GCBAA Honors Agronomist with Don A. Rossi Award

Updated Dec 20, 2012

The Golf Course Builders Association of America (GCBAA) named James R. Watson as its recipient of the Don A. Rossi Award. 121812watson2

“To those in the turf industry, Watson is a pioneer and teacher with a lengthy legacy,” says Justin Apel, executive director of the GCBAA. “The GCBAA Board of Directors has named Dr. Watson as the 2013 recipient of the Don A. Rossi Award for his contributions to the growth of the game and the number of people he has inspired over his many years of service to the industry,”

The Rossi award is given by the GCBAA to honor individuals who have made significant contributions to the game of golf and its growth and who have inspired others by example. It is named for the former GCBAA executive director Don A. Rossi, who also served as executive director of the National Golf Foundation from 1970 to 1983 and was instrumental in forming the National Golf Course Owner’s Association.

Watson began his four-decade career with Toro in 1952 as director of agronomy. He continued on as a vice president of customer relations, serving as an advisor for both the company and the turf industry.

In his 46 years with Toro, Watson pioneered important turf and water management research and was often called upon for advice and counsel by many of the world’s leading golf courses, parks and sports facilities. He was also influential in Toro’s entry into the commercial and residential irrigation business, constantly promoting conservation and more efficient use of water resources. With Toro, he led a team of 25 researchers, conducting studies on a variety of grasses and soils to ensure best management practices in fertilization and water usage, as well as approaches for controlling unwanted grasses, turf diseases and pests.

“To those in the turf industry, Watson is a pioneer and teacher with a lengthy legacy.”

Since his retirement from Toro in 1998, Toro’s research grounds have been designated as the “Dr. James R. Watson Research and Development Proving Grounds.” During his career, he also participated on a number of prestigious turf and water management boards, organizations and research efforts. Watson was the inspiration behind Toro’s turf and water management agronomic research, and development of the company’s Center for Advanced Turf Technology.

Since 1991, the Don A. Rossi Award has been given to individuals who have contributed to all facets of the industry. Architects Robert Trent Jones, Alice Dye and Ed Seay; professional golfers Byron Nelson and Jack Nicklaus; irrigation innovators Edward Hunter and most recently Jim Kirchdorfer Sr.; and builder members Bill Kubly and Brent Wadsworth are just a few of the worthy recipients of the award.

Watson will receive the award Feb. 5 at the 2013 Golf Industry Show in San Diego, California. Those interested in attending the presentation dinner can visit www.gcbaa.org or contact the GCBAA executive office at 402-476-4444.

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