Scholarships

GCSAA believes in investing in the future of the profession. To ensure this, GCSAA's philanthropic arm, the GCSAA Foundation, administers a number of different scholarships for students pursuing careers in the golf course industry, future turfgrass researchers and educators, children and grandchildren of GCSAA members, and foreign students studying in the United States.

Details for each opportunity are available below.

Dr. James Watson Fellowship Program torolog

Funded by The Toro Company

These awards provide financial assistance for the future educators and researchers of the turfgrass industry. Up to three $5,000 fellowships are awarded each year. Applicants must be candidates for master's or doctoral degrees in fields related to golf course management. Applications for the Watson Fellowship Program are due by Oct 1.

 

Applicants must be enrolled full time at an accredited institution of higher learning, or for high school seniors, they must have been accepted at such an institution for the next academic year.

In addition, award winners are ineligible to apply the year following their award, but can reapply after a one-year hiatus.

General

The GCSAA Legacy Awards competition offers education aid to the children and grandchildren of GCSAA members. Awards of $1,500 each are funded by the GCSAA Foundation.

Applications will be reviewed by an independent committee consisting of three high school educators and three college administrators. All decisions of the committee will be final. Applicants will be notified of their status by mail by June 15 of the year submitted. All scholarship award checks will be made payable to the applicant and his/her educational institution.

Eligibility

  • At least one or more of the applicant's parents or grandparents must be an active Class A, B, C, Equipment Manager, A-Retired, B-Retired or AA member of GCSAA and/or IGCEMA for five or more consecutive years. The competition is open to natural or adoptive offspring of GCSAA members. Children, stepchildren or grandchildren of deceased members are also eligible if the member was active at the time of his or her death.
  • The student must be enrolled full-time at an accredited institution of higher learning, or in the case of high school seniors, must be accepted at such an institution for the next academic year. Graduating high school seniors must include a letter of acceptance with the application
  • If the applicant is currently serving or has served in any branch of the military, they are eligible if they are enrolled in a minimum of 3 credit hours per every 9 weeks at an accredited institution of higher learning, technical school or online program.
  • Past winners are ineligible to apply the following year. They may reapply after a one-year hiatus.
  • More than one student from the same family may apply and be awarded a scholarship within the same year.
  • Children of those employed by the GCSAA Foundation’s Board of Trustees, the GCSAA Board of Directors, and GCSAA staff are not eligible for this program.

Criteria for Selection

  • Applicants will be evaluated based on academic achievement, extracurricular and community involvement, leadership and outside employment.
  • The student must submit an original essay of up to 500 words on any topic related to the golf industry. The essay must be original and not previously submitted to GCSAA.
  • Financial need is not a factor in the selection.

How to Apply

Students must complete the application form and supply the following:

  • Transcripts from all high schools and colleges attended.
  • Original essay.
  • Graduating high school seniors must attach a collegiate letter of acceptance.
  • The annual deadline is April 15.

 

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.

General

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.

Eligibility

  • 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.

Awards

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.

 

GCSAA Scholars Competition

The Allan MacCurrach Jr. Award, funded by Allan MacCurrach III and the PGA Tour, recognizes an outstanding non-traditional student seeking a career in the field of golf course and turfgrass management. The scholarship is $10,000, and the winner also receives an expenses-paid trip to the annual GCSAA Conference and Trade Show.

Applicants must be enrolled in a college or technical school and majoring in a field related to golf course management, planning a career as a superintendent or related profession, be 23 years of age or older and be a GCSAA member to be eligible.

General

Applications will be reviewed by Allan MacCurrach Jr. Award Task Group and all decisions will be final. Applicants will be notified of their status by August 1 in the year submitted. The scholarship award check will be made payable to the applicant and his/her educational institution.

Eligibility

  • Applicants must be enrolled in a recognized collegiate undergraduate program or technical school in a major field related to golf course management and turfgrass science. (Seniors graduating prior to the application deadline of June 1 are ineligible.)
  • Applicants must be planning a career as a golf course superintendent or closely related professional discipline.
  • Applicants must be GCSAA member.
  • Applicants must be 23 years of age or older and seeking a second degree or new career in golf course and turfgrass management. Preference will also be given to applicants from historically underrepresented groups.
  • Children of those employed by the GCSAA Foundation’s Board of Trustees, the GCSAA Board of Directors, and GCSAA staff are not eligible for this program.

Criteria for Selection

Applicants will be evaluated based on academic achievement, potential to become a leading professional, and employment history. In addition, the student must ask for a letter of recommendation to be completed by a superintendent, academic advisor, or employer.

  • This is required for each application and should be submitted by June 1, 2023.
  • Letter of Recommendation form
  • If the candidate is turning in the Letter of Recommendation, they may attach it as a PDF file in the application form.
  • If the Reference is turning in the Letter of Recommendation, they may email it directly to Katie Lomshek.

Financial need is not a factor in the selection.

Previous recipients are not eligible to apply for a second award.

How to apply

Allan MacCurrach Jr. Award applications open annually March 1 and close June 1. The GCSAA Foundation will notify winners by August 1.

For more information contact Katie Lomshek, scholarships and programs manager, at 800-472-7878, ext. 3624.

Applicants must complete the application form and supply:

  • Original essay
  • Letter of Recommendation

ParAideThe goal of this program is to assist GCSAA members' children in funding their education at either an accredited college or trade school. It is available to the children of GCSAA members who have been an active member for five or more consecutive years. Applicant must be a graduating high school senior and be accepted at an institution of higher learning for the upcoming year.

General

The Par Aide Garske Grant competition offers educational aid to the children and step-children of GCSAA members. Applicants must be graduating high school seniors and accepted at institutions of higher learning for the upcoming year. Funded by Par Aide in honor of Joseph S. Garske and administered by the GCSAA Foundation. $14,000 in scholarships will be awarded.

Applications will be reviewed by three educators who are not GCSAA or superintendent members. All judging decisions will be final. Applicants will be notified by mail of their status by May 15 of the year submitted. All scholarship award checks will be made payable to the applicant and his/her educational institution.

Eligibility

  • One or more of the applicant’s parents or step-parents must have been a GCSAA member for five or more consecutive years and must be a currently active GCSAA member in one of the following classifications: A, B, C, Retired-A, or AA life. The competition is only open to children and step-children of GCSAA members. Children or step-children of deceased members are also eligible if the member was active for five years at the time of his or her death.
  • The student must be planning to continue his/her education at a post secondary or trade school. The student must be accepted at such an institution for the next academic year. A letter of acceptance must be included with the application. If student has yet to receive such letter, please indicate that letter of acceptance is pending and will be sent at a later date.
  • Although any number of students from the same family may apply, only one student per family will be eligible to receive an award in the same year.
  • Children of those employed by Par Aide, the GCSAA Foundation's Board of Trustees, the GCSAA Board of Directors and GCSAA staff are not eligible for this program.

Criteria for selection

  • Applicants will be evaluated based on extracurricular and community involvement, leadership, outside employment, and academic achievement.
  • In addition, the student must submit an original essay of up to, but not exceeding, 500 words evaluating a significant experience, achievement, or risk and its impact on the student.
    The essay must be original and not previously submitted to GCSAA.
  • Financial need is not a factor in the selection.

How to apply

Students must complete and submit the following:

  • Transcripts from all high schools attended.
  • Original essay.
  • A letter of acceptance to a post secondary or trade school.
  • Applications are now closed.