Golf Digest’s Jerry Tarde Receives NGF’s 2023 Graffis Award
Jerry Tarde, the highly-respected and influential editor-in-chief for Golf Digest, is the recipient of the National Golf Foundation’s 2023 Graffis Award for outstanding and long-time contributions to the game and business of golf.
Tarde was presented with the NGF’s highest honor at this year’s Golf Business Symposium in Frisco, Texas, where he was joined by his wife, Beth, and daughter, Lauren, in addition to more than 120 other leading industry executives at the new Omni PGA Frisco outside Dallas. The Graffis Award is named after the organization’s founders, Herb and Joe Graffis.
The Graffis Award is the latest in a long line of deserved recognitions for Tarde, who is the longest serving chief editor in media and previously received lifetime achievement awards from the PGA of America, Augusta National, the Metropolitan (N.Y.) Golf Association, and the Golf Writers Association of America. The GWAA was one of the many golf organizations established by Herb Graffis, a journalist and editor who was the first sportswriter elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1977.
“Jerry had a close relationship with Herb Graffis and has called him his first mentor in publishing,” said NGF Chief Executive Officer Joe Beditz. “Herb’s instincts were obviously stellar, as Jerry Tarde has been one of golf’s most prominent media figures now for over 40 years. Given their connection, this year’s award is especially meaningful.”
“When I first met Graffis in Chicago as a kid without a job, he took me under his wing and became my great encourager,” Tarde said during his acceptance speech. “Herb and his silent partner, brother Joe, founded the NGF, the GWAA, the Golf Course Superintendents Association, and the Club Managers Association. He was the original president of National Golf Day. Mostly, he was the No. 1 promoter of the golf business. So, if you love golf, it’s a pretty big honor to get anything with Graffis’ name on it.”
Tarde has spent his entire professional career at Golf Digest, having started at the publication in 1977 as an intern while at Northwestern University’s School of Journalism. He was named the magazine’s top editor at the age of 28 in 1984 and has founded many editorial initiatives over the past five decades, among them the Hot List equipment ratings, instructor and course rankings, and the Arnie Awards for golfers who give back.
Tarde attracted some of the game’s most noted writers to Golf Digest as contributors and signed many of the greatest golfers in history to exclusive content contracts: Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Annika Sorenstam included. During his tenure, Tarde and his editorial team have won more than 200 awards from the GWAA and earned 12 National Magazine Award nominations.
Past NGF award recipients include high profile golfers (Palmer, Nicklaus and Patty Berg); equipment company CEOs (Karsten Solheim, Ely Callaway); golf administrators (Judy Bell, Deane Beman); and golf educators/teachers (Peggy Kirk Bell, Bob Toski). In recent years, former PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem received the 2018 Graffis award, broadcaster and 26-time LPGA Tour winner Judy Rankin was the 2019 recipient, longtime First Tee CEO Joe Louis Barrow Jr. was honored in 2021, and the 2022 award went to longtime PGA Master Professional and Morton Golf CEO Ken Morton Sr.
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