Florida GCSA honors researcher and educator J. Bryan Unruh, Ph.D.

By |  June 10, 2024 0 Comments

Researcher and educator J. Bryan Unruh, Ph.D., was awarded the Marie Roberts Lifetime Service Award by the Florida Golf Course Superintendents Association (GCSA).

Unruh is a professor at the University of Florida and the associate director of the West Florida Research and Education Center. The award recognizes non-superintendent individuals whose participation, support and achievements have made significant contributions to the Florida GCSA and Florida golf industry.  

Photo: Florida GCSA

Photo: Florida GCSA

“I’ve been fortunate to be recognized by my peers in the past but to be recognized by my stakeholders, the people I serve day in and day out, is just special,” Unruh said. “I wake up every day to try and make their professional lives better and I take an award like this as affirmation that my work is making an impact.” 

Unruh’s award nomination emphasized his crucial role in enhancing environmental sustainability on Florida golf courses after establishing the landmark Best Management Practices (BMPs) program in Florida. The program is now recognized in Florida Statute and he has played a similarly important role helping create BMPs for the 20,000-member Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA). 

Unruh was also praised for his continued individual and local service to superintendents, as both a researcher and educator. He has also provided multiple scientific perspectives for governments and regulatory bodies as they evaluate environmental issues.  

The award is just the latest in Unruh’s long collection of honors, such as numerous peer-sourced awards and the GCSAA’s President’s Award for Environmental Stewardship in 2023. Unruh received the inaugural President’s Award from the Florida Turfgrass Association later that year for his service to the green industry, and it also presented him with the Wreath of Grass in 2009 — its highest honor.

The Marie Roberts Award was presented to Unruh by one of his former graduate students, Jason Frank, now vice president of business development, marketing and research and development with Harrell’s.  

“Dr. Unruh’s record of service to golf course superintendents and the green industry in Florida is truly remarkable,” Florida GCSA President Parker Ferren, CGCS, from Copperleaf Golf Club in Estero, says. “Golf course superintendents, the game at large and the communities it serves are all better off as a result of his work over many years.” 

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