The USGA has announced the recipients of its Annual Awards, which includes Bob Farren, director of golf course management at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club, as the Green Section Award honoree for serving as a leader in sustainable golf course maintenance practices.
A highly regarded leader in golf course management, Robert Farren Jr. began his storied 45-year career in golf course management in 1979. Three years later, he joined Pinehurst Resort & Country Club and advanced to his current role as director of golf course management in 2001. Since that time, Farren has been a principal force behind a dedicated effort to restore Pinehurst’s historic course architecture while advancing the environmental and economic sustainability of its now 11-course footprint.
Those efforts have included reducing more than 40 acres of irrigated turf in favor of signature sandscapes that feature native wiregrass, converting greens and fairways to more drought-tolerant turfgrasses, eliminating resource-intensive overseeding throughout the property, and championing training for his team. He was also a principal founding partner of the Greenkeeper Apprenticeship Program, launched in the Pinehurst area last year with the USGA and Sandhills Community College to provide education and mentorship for golf course maintenance workers. Through Farren’s tenure, Pinehurst has become a beacon for innovation and a successful testing ground for advanced, data-driven maintenance practices and on-course learning for superintendents, agronomists and others.
Among the 11 USGA championships Farren has worked at Pinehurst, one of his team’s most significant agronomic accomplishments was in delivering a consistent playing experience for the unprecedented back-to-back 2014 U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open in consecutive weeks on Pinehurst’s iconic Course No. 2.
Pinehurst No. 2 will host the U.S. Open in June.
Presented annually since 1961, the USGA Green Section Award honors distinguished service to golf through an individual’s work with turfgrass.
“This year we celebrate barrier-breakers, innovators and individuals who have witnessed – and overcome – great challenges in their respective fields of the game,” said Mike Whan, CEO of the USGA. “We recognize the incredible accomplishments of Lee, Bob and Ashley and are thrilled to have them as our Annual Award honorees this year.”
The USGA is honoring three individuals for their significant contributions for the good of the game in the areas of volunteerism, turfgrass advancement and golf literature.
With Farren, E. Lee Coble, of Richmond, Va., is the recipient of this year’s Joe Dey Award for his decades-long service to golf and for fostering a more inclusive game. “Serving Herself: The Life and Times of Althea Gibson,” by Ashley Brown, Ph.D., has been selected as the winner of the USGA’s Herbert Warren Wind Award.
The USGA will recognize the recipients at its Annual Awards Dinner in Nashville, Tenn., on Saturday, March 2, during the organization’s Annual Meeting.