Incline’s Wood returns home to be head golf pro at Mountain Course
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Ashley Wood feels like a rockstar being back in her hometown.
The 31-year old graduated from Incline High School in 2005, spent 14 years establishing herself and now has returned to the North Shore to live her dream and give back to a community she loves.
Wood was recently named head golf professional at The Mountain Course, the same course where she learned how to play and competed for so many years.
“It feels really good, it feels right,” Wood told the Tribune on Wednesday. “I feel very supported. I almost feel like a celebrity to be back with the way everyone treats me.”
Wood comes back to Lake Tahoe after serving a successful tenure from 2016-19 as the head PGA professional and director of fitness at the prestigious Presidio Golf & Concordia Club in San Francisco.
Wood said it wasn’t an easy decision to leave the lush facility situated right on the bay and in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge.
She loved the members and almost everything about her job. The summer weather didn’t sit well with her.
Lake Tahoe boasts warm, sunny weather June into September while the Bay Area is often packed in with morning fog and chilly temperatures.
“The job was great, I loved everything about it except I was sick of the cold summers,” Wood said. “Having to wear beanies and hand warmers during the summer, and it being a very busy and expensive city, it just didn’t fit.
“It was hard for me to leave my members, but they were all so supportive,” Wood added. “There’s not many opportunities to give back, but I feel like this is my chance to give back to a community that gave me so much.”
From a young age Wood knew she was destined to be a golf pro.
While attending Incline Middle School the local newspaper at the time snapped her photo and asked what she wanted to be when she grew up.
“A professional golfer” was her response.
Wood skied for fun in her youth and played basketball, softball and golf in high school.
She was the class president her junior and senior years. She was a member of the National Honors Society and met many community members which helped her earn local scholarships.
With help from the Incline community she attended San Diego State, where she earned a place on the golf team and eventually became a captain while earning her degree in kinesiology with an emphasis on athletic development and sports psychology.
Wood started in the PGA program as an assistant golf professional at Pro Kids — The First Tee of San Diego, and eventually became a certified The First Tee coach. She worked at The First Tee for six years as lead girls golf instructor and helped develop their curriculum, which incorporated more athletic development components, while teaching life skills through the game of golf, something she says is her career goal.
While working toward her PGA pro certification, Wood served as an assistant coach at SDSU in 2015, helping lead the team to the Mountain West Conference championship title for the first time in school history.
Additionally, Wood works with several high-profile junior players, including Hannah Kim, who plays professionally and who Wood caddied for on the Symetra Tour.
After living in big cities for the past 14 years she is back running a facility where she has many memories and where she said her game improved during her junior and senior years when the championship course was under renovation, and all the school’s matches were up the hill.
“That turned out to be such a blessing and that really helped me dial in my game,” Wood said. “Everybody thinks since it’s an executive course it’s easy, but it’s not. It’s inviting, but challenging.”
She also remembers playing in her first junior tournament at the Mountain Course. It was a four-hole event and Wood walked over to the 10th tee, an uphill shot with an elevated green, and felt about 1 foot tall standing next to some older players, who wondered why she was even there.
“I walked up to the tee and the players were all looking at me funny,” Wood said. “Turns out I was supposed to be teeing off at No. 6.”
She also recalls playing in a bunch of parent/junior tournaments there with her dad and also a few rounds with her brother.
Wood hopes to develop a welcoming environment at the Mountain Course and create a staff that holds to IVGID standards or catering to locals as well as tourists.
She wants to share her love of the game and have people coming back.
“My background and kind of career goal,” she said, “is to get people to live happy and healthy lifestyle through golf.”