With his 26-year-old daughter, Chirysse moving to Victoria, BC this spring, and his 22-year-old son, Luke heading to Alberta for a summer job at Banff Springs Golf Club, Jerry Anderson has had some time to look back at what was this past off-season.
“Time really does fly by in the blink of the eye,” says the 60-year-old Montreal native who has lived in Cambridge since 1994 with his wife Barbara. Anderson’s story as a golf professional is essentially a tale of two lives and as Charles Dickens once wrote “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us . . . .”
In January, Anderson was honoured and inducted into the PGA of Canada Hall of fame at a ceremony in Orlando, Florida attended by more than 300 people in the Canadian golf industry. To listen to him share his story of a life well played on and off the course is a joy for anyone who has a passion for the game of golf. Jerry shares the moments, even those that happened 30-plus years ago, with such detail and honesty, that it’s easy to understand why he has been recognized as one of the very best in the association.
“It was quite a night. To be recognized like this on a national scale, it’s a bit overwhelming,” says Anderson who has spent the past five golf seasons working in both the golf shop and most recently managing the back shop at Credit Valley G&CC in Mississauga. “To think that our association dates back more than 100 years and to the thousands of members who have been part of the traditions and the history of the game and to put me among the top-30 that have been inducted is quite a compliment. I really didn’t see it coming until I got the phone call.”
Anderson is a rare breed among professionals having first enjoyed a successful career as an international touring player and then settling down to business in various roles in Ontario. He was inducted in the Ontario Golf Hall of Fame in 2002.
He picked up the golfing bug as a summer caddy back in 1968 at Whitlock G&CC outside of Montreal and attended the University of Texas for 2.5 years before dropping out in favour of playing mini tour events. By 1978 Jerry had his Canadian Tour card, but a car accident on Highway 10 north of Toronto in the spring of 1978 wiped out that season and as he says, “My brother Rick and I are lucky to be alive today.”
A year later, Anderson won the 1979 Ontario Open, Manitoba Open and Saskatchewan Open on the Canadian Tour (the forerunner to The Mackenzie Tour / PGA Tour Canada). He would go on to spend much of the 1980’s traveling the world with his wife and playing golf on the European Tour including winning the 1984 Ebel European Masters Swiss Open, then the second biggest event on the European Tour behind only The Open Championship.
After finishing in the top-10 for three consecutive European Tour events Jerry fired rounds of 63-66-66-66 on the Golf-Club Crans-sur-Sierre at Crans-Montana in Valais Switzerland to beat Howard Clark by five strokes. His 27-under-par was a European Tour record that stood for 19 years until Ernie Els finally beat it with a 31-under par at the 2003 Mercedes Championship.
“That was certainly one of the best of times of my playing career. It was an incredible four-week run and to win in a field that featured all of the best players on tour at the time except for Seve, was inspiring,” says Anderson who also won the PGA of Canada Championship in 1987, won an event on what is now the Web.com Tour in 1991, represented Canada at the World Cup in 1983, 1987 and 1989 and played golf through Asia, Africa and South America.
Jerry spent two seasons on golf’s biggest stage, the PGA Tour in 1990 and 1992 but couldn’t get anything going. By the fall of 1994, it was the worst of times as his competitive playing days came to an abrupt end at the Ecuador Open. After 25 consecutive days of travelling through South America on his own, the life of world travel, airplanes and hotel rooms no longer seemed like the right play “I shot an opening round 77 and walked into the clubhouse and told the officials I wouldn’t be playing the second round and I hopped on an airplane and returned home the next day,” he says, as he turned the page on his playing days and prepared to start a new chapter closer to home with Barbara and their two young children.
Within a few weeks, Jerry saw a job posting through the PGA of Canada for a staff position at a Dynamic Golf store at Lime Ridge Mall in Hamilton and he got it. Anderson worked for Tommy Armour Golf in shipping and receiving and Tear Drop Golf as a fitter before landing a job at Cambridge Golf Club cutting grass and assisting PGA of Canada member Andy Byrne who helped get Anderson reinstated as a Class A member of the PGA of Canada in 2000. Anderson tried a stint as the Head Professional at Ingersoll G&CC for a couple of years, but it wasn’t a role he enjoyed, so he headed over to Credit Valley G&CC where he found his groove.
“I have seen the industry from almost every angle and it has been a great run,” says Anderson who plays hockey three times a week in the winter to keep loose. “I’m just waiting for spring to turn the corner and we’ll be back at it again.”