Tyler Bloom wins 2020 Leo Feser Award

Bloom’s GCM article about welcoming golf course employees who have different abilities has been voted the top superintendent-written story.


Filed to: Maryland

Tyler Bloom golf
“Golf courses have a unique way of bringing people together, and we as golf course superintendents can directly impact our communities and the larger world through the people we welcome to be part of our teams,” Tyler Bloom wrote in his now award-winning GCM article, “Ready, willing and able.” Photo courtesy of Tyler Bloom

Tyler Bloom, a former golf course superintendent who now serves as a workforce and talent development consultant, has been selected as the recipient of the 2020 Leo Feser Award from GCSAA. Now in its 43rd 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.

A nine-year member of GCSAA, Bloom authored the article Ready, willing and able, which was published in the January 2020 issue of GCM. The story highlighted the partnership between Baltimore’s Sparrows Point Country Club — where Bloom served as director of grounds and facilities at the time of publication — and The Arc Baltimore, an organization that connects local residents who have intellectual or developmental disabilities with meaningful employment. The partnership helped Bloom solve a persistent staffing challenge at Sparrows Point, and gave individuals from The Arc the opportunity to learn a unique skill set, be part of a team, and develop their professional and personal skills. Bloom is now the principal at Tyler Bloom Consulting, which assists golf courses with labor and talent development.

“Writing has always been a passion, and to be acknowledged along a who’s-who list of previous award winners is humbling,” Bloom says. “It’s an honor to be linked to the prestigious award, knowing how instrumental Leo Feser was during a critical point in our country’s history to keep our industry engaged through professional messages, stories and insights.”

GCSAA President John R. Fulling Jr., CGCS, says, “Superintendents helping other superintendents is a principle that dates back to GCSAA’s founding, and superintendent-authored stories in GCM are among the most notable ways that our members live that principle. Tyler’s story is an excellent example of this. It highlights a unique solution to a common problem for all superintendents, one that has the added benefit of supporting the community and helping others find value and worth in their jobs. It is a worthy recipient of our 2020 Leo Feser Award.”

Bloom says he felt an obligation to write this story “because people with disabilities are often overlooked in our society let alone our industry. Most people don’t realize, but around 20% of the U.S. population has some kind of disability. There’s tremendous value way beyond business metrics, including personal and team growth.

“We as an industry need to take a hard look in the mirror with what is going on with our labor shortages, and consider golf’s impact on the communities around us. A large percentage of our failures are a direct result of the barriers we have created. Creating inclusive systems, processes and cultures will allow business and industry to thrive. This experience broadened my IQ and self-awareness, which ultimately strengthened our team’s purpose.”

As part of winning the Leo Feser Award, Bloom will be recognized during the virtual 2021 Golf Industry Show, Feb. 2-4. 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.

Past Leo Feser Award winners

2019: Dave Waymire, CGCS, for The 10 commandments of successful golf course superintendents
2018: Brian Youell for Down, but not out: A superintendent’s recovery from a brain injury
2017: Chris Carson for 8 essential budgeting principles for superintendents
2016: Gerald Flaherty, CGCS, for Smarter, smoother labor tracking
2015: Tom Elliott, CGCS
2014: Jim Ferrin, CGCS, and Sam Samuelson, CGCS
2013: Logan M. Freeman
2012: Stephen Best
2011: Timothy J. Anderson, CGCS, MG
2010: Justin Ruiz, CGCS
2009: Steve Hackmann
2008: Tom Lavrenz
2007: Chris Carson
2006: Charles Fultz
2005: Mike Hansen
2004: Marsh Benson
2003: Robert Collins, CGCS
2002: Darren Davis
2001: James Peacock
2000: Chris Carson
1999: Michael R. Blanchard
1998: Donald F. Ewoldt Jr., CGCS
1997: Darren Davis
1996: Kenneth Lallier, CGCS
1995: Dan E. Rackliffe, CGCS
1994: Pat Holt
1993: Thomas A. Christy
1992: John A. Baranski
1991: Ken Flisek
1990: Gary Schinderle, CGCS
1989: Ted Horton, CGCS, and Mary Medonis
1988: Sherwood A. Moore, CGCS
1987: David E. Hassel
1986: David C. Harmon
1985: Theodore W. Woehrle
1984: Jerry W. Redden, CGCS
1983: Gordon C. Witteveen
1982: Louis E. Miller
1981: Paul N. Voykin
1980: Donald J. Pakkala
1979: Oliver Miles, CGCS
1978: Dan Jones
1977: James M. Hildebrand
1956: Tom Dawson Jr.