GCSAA Scholars Competition
These 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 this program includes academic excellence, work experience, extracurricular activities, and potential to become a leading professional in the golf course management industry.
The GCSAA Scholars Program was developed to recognize outstanding students planning careers in golf and turfgrass management. Marginalized or underrepresented groups are highly encouraged to apply.
The first-place winner of the competition receives a $6,000 scholarship and is honored as the Mendenhall Award Winner. Ten to fifteen GCSAA Scholars ($1,500-$2,500) and up to ten Merit Winners ($500) are selected to receive scholarship awards based on the final ranking in the competition.
In addition, students who are citizens of countries other than the United States may apply for the Ambassador Award, a special scholarship for outstanding international students. To be eligible, students must provide documentation of non-US citizenship, meet the eligibility requirements for a GCSAA scholarship, be enrolled in a university in the United States, and rank as one of the top candidates in the GCSAA Scholars Competition. (If the score of the highest Ambassador Award applicant is ranked 1st, then the award will go to the next highest Ambassador Award applicant.)
The Mendenhall recipient receives an all-expense paid trip to the GCSAA Conference and Trade Show.
Applications will be reviewed by the GCSAA Scholars Competition Task Group and all decisions will be final. Applicants will be notified of their status by Aug. 1 in the year submitted. All scholarship award checks will be made payable to the applicant and his or her educational institution.
- An applicant must be an undergraduate student and currently enrolled in a two or more year accredited program related to golf/turfgrass management. (Seniors graduating prior to the application deadline of June 1 are ineligible.)
- Applicants must have completed the first year (24 credit hours or equivalent) in a program related to golf course management.
- Children of those employed by the GCSAA Foundation Board of Trustees, the GCSAA Board of Directors, and GCSAA staff are not eligible for this program.
- Applicants must be GCSAA member planning a career as a superintendent or a closely related professional discipline.
Applicants must complete and submit
- Transcripts from all high schools, universities and post-secondary schools attended that include grades from the last completed semester. (Transcripts do not need to be official copies.)
- The Advisor’s Report completed by your academic advisor or the head of the department at the school that you currently attend.
- If the candidate is turning in the Advisor Report, they may attach it as a PDF file in the application form.
- If the Reference is turning in the Advisor Report, they may email it directly to Katie Lomshek.
- The Superintendent’s Report completed by a golf course superintendent for whom you have worked. The form should be in an envelope sealed by the superintendent and mailed with your application. The superintendent may send via email to Katie Lomshek.
- If the candidate is turning in the Superintendent’s Report, they may attach it as a PDF file in the application form.
- If the Reference is turning in the Superintendent’s Report, they may email it directly to Katie Lomshek.
- The essay component must not exceed two double-spaced pages and must not have been previously submitted to GCSAA.
- All applications must be postmarked by June 1 of the year of application.
- Please follow the instructions exactly.
Mendenhall Award (1st place) $6,000
Ambassador Awards $2,500 (if ranked 3rd-5th place, $2,000 if ranked 6th place or below
Scholars and Merit Awards $500 to $2,000
Chet Mendenhall background
The Mendenhall Award is given in memory of the late Chet Mendenhall, a pioneer in the golf course management industry. A native of Kingman, Kan., Mendenhall’s upbringing on an Oklahoma farm served him well. His career in working with the land began in 1920 as an employee of the Wichita, Kan., City Parks and Forestry Department, where he designed and built his first course despite having no previous experience with the game.
In 1928, Mendenhall accepted an invitation to become superintendent at Wichita Country Club. It was during his tenure there that Mendenhall assisted California-based golf course architect Billy Bell in designing and constructing a new course. Smitten by the process, Mendenhall entered night school to learn surveying, drafting, bookkeeping and other related subjects.
He moved in 1934 to the Kansas City area, where he served as superintendent of the Mission Hills Country Club for 31 years until his retirement in 1965. Mendenhall was a charter member of GCSAA, and his service to his profession included serving as a director of GCSAA from 1940-1946, vice president in 1947 and president in 1948. He was honored by the association with its Distinguished Service Award in 1986 and by the USGA in 1990 with its Green Section Award. Mendenhall passed away in 1991 and was inducted into the Kansas Golf Hall of Fame in 1996.