GCSAA Recognizes Three for Distinguished Service

Gordon LaFontaine, Danny H. Quast, CGCS, and Gordon C. Witteveen have been selected as recipients of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America's (GCSAA) Distinguished Service Award. Each will be acknowledged at the opening session of GCSAA's 75th International Golf Course Conference and Show, Feb. 12, 2004, in San Diego.

The GCSAA board of directors selects Distinguished Service Award winners from nominations submitted by affiliated chapters and association members. First presented in 1932, the award is given to individuals who have made an outstanding, substantive and enduring contribution to the advancement of the golf course superintendent profession.

"GCSAA succeeds because of the dedication and hard work of its members, educators and industry supporters," says GCSAA President Jon D. Maddern, CGCS. "The association is proud to honor Gordie LaFontaine, Danny Quast and Gordon Witteveen with GCSAA’s Distinguished Service Award. Their contributions to the game of golf and to the advancement of the golf course superintendent profession certainly merit this recognition.”

Gordon LaFontaine, former executive director and past president of the Michigan Turfgrass Foundation, has selflessly devoted his time and resources to the advancement of the turfgrass industry in Michigan, and around the nation. For more than 30 years, he has played an influential role in advancing turfgrass research and education, while unifying turfgrass organizations, GCSAA chapters and state agencies across the country. During his tenure with the Michigan Turfgrass Foundation, LaFontaine was instrumental in developing the Hancock Turfgrass Research Center. He also spearheaded the creation of the first environmental turfgrass specialist position, which has led to the development of the Environmental Stewardship Program. LaFontaine has received numerous awards, including the 1984 Michigan Turfgrass Foundation Meritorious Service Award and the 1997 Distinguished Service Award from Michigan State University College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. This past year, he became the first person to receive an honorary degree from Michigan State University's Agriculture program.

Danny H. Quast, CGCS, retired golf course superintendent and former president of the Miami Valley Golf Course Superintendents Association, has directly influenced the superintendent profession by furthering many careers with his tireless dedication to professional development. During his career, Quast served as superintendent at two highly regarded golf courses—Milwaukee (Wis.) Country Club and Medinah (Ill.) Country Club. While at Medinah, Quast successfully hosted the United States Open in 1990 and the PGA Championship in 1999. He has been a mentor to numerous individuals in the turfgrass industry, and has served on the GCSAA’s information services committee, the Wisconsin Golf Course Superintendents Association Board of Directors, the USGA Green Section Committee and the O.J. Noer Foundation Board of Directors. He also founded "The Grass Roots," the official publication for the Wisconsin GCSA and advanced the Turfgrass Information File at Michigan State University.

Gordon C. Witteveen, a published author, historian and former golf course superintendent, has been a powerful voice for golf course superintendents across Canada and the United States for more than 40 years. A founding member and past president of the Canadian Golf Superintendents Association (CGSA), Witteveen has written and co-authored four books concerning turfgrass and the superintendent profession, most notably "Keepers of The Green: A History of Golf Course Management" and "Practical Golf Course Maintenance," and also started the official publication for the CGSA, "Greenmaster." He has guided the careers of many superintendents while traveling the world offering seminars and participating in conferences. Witteveen, who received GCSAA's Leo Feser Award in 1983, was also the recipient of the Canadian Score Award for Superintendent of the Year in 1983 and the John B. Steel Award in 1999 for his outstanding contributions to golf in Canada.

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