Harlingen Country Club golf superintendent makes sure course is up to par

PALM VALLEY — Lawn maintenance is no easy task.

Anyone who has ever tried to make grass look its greenest knows how difficult and time-consuming the job can be.

So imagine the amount of work involved in maintaining a lawn that covers 130 acres and is dotted with various lakes, sand bunkers, and an assortment of trees and shrubs.

For Jerry Wade, it’s all in a day’s work as golf course superintendent at Harlingen Country Club.

Wade, who began the job just this past March, is in charge of a seven-man crew whose job it is to make sure the private golf course always looks its best.

“It’s definitely a balancing act and it’s tough,” Wade said of his job. “But at the end of the day, our members expect their golf course to look perfect so it will play perfect, and they won’t settle for anything less. It’s my job to make sure they get what they want.”

A native of Mercedes, Wade graduated from Mercedes High School in 1974 and went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in agriculture and economics from Texas A&M University.

After college, Wade said he bounced around between jobs and even worked in the oil fields for about a year and a half before finally returning to the Valley where in 1983 he opened up a wholesale nursery business in Harlingen.

Unfortunately, the business fell on hard times around 2008 and Wade was forced to walk away from it shortly afterward.

“Fortunately, the job at Harlingen Country Club opened up and I decided to take on the challenge,” said Wade, who had been an HCC member for several years prior.

“It was a baptism by fire when I first started,” he said. “The course was in pretty bad shape when I came on board and it’s been a battle to improve things. However, I have an excellent staff and the members here have been very supportive, and we’ve come a long way in a very short time.”

As golf course superintendent, Wade said he has to wear many hats and credits his staff for helping him along the way.

“At times I have to act as an engineer to maintain the greens and then I have to be an equipment manager when it comes to taking care of the lawn equipment,” he said.

“There are also times I have to take on the role of an irrigation expert or lawn disease, fertilizer, pest control and tree expert. The work never ends, but the golf course is the main selling point for Harlingen Country Club so it’s got to be perfect. That’s what we aim for and we won’t settle for less.”