Scott Watson, who has been pursuing a turfgrass management degree at Rutgers University while working at the North Carolina club, earned the top prize of $6,000 from the program, which awards a total of $30,000 to turfgrass management students.
Scott Watson, a 43-year-old who has been pursuing a turfgrass management degree at Rutgers University while working as an assistant superintendent at Linville (N.C.) Golf Club, has earned the top prize of $6,000 among 16 awards in the 2015 Scholars Competition offered through the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA).
The $30,000 program is primarily funded by the Robert Trent Jones Endowment and administered by the Environmental Institute for Golf, GCSAA’s philanthropic organization. It was developed to recognize outstanding students planning careers in golf course management.
“My wife and I both broke down in tears when we learned of winning the scholarship,” said Watson. “I never expected it. This will take some of the pressure off of wondering how we are going to make ends meet. I had kids when I was young and had to start working. I never had the chance to think about college until now.”
Watson started working at Linville GC when he was 19 and advanced to second assistant superintendent in 2006, but then decided to pursue a college degree to better position himself for a head superintendent’s job. Rutgers’ highly acclaimed program fits his schedule, because it is offered in the winter months when Linville’s golf course is closed. Watson is scheduled to graduate from Rutgers in June 2016.
Watson’s son Chase, 24, has been an additional inspiration to his father, earning a turfgrass science degree from North Carolina State University and now working as assistant superintendent at Diamond Creek Club in Banner Elk, N.C.
Watson’s youngest son, Chance, is on the golf team at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C.
The top award that was earned by Watson is named for the late Chet Mendenhall, who was a charter member of GCSAA, a past president (1948) and recipient of the association’s Distinguished Service Award (1986).
Carlota Sanchez de Ocana Huidobro of Spain, who is attending Michigan State University, received the second place award of $5,000.
Sanchez de Ocana Huidobro received the MacCurrach Award, named in honor of the late Allan MacCurrach, who became the PGA Tour’s first staff agronomist in 1974 and was the GCSAA Distinguished Service Award winner in 1997. The PGA Tour funds this award.
As top winners in the Scholars Competition, Watson and Sanchez de Ocana Huidobro will receive all-expenses-paid trips to the 2016 Golf Industry Show, which will be held from February 8-11 in San Diego.
Fourteen others received these awards through the 2015 Scholars Competition:
Kevin Heimann, Brunswick, Ohio, Pennsylvania State University, $2,500
Robert Sicinski, Allentown, Pa., Pennsylvania State University, $2,500
Cory Bostdorf, Halifax, Pa., Pennsylvania State University, $2,500
Landon White, North Logan, Utah, Rutgers University, $2,000
Hutson Carter II, Lake City, Fla., Florida Gateway College, $2,000
Michael Kennings, Fenton, Mich., Michigan State University, $2,000
Nicholas Connolly, Minneapolis, Minn., Pennsylvania State University, $1,000
Ian Patrican, Hyattsville, Md., University of Maryland, $1,000
Evan Stoddard, Schoolcraft, Mich., Michigan State University, $1,000
Scott Hebert, Lutherville, Md., University of Maryland, $500
Jordan Carbone, Erin, Ontario, Canada, Georgian College, $500
Ryan Bearss, Okemos, Mich., Michigan State University, $500
Ryan Wilkinson, House Springs, Mo., Pennsylvania State University, $500
Michael Bornstein, Stamford, Conn., Pennsylvania State University, $500
Winners were selected by the GCSAA Scholars Competition Task Group. Criteria included academic achievement, potential to become a leading industry professional, employment history, extracurricular activities and recommendations from a current academic advisor and a superintendent with whom the student has worked.
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.
For more information on the Scholars Competition program, visit the education section of www.gcsaa.org.