GCSAA announces Watson Fellowship Program winners

The awards provide financial assistance to three students pursuing master’s or doctoral degrees in fields relevant to golf course management.



James Hempfling, Henry Qu and Devon Carroll have each been awarded a $5,000 postgraduate grant from GCSAA as recipients in the Watson Fellowship Program. The Watson Fellowship is funded by a partnership between The Toro Co. and GCSAA’s philanthropic organization, the Environmental Institute for Golf.

The fellowship, started in 1998, is named after the late James R. Watson, Ph.D., a vice president for Toro and a pioneer in turfgrass research. The winning students working in postgraduate degree programs have been identified as promising future teachers and researchers in the field of golf course management.

Hempfling is a doctoral student at Rutgers University whose current research is focused on control of dollar spot disease. Qu is also a doctoral student at Rutgers, and is working on the selection of tall fescue cultivars for improved drought tolerance. Carroll is pursuing a master’s degree at Penn State University, with a thesis on the influence of temperature and cultural practices on bentgrasses.

“Toro is proud to continue Dr. Watson’s legacy by honoring the next generation of turfgrass science leaders like James, Henry and Devon,” says Dana Lonn, managing director of Toro’s Center for Advanced Turf Technology. “Our partnership with GCSAA on the Watson Fellowship allows us to recognize their important contribution to the future of the golf industry.”

Watson was a leading authority on turfgrasses and was vice president for customer relations and chief agronomist for Toro. The winner of the USGA Green Section Award in 1976 and the 1977 Agronomic Service Award from the American Society of Agronomy, Watson was named a fellow of the American Society of Agronomy and the Crop Science Society of America in 1979. He also won the 1991 Harry Gill Memorial Award from the Sports Turf Managers Association; the Old Tom Morris Award, GCSAA’s highest honor, in 1995; and the Donald Rossi Award from the Golf Course Builders Association of America.

Over the course of five decades at Toro, Watson conducted research on the adaptability of species and strains of turfgrasses, fertilization practices, snow mold prevention techniques for winter protection of turfgrasses, and more. He authored more than 400 popular articles on turfgrass cultural practices and water conservation.