Jerry Mahanke named Volunteer of the Year

By John Davis When Jerry Mahanke fills out a career resume, “Bozo” is at the top of the list, but he is no clown when it comes to Arizona Golf Association activities. Mahanke, who has done “just about everything,” but whose specialty is rating courses, over the past 12 years, was named the organization’s Doc Graves Volunteer of the Year for 2011. Before retiring, Mahanke was a developer of total life care retirement communities, including three in the Valley, but his first job was at a Denver TV station where he was one of the original Bozo the Clown characters. “No teleprompters or other devices like they have now,” Mahanke said. “It was 90 minutes of adlibbing in front of 60 kids, five days a week. Now that’s a challenge.” Carnation Milk created five Bozo shows in 1959 and when the company was sold, the new owners eliminated all but the Chicago Bozo, leaving Mahanke to find a new line of work. Since moving to Scottsdale from Kansas City, he has volunteered as a rules official and tournament organizer, served on the AGA board of directors and executive committee and as chairman of the member services committee, but rating courses is his expertise. He has represented the AGA twice at the annual USGA Course Rating Calibration Seminar and both times his team had the highest score in the country. “They already had plenty of officials when I offered to help out here, so they suggested course rating,” Mahanke said. “It sounded interesting so I gave it a try. Being a golfer of 50 years or so, I know that anything related to golf grows on you pretty quickly. “I think everyone enjoys being somewhat of an expert or theoretical expert at something, and I have enjoyed not only doing it, but passing along knowledge to other raters.” The USGA requires that courses be re-rated at least once every 10 years, but the AGA averages about seven years per course, which keeps Mahanke and other raters traveling around the state regularly.