William Bengeyfield, former USGA Green Section national director, dies

By |  July 1, 2020 0 Comments

William H. (Bill) Bengeyfield, former USGA Green Section agronomist and national director, passed away June 3, 2020, at the age of 97 in his home in Meridian, Idaho according to the USGA Green Section Record.

Bengeyfield served as USGA agronomist until 1978 when he became the director of golf courses and park maintenance at Industry Hills GC in La Puente, Calif.

He was profiled by Golfdom in 2001 as a titan of the industry. In the article, he said he left the USGA Green Section to see if he could practice what he preached.

“I said to myself, ‘Big Bill, let’s see if you can do the things you’ve been talking about all these years,'” he told Golfdom. “I found out that what we were recommending to people really did work.”

Bengeyfield returned to the Green Section in 1981 and served as national director from 1982 to 1990.

“I came along at an opportune time because the Executive Committee wanted to go forward with (more research),” Bengeyfield told Golfdom. “I stepped in and helped organize the Green Section Turfgrass Research Committee.”

A hallmark of Bengeyfield’s tenure was his belief that information provided by USGA Green Section should be firmly based in science. He served as chairman USGA Turfgrass Research Committee.

“He didn’t get credit for getting the USGA to spend hundreds of thousands and ultimately millions of dollars on turf research,” Stan Zontek, former director of the Green Section’s Mid-Atlantic Region told Golfdom.

James T. “Jim” Snow, who succeeded Bengeyfield as national director of the USGA Green Section, credited Bengeyfield with being instrumental in the founding of the USGA Turfgrass and Environmental Research Program.

“Without his forceful leadership, I don’t know if it would have happened,” Snow told Golfdom.

During Bengeyfield’s time with the Green Section, he also served as editor of the USGA Green Section Record from 1967 to 1978 and 1982 to 1990.

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