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GCSAA selects inaugural Col. John Morley Award recipient

By |  December 3, 2021 0 Comments

Bob Farren Jr., CGCS and director of golf course and grounds management at Pinehurst (N.C.) Resort, will be honored with the 2022 Col. John Morley Award from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA).

Farren Jr. will be recognized with the award that recognizes a significant contribution to the advancement of the golf course superintendent’s profession. (Photo courtesy of GCSAA)

Farren Jr. will be recognized with the award that recognizes a significant contribution to the advancement of the golf course superintendent’s profession. (Photo courtesy of GCSAA)

The Col. John Morley Award, named for GCSAA’s founder, was revamped in 2021 and is now presented annually to an individual who is or has been a GCSAA Class A or B superintendent member and who has made a significant contribution to the advancement of the golf course superintendent’s profession. The contribution must be significant in both substance and duration.

The Morley Award joins the status of the other GCSAA Pinnacle Award, the Old Tom Morris Award, which will now be limited to those outside of the GCSAA membership who have helped mold the welfare of the game.

Farren, a 41-year GCSAA member, grew up watching his father, Bob Farren Sr., serve as superintendent at Big Bend Golf Course in Tornado, W.Va.

“I really never had any desire to do anything but this,” Farren said. “I don’t know why, probably because I spent so much time at the golf course with my father and his friends. They were like uncles to me, so it was like one big family. I just grew up going there since I was 8, 9, 10 years old. In my high school years, I worked on the golf course, and then we’d play on the golf course. It was just a big fraternity of people.”

During Farren’s tenure, Pinehurst No. 2 earned the distinction as the site of more golf championships than any other course in America, including the U.S. Open, PGA Championship, Ryder Cup Matches and PGA Tour Championship. Farren has been involved in 14 USGA championships, including three U.S. Opens and was crucial in the unprecedented double of 2014 when No. 2 hosted the U.S. Open and the U.S. Women’s Open in consecutive weeks. And there are more to come: The USGA last year announced Pinehurst would serve as an “anchor site” for the U.S. Open, to be played on No. 2 in 2024, 2029, 2035, 2041 and 2047.

His contributions to the industry extend well beyond high-profile events. Among the other accolades Farren has received include GCSAA’s President’s Award for Environmental Stewardship in 2007; Golf Digest’s Green Star Award for outstanding environmental practices in 2014; Anuvia’s Legends Award in 2018 and induction into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame in 2018.

In addition to having been involved with the GCSAA Foundation for years and serving on various GCSAA committees, Farren is or has been a USGA Green Section committee member, on the Bayer Green Start Academy advisory board, a member of the Musser International Turfgrass Foundation board of directors, a board member of the First Tee of Sandhills and chair of the Village of Pinehurst Historic Preservation Commission.

“I hope I’ve been a positive mentor to people,” Farren said. “I’ve found that you intentionally pay it back, that it’s second nature to you, only if you truly enjoy what you’re doing. I feel strongly about that, regardless of your profession. I always try to make the point with my assistants in particular, that it’s important to be part of the community. When you’re part of the community, people look at you in a different light. You’re part of the community, not just the guy who takes care of the golf course.”

Farren will formally receive the award on Feb. 8 as part of the Opening Session of the 2022 GCSAA Conference and Trade Show in San Diego.

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