Brian Youell wins 2018 Leo Feser Award

Youell’s story of recovery from a traumatic brain injury has been selected as the best superintendent-written article published in GCM.


Brian Youell GCM

Brian Youell, the golf course superintendent at Uplands Golf Club in Victoria, British Columbia, has been chosen as the recipient of the 2018 Leo Feser Award from GCSAA. Now in its 41st year, the award is presented annually to the author of the best superintendent-written article published in Golf Course Management, the association’s flagship publication, during the previous year.

Youell, a 21-year member of GCSAA, authored the article Down, but not out, which was published in the November 2017 issue of GCM. His story chronicled the challenges he encountered following a serious head injury suffered on the job and how the experience changed him personally and professionally. Youell’s article was a follow-up to the story “Aftermath of an accident,” which he wrote for the September 2011 issue of GCM.

“I wrote this article to help others,” Youell says of his motivation to pen a second story. “I suffered in silence for many years. It wasn’t until I started to speak publicly about overcoming adversity that I realized there were so many others who were going through personal challenges. I wanted to let them know they weren’t alone and to reach out.

“GCSAA President Darren Davis (CGCS) called to inform me that I had won the Leo Feser Award, and it’s a call I will never forget. I am honored to receive such a prestigious award, and I will continue to share my story to help others.”

Davis says, “This was a very personal story, but it’s one that I’m glad Brian shared with GCM readers and GCSAA members. To learn how he turned an extremely challenging experience into something that now benefits others going through similar recoveries was both inspiring and motivating, and Brian’s work is certainly worthy of recognition as our 2018 Leo Feser Award winner.”

As part of winning the Leo Feser Award, Youell will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the 2019 Golf Industry Show in San Diego, where he will be recognized during a presentation at the GCM trade show booth (No. 1231) at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 6. He will also have his name engraved on a plaque permanently displayed at GCSAA headquarters in Lawrence, Kan.

The Leo Feser Award honors the late Leo Feser, a pioneering golf course superintendent and a charter member of GCSAA. Feser is credited with keeping the association’s official publication alive during the Great Depression. For three years, 1933-36, he wrote, edited, assembled and published each issue of The Greenkeepers’ Report — as the association’s magazine was known then — from his home in Wayzata, Minn. The award was first presented in 1956 and has been given annually since 1977. Members of GCSAA’s GCM Editorial Board Task Group select the winner of the award each year.

View the complete list of past Leo Feser Award winners.