Interview with Jerred Golden: Nov. 2011

PAGCS Member Jerred Golden, CGCS, to be Honored by PTC
[from 2011 “Bonnie” newsletter, as interviewed by KL]

On November 15, at the Penn State Golf Turf Conference, Jerred Golden (Director of Grounds, Hershey’s Mill) will receive the Pennsylvania Turfgrass Council’s highest honor: The Dr. George Hamilton Distinguished Service Award. Jerred, a PAGCS past president [1992-1993], has a long and distinguished record of service to the turfgrass industry in Pennsylvania.

A Brief History
Jerred began his career shortly after graduating from Penn State’s Two-Year Certificate Program in Golf Course Management in 1976. After serving briefly as Assistant Golf Course Superintendent at the Country Club of Northampton County, he accepted his current position as Director of Grounds at Hershey’s Mill Golf Club.

Jerred and the PAGCS
Jerred joined the Board of Directors for the Association [1985]. Looking back, Jerred recalls: “In the eighties, things were run more like an old boys club. It was not uncommon for there still to be members at a monthly meeting after midnight.” By the time he became president, “There was a real change going on in the association and the industry at the time,” he attests.

Beyond the PAGCS
Through leadership roles not only with the PAGCS but also the Penn State Agricultural Council (President, 1998-2000), and the Pennsylvania Turfgrass Council (President, 2003-2004), Jerred has helped advance the science of turf management, and promote professionalism in the industry.

A truly significant contribution, Jerred initiated and developed the Pennsylvania Turfgrass Research Trust. Through his dedication and fundraising efforts with this organization, he and other board members raised over $300,000 for an endowment to fund graduate and undergraduate research in turfgrass science at Penn State.

About the Dr. George Hamilton Distinguished Service Award
This award is presented to individuals who have exhibited outstanding service to Pennsylvania’s turfgrass industry, and is considered the Council’s highest individual honor. In 2004, the Pennsylvania Turfgrass Council announced that the Distinguished Service Award would be renamed to memorialize Dr. George W. Hamilton, Jr., a professor in turfgrass management at Penn State, who died after a courageous battle with cancer. Jerred exemplifies the spirit of this award and Dr. Hamilton’s passion for advancing the industry.

Q&A with Jerred Golden, CGCS


K: You were president in ‘92-‘93. Anything you remember the most about that time in the Association? How long were you on the Board previous to that term and in what other capacities/roles/committees [any favorites]?

J: Hard to believe that it has been almost twenty years since I was president! Some of the most remarkable things that happened, we can’t put in print. There was a real change going on in the Association and the industry at the time.

In the ‘80s, things were run more like an old boys club. It was not uncommon for there still to be members at a monthly meeting after midnight. When I was vice president, Bob Jackson was president. About half the time he would call me up at the last minute and tell me he wasn’t going to make the meeting. We would have to scramble to figure out what had to be done. This was before we had someone great like you to help out.

We hired Todd Struss’s wife during this period to give us a hand. Then she was followed by Pat Ault. We also started the Eb Steiniger Award during this time as well.

I joined the Association in 1981 when I got my finale reading at Whitford CC. I can remember it like it was yesterday. I joined the board in 1985. I was on various committees but somehow I managed to avoid being the editor of The Bonnie. That was the hardest job in the Association. As I recall, it was Bob Jackson’s wife who we got to help with that job.

K: What is the most similar today about the industry as when you first became a super? What is the most different?

J: As for the things that are the same as back then, it is still that great feeling you get catching up with your friends at a meeting or outing. We work in a magical industry where you can pick up the phone and call a colleague and ask the secret of his success and he will not only tell you he will have you over for a day and show you. Truly remarkable.

As for the things that are different, almost everything else. The demands on the modern day superintendent are crushing. We have so many more tools and technologies at our disposal these days, but pace of change is so much faster … staying current with those advancements can be daunting.

K: What do you see as the major concerns for the industry at this time?

J: The challenge for the Association going forward is keeping the camaraderie and the sense of community. The demands on [members] are greater than ever, and they can’t find the time to get away for the whole day to attend a meeting. The modern super can rely on their online community to keep them up to date with the latest trends, but it’s not the same. Maybe in the future we can offer other forums for guys to get together without an all-day time commitment. Lunches , happy hours, shop tour, etc.

K: You were instrumental in the 75th Anniversary video. How did that come about? Any comments, additional information you want to share about that?

J: The 75th was one of the highlights of the Association. There were a number of us on the committee, but the bulk of the credit goes to Don Brown. In the end, it was his vision and drive that made that year so special. The night at Whitemarsh [Whitemarsh Valley Country Club] had to be my favorite memory. I guess there is still time for more memories: the 100th anniversary will be here before you know it.