Jim Bailey graduated from East High School in 1946 and attended the University of Denver. He got his start in golf in 1955 as an assistant professional at Denver’s City Park Golf Course. During the next nine years he worked at Wellshire Golf Course, Denver Country Club, Green Gables Country Club and Pinehurst Country Club. In 1964 he was hired as the head golf professional at Hyland Hills Golf Course and that same year was named the Colorado PGA’s Professional of the Year.
From 1962-64 Bailey developed a four-hole golf course and instruction program for Fort Logan Mental Health Center. In 1966 he founded the Share Tournament for special-needs children and in 1967 he established the first cancer benefit tournament in Colorado. Beginning in 1964, Jim was the area consultant to the National Golf Foundation for teaching and promoting golf in the Rocky Mountain Region and across the U.S. As such, he helped put on clinics several times per year.
After taking over as head professional at the Adams County Golf Course in 1973, Jim thrice received the Horton Smith Award from the Colorado PGA for outstanding service and contributions in developing and improving educational opportunities for the PGA professional. In 1976, he received the national Horton Smith Award from the PGA of America.
From 1978-88, Bailey served as a special consultant to the PGA of America in club and course relations and education programs. In ’78, he and his wife Marcia opened the first golf school in Denver, the Bailey Golf School at Kennedy Golf Course, and about 1,000 golfers participated each year.
In 1982, the Baileys established the Bailey Golf Tours, a travel program for golfers to receive instruction and play fine resorts all over the world. In 1984 Jim authored a book, “The National PGA Golf Professional at a Public Golf Course,” that is still used.
In 1986, Jim was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis but continued teaching at Raccoon Creek and Riverdale Golf Courses. He and Marcia created a series of fundraising tournaments that benefited “Golf for Fun” and disabled golfers.