PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. –- Golf Digest Chairman/Editor-in-Chief Jerry Tarde, whose passion as a youth to make his niche at the world's leading golf publication evolved into a career of advancing the public's appreciation of the game, has been named the recipient of the 2011 PGA Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism.
Tarde, 54, a native of Philadelphia and a resident of Fairfield, Conn., will be honored April 6, at the 39th Golf Writers Association of America Annual Spring Dinner and Awards ceremony at Savannah Rapids Pavilion in Augusta, Ga. Tarde is the first editor of a publication to receive the award, which since 1991 has honored journalists in print and broadcasting.
"Jerry Tarde's love of golf is reflected in the quality of his work behind the scenes to present his staff and a special golf publication at the highest level," said PGA of America President Allen Wronowski. "We are long overdue to raise a toast to editors, those individuals who have toiled for generations to make writers look that much better. For Jerry's lifetime passion for the game, his care in preserving its traditions and for helping us all realize how golf can better serve the next generation of players, we are very proud to present him this award."
Introduced to golf at age 13 at Juniata Municipal Golf Course in Philadelphia, Tarde worked in the golf shop and later became a PGA apprentice professional under then-head professional Joe Hunsberger. He counts his greatest golf accomplishment in 1986, when he teamed with former USGA Executive Director Frank Hannigan to win the Somerset Hills Country Club Member-Guest in Bernardsville, N.J.
"I was wearing shorts and tennis shoes, and using a Pelz Three-Ball putter," said Tarde.
Tarde, who became editor of Golf Digest in 1984, is the 22nd overall recipient of the PGA Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism and the fifth affiliated with the magazine to be so honored.
"This is an unexpected and undeserved honor," said Tarde. "The previous winners were writers, plus several were TV legends. I'm not either. I'm just an editor, one of the guys back in the office who screws up good copy and sticks headlines on stories that writers have to apologize for. Occasionally we get it right. So, I'm accepting the award for all the green eyeshades who love golf and try to get it right.
"Like a lot of golf writers, I'm proud of working in journalism for so many years and still keeping as friends the people we've published some very tough stories about. There's a civility about golf that's old-fashioned, but worth keeping around."
Tarde's career path was paved in 1972, when he finished reading a U.S. Open piece by former award recipient Dan Jenkins that appeared in Sports Illustrated. "I decided at age 16 that I wanted to be the editor of Golf Digest," said Tarde, who was a Golf Digest intern prior to his 1978 graduation from Northwestern University.
He became an assistant editor soon after, and was promoted to magazine editor in 1984 at age 28. "Looking back, it was a silly stroke of luck. I was surrounded by very talented people like Jenkins and Nick Seitz, Peter Dobereiner and Charley Price, so I couldn't go too wrong. I've been fortunate to work for two great owners: The New York Times Company and Conde Nast."
Today, Golf Digest has a circulation of 1.65 million readers, and international affiliates total 30 editions. Tarde's title expanded in recent years to chairman and editorial director of Golf Digest Publications, which also include Golf World and Golf Digest Index.
Among Tarde's signature achievements with Golf Digest was the recruitment of some of the most talented journalists in the country as contributing editors, including Thomas L. Friedman, David Owen, Dan Jenkins, Tom Callahan, Jaime Diaz and John Feinstein. He also signed exclusive contracts to many of golf's premier players – Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Annika Sorenstam and Lorena Ochoa.
Tarde and Golf Digest's team of writers he assembled have won more than 200 awards from the Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA) and have earned six nominations for National Magazine Awards. Golf Digest won the 1991 Silver Gavel Award from the American Bar Association for a series Tarde edited about discrimination at private golf clubs. That series also led Tarde to become one of the founders of the National Minority Golf Symposium. He also is a trustee of The First Tee program and a long-time member of the USGA's Bob Jones Award Committee.
PGA Lifetime Achievement in Award in Journalism Recipients:
1991 Dick Taylor
1992 Herbert Warren Wind
1993 Jim Murray
1994 Frank Chirkinian/Bob Green
1995 Dan Jenkins
1996 Furman Bisher
1997 Jack Whitaker
1998 Dave Anderson
1999 Ken Venturi
2000 Jim McKay
2001 Kaye Kessler
2002 Nick Seitz
2003 Renton Laidlaw
2004 Bob Verdi
2005 Al Barkow
2006 Ron Green Sr.
2007 Jack Berry
2008 Marino Parascenzo
2009 Art Spander
2010 Dave Kindred
2011 Jerry Tarde