Jim graduated from college with a teaching degree. His foray into golf course design and construction started in the early 1980's working for Pete Dye during summer breaks from high school teaching. Part time work turned into full time work.
Urbina left Dye in 1992 to join a the then unknown golf architect,Tom Doak. They worked together very successfully for more than 17 years.
In 2010, Jim Urbina was named the 2010 golf course architect of the year by Golf.com and PlanetGolf.com, no doubt for his co-design with Tom Doak of the Old Macdonald course at Bandon Dunes, their second masterpiece at the Bandon Dunes Resort in Oregon,
The partnership ended following the completion of Old Macdonald. Jim sent up his own design company following the break up, which may have not been by choice.