News Release
June 24, 2014

GCSAA awards three essay contest scholarships

EIFGCollege students James W. Hempfling, Jesse J. Benelli and Derek Pruyne are the winners of the 2014 Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) Student Essay Contest.

The top award of $2,000 went to Hempfling, a first-year Ph.D. student at Rutgers University. He won for his essay: "Lines Drawn in the Sand: The Evolution of Topdressing Practices."

The second-place award of $1,500 went to Benelli, a first-year Ph.D. student at the University of Tennessee. His paper was titled "Strobilurin Fungicides: Historical perspectives and implications on plant health.”

Pruyne, who is in his second year of pursuing a master’s degree at Penn State University, claimed the third-place award of $1,000 for his writing: "Assessing and optimizing soil pH of creeping bentgrass putting greens."

"On behalf of the association’s 18,000 members, I offer my sincere congratulations to James, Jesse and Derek on their achievements,” GCSAA President Keith A. Ihms, CGCS, said. "With support from the Environmental Institute for Golf, GCSAA is able to reward those who will help move the golf industry forward.”

Judges from the GCSAA Essay Task Group selected the winners. The contest was open to GCSAA members who are undergraduates or graduate students pursuing degrees in turfgrass science, agronomy or any field related to golf course management. The GCSAA Essay Contest accepted entries with a focus on golf course management.

The scholarships are funded by the Environmental Institute for Golf (EIFG) through the Robert Trent Jones Endowment. The EIFG is GCSAA's philanthropic organization.

About GCSAA and the EIFG
GCSAA is a leading golf organization and has as its focus golf course management. Since 1926, GCSAA has been the top professional association for the men and women who manage golf courses in the United States and worldwide. From its headquarters in Lawrence, Kan., the association provides education, information and representation to nearly 18,000 members in more than 72 countries. GCSAA's mission is to serve its members, advance their profession and enhance the enjoyment, growth and vitality of the game of golf. Find GCSAA on Facebook, follow GCSAA on Twitter, and visit GCSAA at The Environmental Institute for Golf is the philanthropic organization of the GCSAA, and has as its mission to foster sustainability through research, awareness, education, programs and scholarships for the benefit of golf course management professionals, golf facilities and the game. Visit

Media contact

Craig Smith
Director, Communications and Media Relations