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Elliott Pope earns top award in GCSAA Scholars Competition for second year in a row

by Sep 19, 2023 | Kelsey Underwood


Fifteen students will receive scholarships for golf/turf management or related fields

Lawrence, Kan. (Sept. 19, 2023) Elliott Pope, a student at Western Kentucky University, is the repeat winner of the Mendenhall Award of $6,000 in the 2023 Scholars Competition offered through the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA).

The GCSAA Scholars Competition is funded by the Robert Trent Jones Endowment and administered by the GCSAA Foundation. It was developed to recognize outstanding students working toward careers in golf course management or other related areas of the golf course industry.

The scholarships range from $250 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 of the appropriate major and be a member of GCSAA.

Pope has had a longstanding passion for the game of golf since childhood. From playing golf to drawing golf course designs during his free time as a child, his appreciation for the game has grown with him. He realized early on in high school that becoming a golf course superintendent was the career path he wanted to follow.
From working on the grounds crew at Columbia Country Club in Columbia, S.C., and The Club at Olde Stone in Bowling Green, Ky., to internships at The Tree Farm in Aiken, S.C., and Maidstone Club in East Hampton, N.Y., Pope has gained tremendous experience and new knowledge, and his enthusiasm to become a golf course superintendent has only increased over the years.

“Being awarded the Mendenhall scholarship was such a great honor last year, and I am extremely excited to receive the award again this year,” Pope said. “This award will help me finish my degree in turf and golf course management at Western Kentucky University this year (a year early) and help to prepare me to begin my career as a golf course superintendent.”

The top award of the GCSAA Scholars Competition is named for the late Chet Mendenhall, who was a charter member of GCSAA, a past president (1948) and recipient of the association’s Distinguished Service Award (1986). Along with this award, Pope will also receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the 2023 GCSAA Conference and Trade Show, Feb. 6-9, in Orlando.

Other award winners are:

Luke Bennett, Knoxville, Tenn., University of Tennessee, Scholars Award, $2,500

Zac Kelly, Holt, Mich., Michigan State University, Scholars Award, $2,500

Hunter King, Atglen, Pa., Pennsylvania State University, Scholars Award, $2,500

Diego Barandiaran, Sevilla, Spain, Pennsylvania State University, Ambassador Award, $2,000

Andrew Dorland, Grand Ledge, Mich., Michigan State University, Scholars Award, $1,500

Michael Doyle, Birmingham, Mich., Michigan State University, Scholars Award, $1,500

Evan Gerhard, Schuylkill Haven, Pa., Pennsylvania State University, Scholars Award, $1,500

Gavin Lyons, Marietta, Ga., Penn State World Campus, Scholars Award, $1,000

Camden Macek, Laurel, Md., Pennsylvania State University, Scholars Award, $1,000

Zachary Olowniuk, Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich., Michigan State University, Scholars Award, $1,000

Benjamin Casella, Clarksboro, N.J., Delaware Valley University, Merit Award, $500

Ryan King, West Allis, Wis., Pennsylvania State University, Merit Award, $500

Simon Wattier, Flourtown, Pa., Pennsylvania State University, Merit Award, $500

Edward Wetherell, Valleyford, Wash., Pennsylvania State University, Merit Award, $500