On the Fairways and the Airways

Author: N

PGA Magazin, June 2013 – Volume 94, No. 6
Article by Sean Fairholm

Every Saturday morning, PGA Master Professional Jeff Waters puts on his radio headphones and projects his distinct voice to approximately 2 million people living in the western part of the country. Broadcast from just outside Salt Lake City, Utah, “Talking Golf With the Golf Guy” covers everything from local Utah PGA Section events to influential PGA Professionals and the four majors.

During his journey to becoming a radio host, Waters played competitive golf for 10 years and spent another decade as a PGA head professional, before moving on to an administrative role as the director of player development for Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation, where he spent three years. In addition to his current position as a PGA assistant professional working several days a week at Mick Riley Golf Course in Murray, Utah, the 67-year-old Waters has also spent the past 15 years as the president and CEO of Rocky Mountain Golf Enterprises – his own golf management company that provides businesses throughout the Rocky Mountain region with golf-related goods and services, including golf instruction, schools, travel, broadcasting, tournaments, promotions and philanthropy.

A political science graduate from the University of Utah, Waters has always found ways to indulge his loves of journalism and golf, while traveling to cover between 10 and 15 tournaments per year.

“My love for storytelling translates well over the air and gives me a believability that listeners seem to like,” says Waters. “So that has been my success in broadcasting – storytelling coupled with the credibility that my background, education and training give me.”

The origin of how Waters fell in love with radio can be traced back to his childhood, where he and his friends put together a radio show broadcast on a local station. Waters served as the sports anchor. Developing his deep and unmistakable voice, Waters eventually recorded some golf commercials and provided color commentary during Champions Tour events in Utah. What began as a five-minute preview on Friday and a five-minute recap on Sunday
transformed into a marketable radio show that has been on the air in several different formats for 25 years.

“Most golf professionals are very, very good at teaching the game of golf and playing the game of golf,” says Waters. “But they struggle with self-promotion and selling themselves. The radio gives me a marketing platform where I can talk about Jeff Waters the Golf Guy, my golf schools and highlight influential PGA Professionals.”

Waters recently had the opportunity to speak on air with PGA of America Secretary Paul Levy at the Utah PGA Section Annual Meeting, interviewing Levy at length about The PGA’s initiatives to maximize fun and excitement on the golf course.

Among other interesting guests Waters has interviewed, childhood hero Billy Casper is near
the top of the list. While covering last year’s U.S. Open at Olympic Club in San Francisco, Waters talked to the three-time major champion and Ryder Cup Captain about his new book, “The Big Three and Me,” and the famous seven-shot comeback victory Casper authored against Arnold Palmer in the 1966 U.S. Open.

“It was truly an honor to speak with him because he was one of my childhood heroes I looked up to,” says Waters. “I remember his back-nine 32 to win the Open that year; it was a great moment in golf history.”

Waters has also had the privilege of being in the right place at the right time for many famous moments in golf history, from being at the 12th green during the final round of the 1992 Masters for Fred Couples’ tee shot that somehow eluded Rae’s Creek, and watching John Daly win a Ben Hogan Tour event in Utah before many others knew the golfer’s name. Waters admits to having great luck and tremendous memories. Included on this lengthy list is being able to witness the final U.S. Open and Masters appearances for Palmer, as well as interviewing Payne Stewart one-on-one just a month before his passing in 1999.

“Golf has been very, very good to me,” says Waters. “I’ve always had a propensity for being there for a lot of great moments in golf history, and for that I am very grateful and humbled.”

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