When it comes to receiving lifetime professional honors, 2012 and ’13 are years Tom Woodard won’t soon forget. In 2012, Woodard was one of three new inductees into the National Black Golf Hall of Fame. And in 2013, he was enshrined in the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame.
In both cases, the longtime Coloradan took the honors as huge compliments.
“It’s one of the biggest accomplishments of my golfing career,” Woodard said of his Colorado Golf Hall of Fame induction. “To me it says, ‘Job well done’ and that’s huge.
“And it’s high cotton” to be in the same class with Alan Abrams and Jimmy Vickers.
With Woodard’s accomplishments as an administrator, a PGA professional and a player, he should feel right at home in the Hall of Fame.
As a tournament player, he competed for 2 1/2 years on the PGA Tour, and qualified for two U.S. Opens and a PGA Championship. Twice he was the Colorado PGA’s Player of the Year and three times the Section’s Apprentice Player of the Year. He also won a national professional tournament on the United Golfers Association tour in 1979.
And as a young man in the mid- and late-1970s, Woodard was one of the first African-Americans to receive the Evans Caddie Scholarship and one of the first to earn Division I All-American status; he was an honorable mention choice at the University of Colorado, in addition to being a two-time All-Big Eight first-team pick.
But for more than a quarter-century, the Manual High School graduate has certainly made a mark as a PGA professional around the Denver metro area.
He’s served as head professional at City Park (1987-89), Littleton Golf Club (1990), South Suburban (1991-95) and at Buffalo Run (where he was the first head pro in 1996). He was director of golf for the City of Denver from 1997-2006, and has been in the same position at the Foothills Park & Recreation District since then.
During his time working for the city of Denver, he co-founded—along with Dave Kolquist—The First Tee of Denver and he served on the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame board.
In 2012, when Woodard was inducted in the National Black Golf Hall of Fame, he joined the likes of fellow inductees Charlie Sifford, Joe Louis, Jackie Robinson, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Jim Brown and Lee Elder.
Founded in 1986, the National Black Golf Hall of Fame’s mission is “to recognize and honor the contributions of black golfers for their skills and to honor persons, regardless of race or ethnicity, who have done the most to promote golf in the black communities.”
“When I was growing up, there were no black role models for me as far as (local) club professionals go,” Woodard said. “Now you have Joe Barrow leading The First Tee nationally. I managed the eight City of Denver golf courses. And a friend of mine is the director of golf for Tampa, Kennie Sims.
“Things have changed. Now there are a lot of African-Americans in positions of power.”
Colorado Golf Association executive director Ed Mate, who like Woodard is a CU Evans Scholar alumnus, notes how big a stature Woodard has in the Denver area.
“As a kid growing up at City Park, Tom Woodard was the man,” Mate said. “I remember following him on the PGA Tour when he was playing and when he came back to City Park he always got a hero’s welcome.”
1997 Golf Person of the Year
The recently appointed director of golf for the City of Denver was recognized for his work with the junior golf program at City Park Golf Course that would lead to the creation of The First Tee of Denver there.