Jack Perry, the legendary Michigan golf author, had a nickname for well-known engineer Jerry Matthews.
He was nicknamed “Johnny Appleseed” in our state. In any case, Matthews unfold the seeds of golf course design all through the higher and decrease peninsulas, and constructed programs in additional than half of Michigan’s 83 counties, particularly throughout the golf growth of the Nineteen Nineties.
Matthews, who has designed or renovated greater than 200 programs and opened at the very least 90 programs in Michigan, died Thursday shortly after being honored for his lifetime working within the business throughout a celebration on the Grand Resort on Mackinac Island.
Michigan Golf Dwell’s Invoice Hobson posted the information of Matthews’ demise on social media. Matthews was 88 years previous.
In saying Matthews’ demise, Hobson wrote, “Should you performed golf in Michigan, you’d most likely have performed one of many fantastic programs designed by this distinguished, humble, and fantastic man.”
“Thanks, Matthews household, for sharing Jerry with us for therefore lengthy.”
Born in Grand Rapids in 1934, Matthews, the son of golf course engineer Bruce Matthews, bought his first style of golf on the age of 12 when he labored at his father’s Inexperienced Ridge Nation Membership, which was bought out within the Eighties. It grew to become what’s now the Valley of Egypt.
Jerry Matthews attended Michigan State, incomes a bachelor’s diploma in panorama structure, earlier than becoming a member of his father’s design enterprise in 1959.
Bruce Matthews retired in 1979, and Jerry took over Lansing.
Within the Nineteen Nineties, amid the golf growth when programs have been opening up just about all over the place throughout the nation at a frenetic tempo — reaching their peak within the late decade, after the rise of Tiger Woods — Michigan pioneered, Jerry Matthews was on the entrance and heart of all of it. .
“I like Michigan and I used to be actually fortunate to accompany my dad at that time in historical past,” Jerry Matthews as soon as instructed NBC. “There was loads of work and I used to be studying loads.”
On why he hardly ever ventures exterior Michigan, he as soon as mentioned, “I knew I would slightly be right here than spend loads of time in airports or on planes.”
In 1991, Michigan opened eight new programs, and Matthews designed 5 of them, in keeping with NBC. From 1995-1997, he opened 17 golf programs.
Amongst Matthews’ jewels, Timberstone in Iron Mountain, The Majestic at Lake Walden, Buck’s Run in Mount Nice and Hawk Hole in Bathtub. He designed St.Ives in Tullymore and Sundance at A-Ga-Ming.
Matthews was inducted into the Michigan Golf Corridor of Fame in 2005, and was a previous president of the American Society of Golf Engineers. Matthews, who additionally earned a grasp’s diploma in city planning from Michigan, was a mentor to many within the discipline of golf course design, together with Ray Hearn.
Hearn, who spent 10 years working for Matthews earlier than branching out into his personal firm, remembers fondly that Matthews took his workers to his firm: a sunrise-side cottage on the stateside for weekends fly fishing and energetic golf design conversations. “Jerry was what I’d name a naturalist. Jerry cherished to honor the Earth.”
Matthews’ demise is the newest among the many prime golf course design corporations. Pete Day died in 2000; Arthur Hills, who additionally made his mark in Michigan, handed away in 2021; and Tom Weskov, lead hero-turned-designer, in August.
Matthews died on the lodge the place he and his spouse, Carol, have been married. Carol was on a visit this week with him, as was fellow course designer Paul Albanese. The plan for Friday’s golf outing was for Albanese to shoot on the twelfth gap, whereas Matthews sat there in a rocking chair. The rocking chair can be there, albeit empty, after Matthews died 90 minutes after his tribute Thursday evening.
By the way in which, Matthews, he nonetheless has a number of programs within the works – in Michigan after all.
“He nonetheless has tasks,” Hobson instructed the Information Friday morning. “Carry plans with him.”
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