Recognizing individuals who demonstrate exceptional efforts in volunteerism, innovation and golf literature, the USGA has announced the 2023 recipients of its Annual Awards, including the Joe Dey Award, the Herbert Warren Wind Award and the Green Section Award.
Robin Farran is the recipient of this year’s Joe Dey Award in recognition of nearly 30 years of meritorious service to the game as a volunteer. “Bless•ed One,” by James Roth, has been selected as the winner of the USGA’s Herbert Warren Wind Award. Roch Gaussoin is the Green Section Award honoree for introducing new technologies and processes that advance putting green construction and management.
“The game of golf is better because of the knowledge and expertise of Robin, James and Roch,” said Mike Whan, CEO of the USGA. “Their contributions are helping to strengthen and advance the game for all who play – and the USGA is thrilled to showcase those efforts with this year’s Annual Awards.”
The USGA recognized the honorees at its Annual Awards Dinner in Napa, California.
Joe Dey Award – Robin Farran
Highly respected among peers for his dedication to Rules education and junior golf, Robin Farran of Chandler, Ariz., has helped grow the game over the course of 28 years of selfless service. Since attending his first PGA/USGA Rules of Golf Workshop in 1995, he has committed himself to helping others interpret the Rules by developing educational materials and officiating at more than 1,000 championships locally, nationally and abroad. Farran also regularly conducts junior clinics and has raised more than $140,000 for the Junior Golf Association of Arizona through its 100-Hole Marathon in an effort to ensure that golf continues to thrive for future generations.
Farran is widely recognized as an ambassador for the Rules of Golf and a strong reflection of the award’s namesake, Joseph C. Dey Jr., who served as the USGA’s executive director from 1934-1968 and as the first commissioner of the PGA Tour.
Herbert Warren Wind Award – James Roth, “Bless•ed One”
“Bless•ed One” is the powerful true story of Madalitso Muthiya, a teenager from an impoverished family in Zambia who became the first Black African to play in the U.S. Open Championship. An attorney and public affairs executive, Roth first met Madalitso and his father, Peter Muthiya, on a diplomatic mission to Zambia. The book follows Peter’s childhood in colonial Africa, where he developed his love of golf, Madalitso’s rise as a child prodigy in the sport, Roth’s efforts to help the young Zambian with a game Roth himself knew little about – from an introduction by Zambian President Frederick Chiluba, to obtaining a scholarship in the United States to qualifying for the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot Golf Club. This incomparable story will inspire generations to come by sharing lessons in resilience, focus and realizing dreams through hard work and vision.
The Herbert Warren Wind Award recognizes and honors outstanding contributions to golf literature. Roth’s book and Muthiya’s U.S. Open scorecards are currently on display at the USGA Golf Museum and Library, home to the world’s largest collection of golf books and periodicals, with more than 100,000 individual volumes.
USGA Green Section Award – Roch Gaussoin, Ph.D.
A professor and extension specialist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Roch Gaussoin has dedicated nearly 20 years to researching critical aspects of putting green construction and management. Gaussoin’s collaborative approach has also contributed to the improvement of buffalograss, a native low-maintenance grass that requires little irrigation, has few serious pests and could advance the sustainability of golf in some regions. Stakeholder surveys indicate a nearly 70 percent adoption of practices published by Gaussoin that reduce fossil fuel consumption and labor requirements. Gaussoin has been recognized with numerous awards, including the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America’s Distinguished Service Award, for providing practical and applicable research to the golf industry.
Given annually since 1961, the USGA Green Section Award honors distinguished service to golf through an individual’s work with turfgrass.