June 11, 2017

James Ronald Ireland

James Ronald Ireland of Hingham, MA, passed away on June 11, 2017, after a long battle with brain cancer. He was 84.

Beloved husband of Barbara (Smith) Ireland.  Loving father of Pamela Ireland of Cohasset, MA, and James Ireland, Jr, his wife, Tracey, and their children, Jack, Sam and Kate, of Mission Viejo, CA.  Son of the late James A. and A. Irene (Robinson) Ireland.  Brother of the late Eunice Statler. Also survived by several nieces and nephews.

Jim enjoyed a 50-year career in the golf industry first with The MacGregor Golf Company in both New Jersey and Cincinnati, OH. In 1974 joined Titleist/Foot-Joy Worldwide in Brockton, MA until his retirement in 1998.  His expertise spanned marketing, sales management, product development, tournament planning, advertising and player relations.  He was instrumental in guiding many young players through their early golfing careers, particularly through company sponsorships.  In the 1970’s, Jim was one of the founders and President of the Golf Manufacturers and Distributors Association.  He started the PGA Merchandisers of the Year Award, established in 1978.  He and Dick Tarlow, then President of Foot-Joy, created the PGA Assistant Professional Championship, held in the early days at Thorny Lea Golf  Club, Brockton, MA and later at La Quinta at PGA West, in La Quinta, CA.  Forty consecutive years attending The Masters golf tournament in Augusta, GA were a particular point of pride in Jim’s career.

In 1999 Jim became the 9th recipient of the Ernie Sabayrac Award for Lifetime Contributions to the golf industry. He was celebrated by over 200 of his colleagues and his family.  He personally knew each of the earlier recipients, who included long-time colleagues as well as childhood friends.

His passion for family, friends, golf and gardening consumed much of his abundant energy.  He was always known as “a man in motion”.  He intertwined family, friends and career so closely that each was indistinguishable from the other.  He taught by example that hard work, commitment and camaraderie could move mountains.

Jim was a member of Cohasset Golf Club in Massachusetts and Jonathan’s Landing, Jupiter, FL.

Jim (as a boy known as “Ronnie”) grew up in Nutley, NJ, graduated from Nutley HS in 1951 and attended Fairleigh Dickinson University, Rutherford, NJ.   His golf career moved he and his family to Cincinnati, OH, Hingham, MA and Jupiter, FL but it also gave this multi-million-mile flyer an opportunity to travel the world as an ambassador for the golf industry.

Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend the visitation on Sunday, June 25th from 1:30 – 3:30 PM, followed by his Funeral Service at 3:30 PM, at the McDonald Keohane Funeral Home SOUTH WEYMOUTH, MA at 809 Main Street (Rte 18 opp. So. Shore Hospital).  Burial will be held on Tuesday June 27, at 12:30 PM in East Ridgelawn Cemetery, Clifton, New Jersey.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Resident Care Fund of Linden Ponds, Attn. Philanthropy Manager, 203 Linden Ponds Way, Hingham, MA 02043.