End of an Era

After more than 30 years with a Colorado-based golf show, Jerry Walters turns off the mic for ‘In the Fairway’

By Gary Baines – 5/2/2024

It takes a moment or two collecting his thoughts — and maybe a little prompting from others — but Jerry Walters can list off all his former co-hosts and a complete list of outlets for his weekly golf show and podcast over the years.

And it’s no small task recalling all that, considering Walters has been hosting a golf-related show for more than three decades. Or, at this point, the past tense is more appropriate — as in “hosted”.

A fixture in the Colorado golf community since 1993, Walters recently decided to retire his Colorado-based golf show — long known as “In the Fairway” — ending a 31-year run. He shared the news with some of those close to him in late April.

Appropriately, Walters and In the Fairway went out on a high note, with his last podcast — which dropped on April 19 — featuring a long interview with Steamboat Springs resident Verne Lundquist, who on April 14 concluded a 40-year TV broadcast run at the Masters.

“It might have been the best interview I’ve ever done,” Walters said in a recent interview with “It was fantastic. I’d never spoken to Verne before. He was just as easy and open to talk to, and we had just a great time chatting, talking about 40 years at the Masters, and what he’s seen, his time with Tiger (Woods) and Jack (Nicklaus). It was a phenomenal interview. Ending it there seemed to make sense, I guess.”

Wrapping up the show makes sense from a practical point of view for Walters, who in 2021 was presented a Distinguished Service Award from the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame. But that hasn’t made it easy.

“I’m not going to lie: I had a meltdown” the night he sent out a text about giving up the show, Walters said. “I’m kind of an emotional guy. To say goodbye to all of it, just that quickly … I’d been thinking about it since I put (his podcasting equipment) up for sale. It’s difficult to say goodbye to something that’s been a big part of my life. I hate to say that it defines me, but it kind of defines me. To be recognized by the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame, that doesn’t just happen unless you’ve done something to get that. I hate to say goodbye to everybody, but who knows? Something else may turn up. Maybe CBS will call me.”

Walters received a Distinguished Service Award from the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame in 2021.

So why is Walters calling it a day for “In the Fairway” after all these years? (For the record, when he first started doing the show, it wasn’t called that, but before long Walters and “In the Fairway” became somewhat synonymous regarding that side of his life.)

Well, after airing on the radio for many years — there was also a stint on TV — then briefly on Facebook Live during the pandemic, then back on radio, then as a podcast for almost the last two years, it came to the point that the effort to produce the show outweighed the benefits for Walters.

“It’s just starting to grind on me a little bit,” he said. “I did — more or less — 25 years of radio/TV and now a couple of years of this, and chasing guests and doing research and all of that is just starting to get into some of my free time. I just don’t want to do so much anymore. I’m getting old and lazy, I guess.  

“It was taking me 3-4 hours a week to put together a one-hour podcast, doing research, trying to find salient questions. It just seemed like too much time spent for very little return. I’ve often said to people, ‘You could get your own radio show today if you wanted. The key is getting paid for it.’ You could get your own podcast today, but you’ve got to buy all the equipment and you’ve got to hire a producer to put it all together. You’ve got to pay to have it uploaded. Now, all of a sudden, there’s even less return. If you don’t have enough clicks or downloads, you can’t sell any advertising. … Consequently, we were doing all this to hear ourselves talk. We’re paying money to hear ourselves talk. That just doesn’t seem to make sense to me.”

Also, “It’s hard to get a following because there are so many podcasts. You can’t get paid because you don’t have enough downloads because there are so many podcasts out there. And, you’ve got to do this every week — and it’s got to be timely too. It got to be too much.”

Walters started doing a golf show in 1993 on a small AM station (1550 on the dial, as they used to say). He then worked alongside Stan Fenn — a Colorado PGA professional who many years later co-hosted “Morning Cup of Golf” on Colorado radio — when the show was called “Chip Shots”. In the Fairway’s biggest reach likely came during its years on KOA radio, where Walters’ co-host, depending on the time period, were John Lawrence and Aaron Kellough, the longtime CGA staffer who’s now the association’s director of creative services. Among In the Fairway’s other radio homes was 104.3 The Fan.

Other hosts with Walters have included former International media director and Denver Post sports columnist Buddy Martin (on TV), the late “Cousin Ray” Best, Mike Castorino and the most recent, Chris Negri.

Whoever Walters has been paired with, he’s had one overriding goal for the show,

“I’ve always felt like what I did was I tried to entertain people — whether it be on the radio, on the podcast, whatever,” he said. “You tune in because it’s entertaining to you.”

Ed Mate, executive director of the CGA, long had a rules-related segment on In the Fairway.

“Working with Jerry is fun because he has got a wonderful sense of humor,” Mate said in a video for Walters’ Colorado Golf Hall of Fame honor. “He doesn’t take himself seriously. He absolutely loves the game of golf. He really has a perspective on the game that’s unique. He asks really good questions. He really makes it look easy — and it’s not easy. Lining up guests, knowing what to ask, taking advantage and letting the interview play out, it’s fun to be a part of that. He really is good at his job.”

Walters, a former YES! Golf representative on the PGA Tour and current putting and short-game instructor for the Trent Wearner Golf Academy, has conducted countless interviews over the years for his golf shows — some with famous guests, many with less-known subjects, such as PGA Tour caddies. Some of his past interviewees are Arnold Palmer, Annika Sorenstam and Nicklaus.

Among his personal most memorable interviews — in addition to the aforementioned Lundquist — was one just after the 2008 Ryder Cup matches, with U.S. captain Paul Azinger.

“Paul Azinger was a friend of mine,” Walters noted. “When he captained the 2008 Ryder Cup team, he told me, ‘I will only come on your show if we win’. I said, ‘OK. I’m going to hold you to this.’ He came on, and we did two 20-minute segments with him — right after the Ryder Cup. I’ve talked with Arnie and Jack and Annika. All those luminaries, I’ve had them on. Those are the standouts.”

During his radio days, Walters’ shows typically ran for two hours on weekends. Since he started the podcast in September 2022, each one normally runs an hour to 1:20 in length.

Just because Walters has stopped doing In the Fairway — he’s even sold his podcast equipment — doesn’t mean that he won’t remain a significant member of the Colorado golf community. He’ll remain a Colorado resident — at least during the warm-weather months, as he lives in Surprise, Ariz., with his wife during the winter nowadays — and will continue conducting putting/short game lessons and clinics for the Trent Wearner Golf Academy. And, after coaching the Denver South High School boys golf team for the first time last fall, he’ll remain in that role. Walters also does some writing for Divot magazine.

In Colorado, the soon-to-be 75-year-old resides with his wife in Centennial. 

“I’ve got a grandson here; I’m not leaving,” he said.

All in all, Walters has maintained a fairly busy golf-related schedule, though that will ease somewhat with the end of In the Fairway.

And, as Walters noted, “I’ve got a knee replacement coming up that is going to slow me down.”

Maybe so, but don’t be surprised to possibly continue to see and hear Walters “in the fairway” — just not the one to which we’ve been accustomed.

In any case, as Walters noted in his farewell text, “It’s been a blast!”

About the Writer: Gary Baines has covered golf in Colorado continuously since 1983. He was a sports writer at the Daily Camera newspaper in Boulder, then the sports editor there, and has written regularly for since 2009. The University of Colorado Evans Scholar alum was inducted into the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame in 2022. He owns and operates