IF you didn’t know that her office was hidden upstairs in a corner, you wouldn’t be able to find Joan Turek-Burford.
That’s OK. She’ll find you.
Turek-Burford is in her 24th year at Gulph
Mills as the office manager and individual
in charge of member billing. Her infectious
personality and professionalism leave an
impression on everyone she meets.
“I’ll tell you, I am still a little choked up,” said
Turek-Burford about being nominated by her
co- workers as an Unsung Hero. “When I saw
it, I printed out two copies and put one on the
finance manager’s desk and the clubhouse
manager’s desk because I couldn’t believe
it. They told me Tom Gilbert, the head golf
professional at Gulph Mills, recommended me
and I was very humbled by this. I didn’t think I
deserved it but everyone I work with told me I
should accept the honor.”
Turek-Burford got her start in the golf
business in 1980 as a waitress at Aronimink
Golf Club. She stayed there until 1990 and then
served as the Dining Room Manager at St.
Davids Golf Club from 1990-95.
She has been in her role at Gulph Mills ever
The golf business has been in her family,
too. Her husband, Peter, was the General
Manager at Merion Golf Club for approximately
“I think Joan is unique,” said Gilbert, 43, of
Bryn Mawr, Pa. “She will hand out the favor
at the AJ Drexel Paul Cup each year and she
gives all of the players a hug. She is incredibly
professional. That says a lot for someone
whose office is hidden upstairs in a corner.
She’s the one who talks to you about your bill
“Gulph Mills is home to me,” said Turek-Bur-
and gives you your initiation fee bill. Those
things wouldn’t set you up for a good relation-
ship with the members, but she has a great
relationship with them. She is what a club
employee should be.”
Turek-Burford seeks out the members in a
positive way and wants to interact with them
as much as possible. She said she likes to
deliver the mail to the pro shop and take a
look around and see which members are at
ford, 61, of Havertown, Pa. “The members are
so kind and nice. I feel so comfortable here. I
have the best of two worlds. I have a greatest
job and a wonderful home life. What more
could you ask for?” – Dalton Balthaser
The Golf Association of Philadel- phia Magazine needs a hero. But we’re not holding out for a hero until the end of the night.
Instead, we flipped on the bat sig-
nal immediately. And by bat we mean an imag-
inative, golf-related symbol that somehow
suggested “unsung heroes needed to salvage
our creative concept.”
That beacon of light illuminated the @GAofPhilly
skyline and spurred action. A handful of Member
Clubs swooped to the rescue, swarming our sug-
gestion box like singers seeking a stage.
Let their song be sung through these pages.
An unsung hero is, by definition, any person not
honored or celebrated for his or her courage,
nobility or valor. These individuals exist in all
walks of life. They even meander throughout our
courses and clubhouses – enhancing our days,
evading the limelight. Not anymore.
What lies ahead merely scratches the behind-the-scenes surface. A cape-less crusader can
be the longtime valet who sets a joyful tone. The
bartender who unequivocally quenches your palate without fail. The outside services attendant
who readies your clubs and revisits hours later
when the round is complete, unfazed enthusiasm
intact. The halfway house server who accentuates a Gatorade transaction with lighthearted
Grounds departments disperse legions of
lowkey, loyal laborers who manicure and main-
tain the turf our toes touch. They’re like the Batman
of the unsung hero collective. Saving the day,
scattering before a public sighting. “The course
is in great shape,” comments cease to exist
without their passion for purification.
Unsung heroes grace the Golf Association of
Philadelphia family. Strong, sure and larger
Got to be, right?
JOAN TUREK-BURFORD GULPH MILLS GOLF CLUB