In a demonstration of its continuous commitment to foster a healthier connection between the game and the environment, the United States Golf Association (USGA) today announced Dr. Peter Dernoeden, of Milton, Del., a nationally recognized turfgrass researcher and educator, as the recipient of the 2014 USGA Green Section Award. Presented annually since 1961, the USGA Green Section Award recognizes an individual’s distinguished service to the game of golf through his or her work with turfgrass.
Dr. Dernoeden, 65, is professor emeritus of plant science and landscape architecture at the University of Maryland’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Over the course of an extensive research, extension and teaching career, he led the design and management of turfgrass research programs focusing on weed and disease control, integrated pest management, and sustainable fescue species. In 1999, he was responsible for the discovery of a new pathogen and disease that affects creeping bentgrass. His work is widely recognized as having contributed significantly to the quality of turf on golf courses both regionally and nationally.
“Dr. Dernoeden’s work has influenced a generation of golf industry professionals,” said Dr. Kimberly Erusha, managing director of the USGA Green Section. “His contributions, from solid research to well-trained graduate students, speaking engagements and work with individual golf courses have taken the game forward in many ways. The USGA and the golf industry are indebted to Dr. Dernoeden for his leadership and dedication throughout his career.”
Dr. Dernoeden has written articles and books on turfgrass management, and served as an advisor to the USGA and to state and regional turfgrass organizations and individual golf facilities. As part of his service to these courses, he and his students analyzed several thousand turfgrass samples supplied by course superintendents.
“Dr. Dernoeden is more than just a turfgrass researcher and educator,” said Dr. Cale Bigelow, professor of agronomy and turf science at PurdueUniversity. “He is truly a champion for the game of golf and those who help provide the conditions upon which we all play.”
Dr. Dernoeden will receive the Green Section Award on Feb. 8, 2014, at the USGA’s Annual Meeting and Service Awards at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club in the Village of Pinehurst, N.C. The newly created Service Awards dinner consolidates the presentation of many of the USGA’s most significant honors into a single, inspiring event, highlighting the people and organizations whose selfless dedication and outstanding accomplishments have made an important contribution to the USGA and its mission to serve the game. In addition to the Green Section Award, the Joe Dey Award, Ike Grainger Award and Herbert Warren Wind Book Award will be presented at the dinner. The USGA’s most distinguished honor, the Bob Jones Award, will be presented at a public ceremony during the week of the 2014 U.S. Open Championship at Pinehurst.
“I am honored to receive this award, and appreciative of the strong relationship I have enjoyed through the years with the USGA,” said Dr. Dernoeden. “Stan Zontek and others on the Green Section staff helped me make the transition from turf pathologist to golf course agronomist, which focused my research efforts and enabled my graduate students and me to be involved in a number of challenging and productive projects over the course of my career.”
Dr. Dernoeden was born and raised near Philadelphia. He earned undergraduate (1970) and master’s (1976) degrees in horticulture from Colorado State University, and his Ph.D. in plant pathology from the University of Rhode Island in 1980. He joined the University of Maryland faculty in 1980.
Over the course of his career, Dernoeden has received numerous honors for his contributions to turfgrass science and to the golf industry. He was named a fellow in the American Society of Agronomy in 2003 and in the Crop Science Society of America in 2007, the same year in which he was recognized as an outstanding researcher by the Northeastern Weed Science Society. In 2012, he received the Col. John Morley Distinguished Service Award from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, which is presented annually to an individual or individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of the profession.
Dr. Dernoeden retired from the University of Maryland in July 2013. He currently resides in Milton, Del. with his wife Kathleen.
The United States Golf Association has established a long history of fostering a healthier connection between the game and the environment. Through the work of its Green Section, which was established in 1920, the USGA has emerged as one of the world’s foremost authorities on research, development and promotion of environmentally friendly practices and a more sustainable game. With a professional staff dedicated to these efforts, the USGA is among the leading agencies in the U.S. devoted to golf course turf, its playing conditions and its management.
In 2012, the USGA announced its official support of a new policy statement by the International Golf Federation (IGF) that identifies sustainability as a fundamental priority of the global golf community. As a designated signatory organization for the United States, the USGA worked closely with other American golf organizations to formally endorse the IGF Statement on Sustainability and the principles it supports. The full text of the statement issued by the IGF and signed by governing bodies, golf associations and professional organizations representing more than 150 nations, can be viewed at www.internationalgolffederation.org