Ed Oldham has lived in Colorado for all but 12 years of his life, but it was when his family made its home in North Platte, Neb., that he decided to become a golf professional. His father, Warren, who was the dean of students and coach of the North Platte Community College golf team, had introduced him to the game, and Rich Skinner, the PGA professional at North Platte Country Club whose daughter Val played on the LPGA Tour, asked Ed to work for him during the summer. Skinner, known for his instructional gift, inspired the 16-year-old Oldham. “From that point on, I knew what I wanted to do,” he said.
The following fall, the Oldhams moved to Rifle, on Colorado’s Western Slope. Ed played on the high-school golf team, and after graduation spent a year working at Rifle Golf Club. In 1982, he got an assistant pro gig at The Ranch Country Club in Westminster. He served in that capacity for more than eight years, advancing to PGA head professional for 27 years before becoming PGA director of instruction at the beginning of 2018.
Along the way, Oldham’s thirst for learning never stopped. In 1999 he earned the highest educational designation given by the PGA of America — PGA Master Professional in golf instruction—and he consistently fills his toolbox with the latest in teaching theory, technique and technology. He estimates he’s given more than 15,000 lessons, with his skills having turned 20 handicaps into 2s, insecure participants into confident players and more than 50 junior golfers into scholarship athletes.
The most prominent of Oldham’s students is Colorado native and 2020 Colorado Women’s Open champion Jennifer Kupcho, who spent 35 weeks as No. 1-ranked women’s amateur in the world, won the 2018 Women’s NCAA Division I individual title and the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur in 2019 before joining the LPGA Tour. She followed her brother Steven—the 2012 Colorado Golf Association’s Player of the Year and winner of multiple mini-tour events—onto Oldham’s the lesson tee.
Other notable acolytes have included CGA Players of the Year Steve Ziegler (a one-time U.S. Palmer Cup team member), Zahkai Brown (a Colorado Open champion)and AJ Ott. In addition, Oldham has taught Parker Edens, the current Colorado State University assistant coach who advanced to U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying every year from 2014 through ’18.
Before focusing exclusively on instruction, Oldham earned plenty of honors from the Colorado PGA, which he served as the Section president (2000-’02). He earned two coveted Golf Professional of the Year honors (’01 and ’02), two Teacher of the Years (’99 and ’13), two Professional Golf Development Awards (’97 and ’98) and Private Merchandiser of the Year (2000). In 2020, he received the Player Development Award.
Oldham has been recognized not only locally but on a larger scale on many occasions over the years. He’s been named one of the “Top 50 Kids Coaches of the Year” according to U.S. Kids Golf the past couple of years and has a been longtime fixture as one of Golf Digest’s “Best Teachers in Your State” in Colorado.