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I’m lucky to do what I do, Jay said as we were sitting down for my interview for this article. And, truth be told, it shows every day when we see Jay conducting golf lessons on our driving range. Jay loves the game of golf— he always has— and this love of golf started when he was age two, the first time he swung a golf club.

Jay was born and raised in Ironwood, on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The Synkelmas lived on a 9-hole golf course, which is where Jay learned to golf and, at age seven, Jay proclaimed that he wanted to be a golf pro.

Jay would play and re-play the 9-hole course and one day Jay and a friend played 80 holes of golf, from 4:30 a.m. until 10:30 p.m. Growing up Jay won many tournaments between the ages of seven and 17, as a junior. This was just the beginning of a long and enjoyable career in golf.

Born into a family of two brothers and a sister, all of the children were athletic. In high school Jay played golf, basketball and football, but dropped football rather than be injured and ruin his career in golf.

Jay accepted a golf scholarship at Palm Beach College in Florida. His “idol” in the golf world was Tom Watson and Jay replicated Tom’s golf swing.

After graduation he re-located to Arizona, where he accepted a position at El Conquistador.

Getting into the PGA Qualifying (“Q”) School is not easy and Jay tried many times. In 1997 he did qualify for the finals of the Q School and missed getting his PGA Tour Card by two strokes; however, he attained a Nike Tour Card. As an amateur, he qualified for his first PGA Tour event, in the Milwaukee Open, and was paired with Tom Lehman.

During his pro career Jay had wins in The Arizona Open and in the Idaho Open, where he came in second and shot a career low of 61. Other important wins include two times SW Section PGA Championship, the SW Kansas Open Championship and the San Juan Open. Jay also played in many PGA Tour events, including 3 Waste Management Phoenix Opens.

Jay has had a 30-year career in teaching golf, with 10 of those years as Lead Instructor of the Hilton Golf Academy at El Conquistador. Many of his students would return every year for Jay’s lessons, including students from Europe!

Although Jay has many trophies, more importantly are his memories, including:

  • Having his wife, Karla, caddy for him for a year;
  • Caddying for Jack Nicklaus in an exhibition round;
  • Beating the men’s defending champion with a score of 35, at the tender age of 12; and
  • Making 8 holes in one.

Some Jay-isms

Golf is a game everyone can get better at and have fun.

The definition of a good golf swing is:

  • Something you can repeat and trust with good results; and
  • It does not matter how it looks; there is no perfect way to swing a club.
  • I will never try to change your swing, but I will try to make what you have better.

Besides golf Jay’s other hobbies include hunting, fishing and skiing.

Jay has a family of golfers—his wife and his two daughters.

To arrange a golf lesson with Jay contact him by email at synkforpar@aol.com or give him a call at (520) 820-0741.


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