Jim Gallagher Jr.

For Johnstown native and former Professional Golfers' Association Tour player Jim Gallagher Jr., the course is a place for family experiences.

Gallagher enjoyed a 20-year professional golf career – highlighted by five PGA Tour victories in the early and mid-1990s. He then turned to broadcasting the game, working for USA Network and now the Golf Channel.

While a student at the University of Tennessee in the early 1980s, he appeared in the Sunnehanna Amateur Tournament for Champions twice – "and played pretty well the second time," Gallagher recalled.

The experience brought him "home" to the course where his father worked as a caddie – just a short walk "over a big hill" from Brownstown, where Jim Gallagher Sr. grew up.

He also made it back to Pennsylvania for tour events, including one stop at Oakmont Country Club near Pittsburgh to play in the 1994 U.S. Open.

"Even though I had long since moved away and grown up elsewhere, the people there have treated me great," Gallagher Jr. said by phone from his home in Greenwood, Mississippi. "Anytime I came in to play in front of the people of western Pennsylvania, many of whom knew my dad, was really special."

In 1961, Jim Gallagher Sr. moved his wife and newborn son to Marion, Indiana, to take a job as an assistant golf pro.

Jim Gallagher Jr. and his younger siblings – Jeff and Jackie – were raised around the golf course and all later played the game at advanced levels. Jim recalled creating a three-hole course around their house, even though they lived right on the golf course where their father worked.

Jeff was a two-time winner on the Nationwide Tour and played in the 1999 U.S. Open.

Jackie played on the LPGA Tour after starring at Louisiana State University, where she introduced Jim Jr. to a standout teammate – Cissye Meeks – who would become Jim Jr.'s wife.

Jim starred at the University of Tennessee, where he graduated in 1983 and joined the PGA Tour the following year.

"Golf has been very good to us," Jim Jr. said. "We basically grew up on the golf course. We had a great instructor. Dad was a phenomenal teacher. He was never heavy into the technical stuff. He kept it pretty simple, and that probably came from his days as a caddie at Sunnehanna."

Cissye Gallagher was an 11-time winner of the Mississippi State Amateur championship and played on the LPGA Tour.

She and Jim Jr. have four children – three of whom are very involved with golf.

Son Thomas is the manager of the new Mossy Oak Golf Club in West Point, Mississippi. The course opened on Labor Day.

Mary (Gallagher) Langdon, played at Mississippi State University and won the state amateur title in 2010 and 2014.

Kathleen, like her mom an LSU standout, was the 2013 and 2015 Mississippi amateur champ.

Youngest daughter Elizabeth "has a great swing," her dad said, but prefers to focus on basketball.

"We've really had some great times," Gallagher Jr. said. "There were events when our daughters played each other – and, of course, you can't pick one. But it's been great to see all of them grow and pick up the game Cissye and I loved.

"It's such a wonderful game. We always looked at golf for the kids as something they could stay with when they got out of college, that could help them in the business world or just as an activity they could keep up with for many years."

Gallagher Jr. has stayed involved with the sport as a broadcast analyst. At Golf Channel, he works 50 "studios days" during the season and also reports from 16 live golf events – half on the PGA Tour and half LPGA tournaments. He was on the Golf Channel's coverage team in Orlando, Florida, during the Summer Olympics in Brazil.

Jim Jr. said he still has relatives in Johnstown.

"I was blessed with a long and great career, and a wife who was supportive and understanding," he said. "With my kids, sometimes I think they wonder where all of the trophies came from since they were so little when all of that was happening."

Chip Minemyer is the editor of The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at (814) 532-5091. Follow him on Twitter @MinemyerChip.