Jerry Matthews, a past president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects, concentrated his golf course design efforts in Michigan starting in partnership with his fellow Hall of Fame member father, W. Bruce Matthews. Jerry started his own company in 1985, a few years after his father retired. Together they counted 47 courses where they worked together on the design.
In 2005 when he went into the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame, Jerry counted 90 course designs in 42 of Michigan’s 83 counties. Among the award-winning courses were Birchwood Farms in Harbor Springs, Elk Ridge in Atlanta, St. Ives at Tullymore Golf Resort, Timber Ridge in East Lansing, Hawk Hollow in East Lansing and Sundance at A-Ga-Ming in Kewadin.
Detroit News golf writer and fellow Hall of Fame member Jack Berry aptly described Matthews as the “Johnny Appleseed” of Michigan golf.
Jerry also taught golf course design and construction at Michigan State University, and several of his former staff architects, like Raymond Hearn and Paul Albanese, have gone on to award-winning solo careers.
Jerry started in golf at age 12 in 1946 working on a golf course maintenance team for his father, who at that time was designing courses and serving as the superintendent at Green Ridge Country Club in Comstock Park. The Green Ridge property was later sold for development and the club members built a new facility at what is now known as Egypt Valley Country Club in Ada Township.
Jerry was born in Grand Rapids in 1934 and the family lived for several years adjacent to Grand Haven Golf Club, an award-winning Matthews duo design once considered one of the top public courses in America. That course is now the site of the Jack Nicklaus redesign American Dunes Golf Club, home of the Folds of Honor Foundation.
Jerry was a proud Michigan State graduate with multiple degrees in landscape architecture and urban planning. He also served in the U.S. Army.
His handprint is on courses everywhere across Michigan: The Natural at Beaver Creek in Gaylord, St. Ives Golf Club at Tullymore Resort in Stanwood, Timberstone Golf Course in Iron Mountain; Bucks Run Golf Club in Mount Peasant and so many more. He passed away in 2022 at the age of 88.