Industry News

N.D. State’s Blank wins GCSAA award

Chad Blank wins top award in GCSAA Scholars Competition

Nineteen students were selected to receive scholarships

Lawrence, Kan. (Sept. 10, 2019) – Chad Blank, a student at North Dakota State University, is the winner of the Mendenhall Award of $6,000 in the 2019 Scholars Competition offered through the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA).

The GCSAA Scholars Competition is primarily funded by the Robert Trent Jones Endowment and administered by the Environmental Institute for Golf, GCSAA's philanthropic organization. It was developed to recognize outstanding students planning careers in golf course management.

These scholarships range from $500 to $6,000. Applicants must be enrolled in a recognized undergraduate program in a major field related to turf management, have completed at least 24 credit hours or the equivalent of one year of full-time study in the appropriate major, and be a member of GCSAA.

Originally of Miltona, Minn., Blank grew up surrounded by the golf management industry. He gained experience operating a golf course through assisting his parents, Thomas and Patrice Blank, who own and operate Lake Miltona Golf Club. It sparked Blank’s interest and he decided to follow a similar career path during his time as a college student.

Blank graduated from Alexandria Area High School in 2016 before attending business school at the University of Minnesota. When he realized his passion for turfgrass management and a desire for a more specific degree, he transferred to NDSU. Blank is majoring in horticulture with an emphasis in sports and urban turfgrass management from the Department of Plant Sciences, with a minor in economics.

Blank has interned for Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn., and The Maidstone Club in East Hampton, N.Y. He conducted routine daily maintenance, improvement projects, taught seasonal workers and gained hands-on experience with championship conditioning. In July 2019, Blank began an internship with the USGA in the San Francisco Bay Area.

"Winning the Mendenhall Award means everything to me,” said Chad Blank. "It is humbling to know this benefits the next generation of golf course managers and that there is a focus on assisting students. This will inspire me to become a more active member.”

The top award in the Scholars Competition is named for the late Chet Mendenhall, who was a charter member of GCSAA, a past president (1948) and recipient of the association’s Distinguished Service Award (1986).

Daniel R. Allison of Greenville, Pa., who attends Penn State University received the second-place award of $3,000 known as the MacCurrach Award. It is named in honor of the late Allan MacCurrach, who became the PGA Tour’s first staff agronomist in 1974 and was the GCSAA Distinguished Service Award winner in 1997. The PGA Tour funds this award. Blank and Allison will also receive all-expenses-paid trips to the 2020 Golf Industry Show, Jan. 25-30, in Orlando.

Selection criteria for this program include academic excellence, work experience, extracurricular activities and potential to become a leading professional in the golf course management industry.

"GCSAA is committed to supporting our student members’ ventures in golf course management," said GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans. "We wish each student much success in the pursuit of their education and future careers."

Scholarship winners:

Mendenhall Award winner - $6,000

Chad T. Blank, Miltona, Minn.

University: North Dakota State University

MacCurrach Award winner - $3,000

Daniel R. Allison, Greenville, Pa.

University: Penn State University

Ambassador Award winner - $2,000

Ismael R. Herruzo Delgado, Spain

University: Michigan State University

Scholars Award winner - $2,500

Jason L. Dutton, Manhattan, Kan.

University: Kansas State University

Scholars Award winner -$2,000

Cody Sanders, Gaithersburg, Md.

University: Penn State University

Scholars Award winners- $1,500

Paul J. Baich, Hamburg, N.Y.

University: Penn State University

Matthew A. Becker, Savage, Minn.

University: North Dakota State University

Ethan D. Brackey, Lexington, Minn.

University: Rutgers University

Scholars Award winners- $1,000

Spencer H. Hoffman, Coloma, Mich.

University: Penn State University

Timothy P. Missimer, Dayton, Ohio

College: Clark State Community College

Alexander C. Scott, Richland, Mich.

University: Rutgers University

Merit Award winners - $750

Ryan Caughey, Marshfield, Mass.

University: University of Massachusetts at Amherst Stockbridge

Kevan McDonald, Dunkirk, N.Y.

University: Penn State University

Hattie E. Spies, Muscatine, Iowa.

University: Iowa State University

Nicholas K. Worley, Birch Run, Mich.

University: Michigan State University

Merit Award winners - $500

Ernesto Alvarez-Guzman, Mexico

College: College of the Desert

Austin W. Northern, Colorado Springs, Colo.

University: Colorado State University

Vikas K. Pandey, India

University: Penn State University

Cameron K. Wyatt, Australia

University: Michigan State University

About GCSAA and the EIFG
The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) is a leading golf organization in the United States. Its focus is on golf course management, and since 1926 GCSAA has been the top professional association for the men and women who manage golf courses in the U.S. and worldwide. From its headquarters in Lawrence, Kan., the association provides education, information and representation to more than 18,000 members in more than 78 countries. The association’s mission is to serve its members, advance their profession and enhance the enjoyment, growth and vitality of the game of golf. Visit GCSAA at, or find us on Facebook or Twitter. Visit our industry-leading magazine at

The Environmental Institute for Golf is the philanthropic organization of the GCSAA. Its mission is to foster sustainability through research, awareness, education, programs and scholarships for the benefit of golf course management professionals, golf facilities and the game. Visit EIFG at, or find us on Facebook or Twitter.

Angela Hartmann, Director Marketing and Communications
Phone: 800-472-7878, ext. 3647 or 785-393-1361 (cell)