 1982.  Nationally in PGA Championships, he played in two PGA Championships (1980 and 1988), qualified for the Professional National Championship twelve times, and played in the Senior PGA Professional National Championship three times (2005, 2006 and 2007.

Growing up in McLean, Virginia, during the 1950s with his brothers Gill, Philip and Grayson, Woody attended Langley High School where he wrestled, and played on the baseball and basketball teams, starring in baseball.  Following high school, Woody attended Hampden-Sydney College, playing on the baseball team.  However, some unhappiness with his playing time led to expressing disappointment to Colonel Gustav Franke, his math professor, but also the college’s golf team coach.  Col. Franke invited Woody to his make-shift driving range, a set up in one of the campus building’s basement.  Hitting into a little net in this basement was where Woody had his first taste of golf.  From that point, Woody decided to say good-bye to baseball and start a new life with golf.

The golf team practiced occasionally at Longwood College Golf Course in nearby Farmville where PGA Professional Mac Main, Sr. held forth as the head golf professional.  Mac noticed Woody on the practice range, decided to give him instruction on his grip, and from there taught him how to play the game.  Mac Main, himself already won two MAPGA Section Championships and a Virginia PGA Championship, had also played on the PGA Tour. Between the leadership of Col. Franke and the golf knowledge of Main, Woody started to develop one of the finest golf games in Virginia.  While still in the amateur ranks, he finished second to his brother Gill in the Washington Metropolitan Amateur Championship in 1973.   Little did he know at that time that his talents would take him to the highest levels of tournament play.

Woody graduated in 1974 with a BA in Psychology and immediately decided on pursuing a golf career.  His first golf job was an assistant golf professional position at Washington Golf and Country Club in Arlington, Virginia, to PGA Hall of Fame member, Clare Emery.  After five years there, he struck out to play tournament golf for a living, earning a PGA Tour card.  Woody spent three years on the PGA Tour where he played in 53 events, made eight cuts and had one top 25 finish.  He only lost the 1980 Buick Open by four strokes to Peter Jacobsen after an opening round of 76. Also during this time, he established Woody’s Golf Range Inc.; a full service golf range that now includes batting cages, volleyball courts and a miniature golf course.  Woody’s Range has been Woody’s passion for over 32 years.

A PGA Member since 1978, Woody established a very impressive tournament record within the Middle Atlantic region.  He is a three-time State Open of Virginia Champion (1984, 1986, and 1988).  In one of the three State Opens, he defeated fellow Virginian and World Golf Hall of Famer Curtis Strange.  Furthermore, Woody’s successful playing career also includes two-time MAPGA Section Professional Champion (1981 and 1985), an MAPGA Head Professional Champion (1988), an MAPGA Team Champion (1987), a four-time MAPGA Player of the Year winner (1981, 1984, 1985 and 1987), and a Middle Atlantic Open Championship (1984).  In addition to these impressive finishes, Woody holds 15 course records, made 13 holes-in-one, and won more than 75 Pro-Am events.  At one stage in his career, he played in eight consecutive events without making a bogey.  In 2000, Hampden-Sydney awarded Woody with a Special Citation into their Athletic Hall of Fame.  “If you can’t do it in a tournament, you haven’t practiced enough,” states Woody on his personal golf philosophy.

Outside of golf, Woody has been very active in his community.  In 1996, he established the Jeremiah House in Paeonian Springs, Virginia which was a home for battered and unwed mothers.  The women who stayed at the Jeremiah House were provided medical care, so they could birth their children safely and then find occupations to get back on their feet. Over 50 babies were saved from abortion through Woody’s services at the Jeremiah House.  An interesting side note about Woody is that he played Aide-de-camp to General Robert E. Lee in the movie Gods and Generals (General Lee’s character was played by Academy Award winner Robert Duvall).

Woody’s personal life is based on his love for his family and his strong Christian faith.  Joan FitzHugh has been at Woody’s side for over 38 years and they have three successful daughters, Tyler, Leta and Currie.  Tyler FitzHugh is the owner/founder of Voila Event Studio and is an associate with Stoladi Property Management Corp.  Leta FitzHugh works as a paralegal secretary and does theatrical scene painting in her spare time.  Currie FitzHugh is the owner/founder of Currie FitzHugh Photography and also assists her dad in the management of Woody’s Golf Range.  Woody’s life has been very blessed and he shares that his children “have proven to be the people in my life who have taught me the most about my life.”