2019 News Releases

GCSAA Distinguished Service Awards honor certified golf course superintendent and retired USGA course consultant

by Dec 03, 2019 | GCSAA

Mark Kuhns, CGCS, and John Foy will be recognized at the 2020 Golf Industry Show

Lawrence, Kan. (Dec. 3, 2019) – Longtime superintendent Mark Kuhns, CGCS, and John Foy, retired director of the USGA Green Section’s southeast region, have been selected to receive 2020 Col. John Morley Distinguished Service Awards from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA). The pair will be recognized on Jan. 29 during the Opening Session, presented in partnership with Syngenta, of the 2020 Golf Industry Show (GIS) in Orlando, Fla.

The award is given to individuals who have made an outstanding, substantive and enduring contribution to the advancement of the golf course superintendent profession. The award was renamed in 2009 in honor of Col. John Morley, GCSAA's founder and first president. He was the first to earn the Distinguished Service Award in 1932, and he received it again in 1940.

"Mark and John are most worthy of the Col. John Morley Award,” said GCSAA President Rafael Barajas, CGCS. “They have made significant contributions to helping superintendents upgrade the playing fields for golfers. Their knowledge has been essential in helping maintain courses in unique environments and their service has been unmatched.”

Kuhns, who served as president of GCSAA in 2009, cites his beginnings in the golf industry for putting him on a path toward becoming a superintendent.

“I grew up in a family of great golfers and started out working in a course pro shop and caddying before I moved into landscaping,” Kuhns said. “I have worked with many great people, including other past presidents who have been my friends and mentors, throughout my career in landscaping and I have not missed a Golf Industry Show since 1979.”

Kuhns, first elected to serve on the GCSAA Board of Directors in 2003, was the director of grounds at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, N.J. Previously, he was golf course superintendent at Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club; Laurel Valley Golf Club and Rolling Rock Club in Ligonier, Pa.; and Ligonier (Pa.) Country Club. Kuhns is currently the vice president of business development for Turco Golf Inc.

Kuhns has been a GCSAA member for 41 years and first earned certification in 1983. He is a member and past president of the Mountain & Valley GCSA, former vice president of the Greater Pittsburgh GCSA and currently serves as government relations chairman for the GCSA of New Jersey. He is a member of the New Jersey Turfgrass Association, the Tri-State Turfgrass Research Foundation and a past member of the Penn State University Agronomy Advisory Council.

Kuhns graduated from Penn State University in 1977 with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural science. He also has a degree in business studies from Saint Vincent College.

“I was overwhelmed and excited when I got the call from the president,” said Kuhns. “I am humbled to be among the list of the past winners and represent the industry to receive this award in Col. Morley’s name.”

Foy, who is now retired, was the former director of the USGA Green Section’s Southeast Region. He was responsible for making course consulting visits to courses in Florida and the Caribbean. Prior to becoming regional director, Foy served as an agronomist for the southeast region for five years. He made more than 3,000 course consulting service visits to golf courses across the country.

Foy has also written many turf-related articles for various magazines, made presentations annually to golf industry groups, and worked with the Florida Turfgrass Association and the Florida GCSA.

“I was shocked and flattered to find out I had won,” said Foy. “My entire goal in my career was to help superintendents get the golf course that they aspired to have.”

After joining the Green Section, Foy assisted in preparation of Southeast golf courses that host USGA Championships. He served as the championship agronomist for the International Golf Federation and assisted in advanced and daily course preparations for the World Amateur Team Championships. Foy graduated from the University of Georgia with a master’s degree in plant protection and pest management in 1980. He has a Bachelor of Science in agriculture, also from the University of Georgia, where he graduated cum laude.

“I primarily worked in Florida, upon service requests, to help educate superintendents. One of our biggest challenges was to maintain a green aesthetic during the winter months when most everything is dormant, and managing pest control during hot, humid summers,” said Foy. “I also helped with the introduction of some of the newer grasses that improved the quality of the putting greens.”

The GCSAA Board of Directors selects the winners from nominations submitted by affiliated chapters and/or association members.

View the complete list of GCSAA Col. John Morley Distinguished Service Award past recipients.