Former American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA) president Gerald (Jerry) Matthews, ASGCA Fellow, died on Sept. 15, in Mackinac Island, Mich., at 88. Matthews served as ASGCA President from 1993-94. He became an ASGCA member in 1970 and earned Fellow status in 2005.
Part of multiple generations of Matthews who have positively impacted golf in Michigan – including his father, Bruce, and nephew, W. Bruce – Jerry designed or renovated more than 200 courses. He began in the golf industry at age 12, working for his father on the maintenance crew at Green Ridge Country Club in Wickliffe, Ohio.
At Michigan State University (MSU), Jerry earned his bachelor’s in landscape architecture and urban planning. He then teamed with his father in 1960 to form the golf course architecture firm, W. Bruce Matthews & Son. In 1979, he took over as president of Matthews & Associates.
Building upon the history and tradition set forth by his father, Matthews gained recognition for such Michigan courses as The Lakes Course at Michaywe, Gaylord, Timber Ridge Golf Course, East Lansing, St. Ives Golf Club, Stanwood, Timberstone Golf Course, Iron Mountain and Bucks Run Golf Club, Mt. Pleasant.
As his architecture career wound down, Matthews returned to the classroom as an instructor, teaching “Golf Course Design and Construction Techniques” in the turfgrass program at MSU.
“The Matthews family is known as the ‘Johnny Appleseed’ of golf in Michigan, bringing the game and golf course architecture to so many people across the state,” Jason Straka, president of the ASGCA, said. “Jerry’s legacy of course design and the impact of his service to ASGCA will carry on, and his commitment to teaching the next generation of golf industry professionals showed the value he placed on ‘paying it forward.’”