The Montana superintendent’s personal tale of overcoming mental health challenges was selected as the year’s top superintendent-written article in GCM.
Lawrence, Kan. (Nov. 29, 2022) -- Peter J. Grass, CGCS, the golf course superintendent at Hilands Golf Club in Billings, Mont., has been selected as the recipient of the 2022 Leo Feser Award from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA). Now in its 45th year, 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
A 38-year member of GCSAA who served as the association’s national president in 2016, Grass authored the story “I need help (and I don’t mean labor)” that appeared in the May 2022 issue of GCM (www.gcmonline.com/voices/news/mental-health-awareness). The story was originally published in The Perfect Lie, the newsletter of the Peaks and Prairies GCSA, and was reprinted with permission in GCM.
The story detailed Grass’ years-long struggles with stress and anxiety brought about by pressures on the golf course, and what finally prompted him to seek help in dealing with those challenges. Those steps included conversations with two members at Hilands Golf Club who work in the mental health space and, based on their recommendations, an exploration of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which focuses on increasing understanding of what matters are within your control and ways to let go of stresses created by matters that are not within your control.
“I am thankful and honored to receive this award because it means my article meant something to others,” Grass said. “I wrote about my challenges to help others who may be struggling in some way, to encourage them to seek help to make their lives better at a much younger age than I did. I’m hopeful that openly sharing about myself will lead others to think about themselves, their situation and how our industry has many different stresses that we must navigate in a healthy manner.”
GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans said, “There is no questioning Pete’s dedication to this business and his longtime service to the industry at both the chapter and national levels. That he would continue to do that by sharing his deeply personal story with the readers of GCM is a credit to him as a person and a superintendent, and I congratulate him on being selected as the recipient of the 2022 Leo Feser Award.”
Grass will officially receive the award during the 2023 GCSAA Conference and Trade Show in Orlando. He will also have his name engraved on a plaque that is 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.
For a complete list of previous Leo Feser Award winners, go to www.gcsaa.org/about-gcsaa/awards/leo-feser-award.