Featured photo: Tracey and John Zimmers. Photo credit: Lawrence Aylward
When asked if they are best friends, John and Tracey Zimmers don’t have to think long before responding. Their answers, uttered nearly simultaneously, are “yes” and “yes.”
It has always been that way, even after 25 years of marriage. And they are best friends not because they have to be, but because they want to be. There is a difference.
“John is my go-to person for everything,” Tracey says.
Their relationship expands 30 years and dates back to Tyrone High School in Tyrone, Pennsylvania, a small town in the state’s central region. Tracey was a senior and John a sophomore when they began dating.
“She used to pick me for dates,” John says. “In fact, she drove to the prom.”
For the past 20 years, Tracey has also been John’s co-worker. She has been the office manager in the golf course maintenance facility at Oakmont Country Club, where John has been the golf course superintendent for the last 17 years. She was also the maintenance facility office manager at Sand Ridge Golf Club in Munson Township, Ohio, when John was the superintendent there for three years.
Having worked with John for so long, Tracey understands what he is going through as a superintendent, especially at a place like Oakmont, which is known for its demanding membership. Tracey gets why John must work 100-hour weeks. She understands the pressures he endures.
John doesn’t take any of it for granted. “She has helped me manage the flow,” he says.
Several years ago, the couple decided not to have children, considering the demands of Zimmers’ profession. John felt he couldn’t be the father he wanted to be by working so many hours, and he didn’t want Tracey to essentially raise the children on her own.
“We don’t have any regrets,” they both say.
Tracey often accompanies John to the Golf Industry Show and other events, where she seems to know just as many superintendents as John does. Many of them worked as John’s assistants as Oakmont.
“If you know Tracey, she is the life of everything,” John says.