(Source: Golf Course Superintendents Association of America)

The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) has awarded scholarships to 12 college students as part of the GCSAA Scholars Program administered by GCSAA’s philanthropic organization, The Environmental Institute for Golf.

enviro-institute-for-golfSean Elverd is the first place winner in the competition. He receives a $6,000 scholarship and is honored as the Mendenhall Award Winner. Elverd, a senior from Chattanooga, Tenn., is a turfgrass science and management major at the University of Tennessee.

The second place winner, Thomas Ham, receives a $5,000 award and is designated as the recipient of the Allan MacCurrach Award. The MacCurrach Award is funded by the PGA Tour. Ham is from Jenison, Mich., and is in his final year of a golf course turfgrass management certificate at Michigan State University.

Both Elverd and Ham also will receive an all-expense-paid trip to the 2010 GCSAA Education Conference (Feb. 8-12) and Golf Industry Show (Feb. 10-11) in San Diego.

Niels Dokkuma, an international student at Penn State University, was awarded a $2,500 Ambassador Award. The following students were awarded stipends ranging from $2,500 to $500:

  • Joshua Lewis, Oregon State University, $2,500
  • Steven Hutzell, University of Maryland, $2,500
  • Scott Wasser, University of Arkansas, $2,000
  • Glen Obear, University of Wisconsin, $2,000
  • Diego Penapareja, Michigan State University, $1,500
  • Brian Ervin, Colorado State University, $1,500
  • Robert Pray, Michigan State University, $1,500
  • Manuel Gonzalez, Michigan State University, $500
  • Matt Carstens, Washington State University, $500

The GCSAA Scholars Program, funded by the Robert Trent Jones Endowment, was developed to recognize outstanding students planning careers in golf course management. Winners were selected to receive scholarship awards based on the final ranking in a competition judged by GCSAA’s Scholarship Committee. Factors considered were academic achievement, potential to become a leading professional, employment history, extracurricular activities, and recommendations from a superintendent with whom the student has worked and a current academic advisor.

Applicants must be enrolled in a recognized undergraduate program in a major field related to golf/turf management and be a GCSAA member. Undergraduate applicants must have successfully completed at least 24 credit hours or the equivalent of one year of full-time study in an appropriate major.

The Mendenhall Award is given in memory of the late Chet Mendenhall, a pioneer in the golf course management industry. A native of Kingman, Kan., Mendenhall’s upbringing on an Oklahoma farm served him well. His career in working with the land began in 1920 as an employee of the Wichita (Kan.) Parks and Forestry Department, where he designed and built his first course despite having no previous experience with the game.

In 1928, Mendenhall accepted an invitation to become superintendent at the Wichita Country Club. It was during his tenure there that Mendenhall assisted California-based golf course architect Billy Bell in designing and constructing a new course. Smitten by the process, Mendenhall entered night school to learn surveying, drafting, bookkeeping and other related subjects.

He moved in 1934 to the Kansas City, Mo., area, where he served as superintendent of the Mission Hills Country Club until his retirement in 1965. Mendenhall was a charter member of GCSAA and his service to his profession included serving as a director of GCSAA from 1940-1946, vice president in 1947 and president in 1948. He was honored by the association with its Distinguished Service Award in 1986, and by the USGA in 1990 with its Green Section Award. Mendenhall passed away in 1991 and was inducted into the Kansas Golf Hall of Fame in 1996.

Internationally recognized for his expertise in the turf management field, Allan MacCurrach began his career as a golf course superintendent at Valley Country Club in Warwick, R.I., in 1962. In 1972, he became the 45th person to receive the title of Certified Golf Course Superintendent from GCSAA. MacCurrach became the PGA Tour’s first agronomist in 1974 and played a leading role in establishing the standard of excellence for course conditioning at PGA Tour events. MacCurrach was named senior agronomist in 1988 and in 1994 received the GCSAA’s Distinguished Service Award. He passed away in 1997 at the age of 57.

GCSAA is a leading golf organization and has as its focus golf course management. Since 1926, GCSAA has been the top professional association for the men and women who manage golf courses in the United States and worldwide. From its headquarters in Lawrence, Kan., the association provides education, information and representation to more than 20,000 members in more than 72 countries. GCSAA’s mission is to serve its members, advance their profession and enhance the enjoyment, growth and vitality of the game of golf. Visit GCSAA at www.gcsaa.org.

The Environmental Institute for Golf is a collaborative effort of the environmental and golf communities, dedicated to strengthening the compatibility of golf with the natural environment. The Institute concentrates on delivering programs and services involving research, education and outreach that communicate the best management practices of environmental stewardship on the golf course. For more on The Institute, visit www.eifg.org.

For more information contact:
Mischia Wright, EIFG senior manager, development, at 785-832-4445