Chris Carson, the golf course superintendent at Echo Lake Country Club in Westfield, N.J., has been selected as the recipient of the 2017 Leo Feser Award from GCSAA. 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.
Carson’s selection makes him the first three-time winner of the Leo Feser Award in the 40 years GCSAA has presented it as an annual honor. Carson previously won in 2000 and 2007. The only other repeat winner of the Feser is Darren Davis, CGCS, of Olde Florida Golf Club in Naples, Fla., who won the award in 1997 and 2002.
Carson, a 32-year GCSAA member, authored the article 8 essential budgeting principles for superintendents, which was published in the October 2016 issue of GCM. The story offered readers time-tested tips on making successful budget requests and communicating with golf facility decisions-makers about how those requests will benefit the facility’s playing surfaces and, ultimately, its bottom line.
“I wrote the article on the budgeting principles that have been successful for me over the years — the same principles I teach at Rutgers — as a way of helping my peers grow professionally,” says Carson. “I’ve always enjoyed writing and the business aspects of our jobs, and putting my thoughts and ideas into print is one of the ways I try to give back to our profession.
“Winning the Feser Award for a third time is an honor that is as unexpected as it is humbling. I’m glad that I was able to share that news with my father, a retired magazine editor, before he passed away in late December. Writing was one of the ties that connected us, and sharing and laughing about the world of writers and editors are among my fondest memories of him.”
GCSAA President Bill H. Maynard, CGCS, says, “Successfully managing and preparing a budget for a golf course operation is among the most important non-agronomic tasks facing superintendents. Chris’ story about all he has learned about that process throughout his career in golf course management is a must-read for both new and veteran superintendents alike, and is certainly worthy of recognition with the 2017 Leo Feser Award.”
Carson teaches courses on budgeting and professional development at the Rutgers Professional Golf Turf Management School, and has served as president of both the GCSA of New Jersey and the New Jersey Turfgrass Association.
As part of winning the Leo Feser Award, Carson receives an all-expenses-paid trip to the 2018 Golf Industry Show in San Antonio, where he will be recognized during the GCSAA Opening Night Celebration on Tuesday, Feb. 6, which is presented in partnership with Syngenta. 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.