David Brinkley Mull Jr. wins top award in GCSAA Scholars Competition

The University of Tennessee student is among 20 future turfgrass professionals to earn a total of $28,000 in scholarships.


Brinkley Mull

David Brinkley Mull Jr. (right), a senior at the University of Tennessee, is the winner of the Mendenhall Award — a $6,000 scholarship — the top honor in GCSAA’s 2020 Scholars Competition, which recognizes outstanding college students planning careers in golf course management.

The GCSAA Scholars Competition is funded primarily by the Robert Trent Jones Endowment and is administered by the Environmental Institute for Golf, GCSAA’s philanthropic organization. This year, the program awarded $28,000 in scholarships.

Scholars Competition scholarships range from $500 to $6,000. Applicants must be enrolled in a recognized undergraduate program in a major field related to turf management, have completed at least 24 credit hours or the equivalent of one year of full-time study in the appropriate major, and be a member of GCSAA. Selection criteria for the program include academic achievement, employment history, extracurricular activities, potential to become a leading professional in the golf course management industry, and recommendations from a current academic adviser and a superintendent with whom the student has worked.

“Winning this award is an absolute blessing,” says Mull, a four-year member of GCSAA. “It’s going to make a huge impact helping me with student loans, and I am so grateful to receive this help for my future career.”

Mull’s career aspirations were first sparked on his family farm in his hometown of Roan Mountain, Tenn., where he raised horses and plants. Mull gained golf course maintenance experience working at Hound Ears Club in Boone, N.C. “I grew to love the industry and the game of golf at Hound Ears Club because I was surrounded by great people,” says Mull.

Mull, who plans to graduate in December with a bachelor’s degree in turfgrass management, says his goal is to become an assistant superintendent in the mountains of Tennessee or in North Carolina.

The top award in the Scholars Competition is named for the late Chet Mendenhall, who was a charter member of GCSAA, a past president (1948) and a recipient of the association’s Distinguished Service Award (1986).

Landon Hall of Killarney, Manitoba, who attends Penn State University, received the second-place award of $3,000, known as the MacCurrach Award. It is named in honor of the late Allan MacCurrach, who became the PGA Tour’s first staff agronomist in 1974 and was the winner of GCSAA’s Distinguished Service Award in 1997. The PGA Tour funds the MacCurrach Award.

GCSAA 2020 Scholars Competition scholarship winners

Mendenhall Award winner, $6,000
David Brinkley Mull Jr.
Roan Mountain, Tenn.
University of Tennessee

MacCurrach Award winner, $3,000
Landon Hall
Killarney, Manitoba
Penn State University

Scholars Award winners, $2,500
Issaiah Abeita
Isleta, N.M.
New Mexico State University

James Schon
Amherst, Ohio
Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute

Scholars Award winners, $2,000
Russell Bolarinho
Acushnet, Mass.
Penn State University

William Lannon
Fairfax, Va.
Virginia Tech University

Scholars Award winners, $1,500
William Covert
West Chester, Pa.
Penn State University

Steven Page
Canton, Mich.
Michigan State University

Scholars Award winners, $1,000
Cade Cutchen
San Francisco
Florida Gateway College

Ryan Welker
Cambridge Springs, Pa.
Penn State University

Merit Award winners, $500
Ty Barschdorf
Bridgman, Mich.
Michigan State University

Spencer Cole
Grant, Mich.
Michigan State University

Jack Daley
Cave Creek, Ariz.
Penn State University

Keith Dubaich
Shermans Dale, Pa.
Penn State University

Luke Gabel
Laguna Beach, Calif.
Penn State University

Nathan Howard
Alto, Mich.
Michigan State University

Mason Marsh
Mount Washington, Ky.
Penn State University

Clark McCall
Maryville, Tenn.
Penn State University

Austin Reynolds
Newton, Iowa
Hawkeye Community College

Garrett Wege
New Derry, Pa.
Penn State University