RIP: Jerry Matthews, Golf Architect

RIP: Jerry Matthews, Golf Architect

Noted golf architect Jerry Matthews has died. He was 88.

Matthews, a Michigan State graduate, was a fixture in Michigan golf, designing courses such as Bucks Run, St. Ives, Hawk Hollow, The Jewel at Grand Hotel, Timberstone (Iron Mountain), Timber Ridge, Cracklewood, Red Oaks, Greystone, Oak Pointe, Hilltop and The Woodlands

He was part of what is the first family of Michigan golf architecture. Along with his father, Bruce and his nephew, W. Bruce, he designed and renovated more than 200 courses.

A press release from the American Society of Golf Course Architects follows:

Jerry Matthews, ASGCA Fellow, Dies at 88

BROOKFIELD, Wis. – ASGCA Past President Gerald (Jerry) Matthews, ASGCA Fellow, died Sept. 15, 2022, in Mackinac Island, Michigan. He was age 88.

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.

At Michigan State University, Jerry earned bachelor’s degrees in Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning. He then teamed with his father in 1960 to form the golf course architecture firm of 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 Michigan State.

“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,” ASGCA President Jason Straka 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.’”

Matthews served as ASGCA President in 1993-94. He became an ASGCA member in 1970 and earned Fellow status in 2005. 

ASGCA Background

Founded in 1946 by Donald Ross, Robert Trent Jones and 12 other leading architects, the American Society of Golf Course Architects is a non-profit organization comprised of experienced golf course designers located throughout North America. Members have completed a rigorous application process that includes the peer review of representative golf courses. ASGCA members are able to counsel in all aspects of golf course design and remodeling and comprise many of the great talents throughout the golf industry.

For more information about ASGCA, including a current list of members, visit or call (262) 786-5960.

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