CLEMSON – Clemson University’s turfgrass maestro Bert McCarty has another honor to add to his slate of accolades.

Bert McCarty wins Carolina Golf Course Superintendents Association's highest honor.

Bert McCarty wins Carolina Golf Course Superintendents Association’s highest honor.
Image Credit: Carolina Golf Course Superintendents Association

McCarty, a turfgrass science and management professorin Clemson’s Plant and Environmental Sciences Department, received the 2018 Distinguished Service Award from the Carolinas Golf Course Superintendents Association during a special ceremony in Myrtle Beach November 14. This award is the association’s highest honor. Carlyle Brewster, Plant and Environmental Sciences Department chair, said receiving this award is testament to McCarty’s research expertise and devotion to the turfgrass industry.

“We are very proud of Dr. McCarty,” Brewster said. “His achievements are making positive impacts on our students, on the turfgrass industry and on our state.”

Rob Daniel, association president, said McCarty is an excellent choice for this award.

“Bert McCarty is a giant in his field, not just in the Carolinas but across the country and overseas,” Daniel said. “No one will be surprised by this news. If anything, they might wonder why it didn’t happen long ago, because Bert has been providing distinguished service for as long as many of us can remember.”

McCarty is well-known on the golf course superintendent’s circuit. He is a frequent speaker at regional, national and international events. He also has authored or co-authored 15 books, as well as hundreds of book chapters, journal articles and research reports, and almost 600 scientific presentations and abstracts. In one of his latest ventures, McCarty partnered with renowned botanist, David Hall, to write Common Weeds and Wildflowers. This book is a compilation of the major weeds and wildflowers found in gardens, roadsides, pastures, fields, golf courses, sports fields, lawns, crops, ornamentals and sod production. McCarty received the American Science of Agronomy Extension Educational Award for Common Weeds and Wildflowers on November 7 during the Education and Extension Section of the 2018 ASA Business Meeting in Baltimore.

In addition, McCarty also has written Golf Turf Management, which includes 16 chapters covering turfgrass species and cultivars currently available, their physiological characteristics, basic course design considerations, establishment, maintenance, and integrated pest management. Additional chapters cover soil physical and chemical properties, irrigation water quality and quantity, plant nutrition and turf fertilizers, diseases, insects, weeds, PGRs, nematodes, pesticide use and calibration, and key personnel and budget management.

In addition, McCarty is a coordinating author of the landmark Best Management Practices for Carolina Golf Courses published by the association in 2015. In 2010 and 2013, his works received the Notable State Document Award from the South Carolina State Documents Depository System from over 3,000 entries each year.

Living in South Carolina gives McCarty an excellent canvas on which to paint his turfgrass prowess. With hundreds of golf courses located throughout North and South Carolina, the Carolinas’ golf industry has an overall impact of more than $7 billion each year. Tim Kreger, Carolinas Golf Course Superintendents Association executive director, said McCarty’s research helps North and South Carolina maintain this economic powerhouse.

“It’s very easy to make a case that Bert McCarty’s career is one of the reasons we can bank on this economic benefit year after year,” Kreger said. “He makes the game better from below ground level through his research, and from above, through his teaching and support of future and current superintendents.”

McCarty was raised in Batesburg and graduated from Clemson University with a bachelor’s degree in agronomy and soils. He graduated from North Carolina State University with a master’s degree in crop science (turfgrass management) from North Carolina State University, before returning to Clemson where he graduated with doctoral degree in plant physiology and plant pathology. Upon graduation, McCarty served nine years as a professor of turfgrass science before coming back to Clemson. Today, he is among the most decorated members of his field in the entire United States.

In addition to the 2018 Distinguished Service Award from the 1,800-member Carolinas Golf Course Superintendents Association, other honors given McCarty include being selected as a Fellow by the American Society of Agronomy in 2016. He received the Fred Grau Award as the top national and international turfgrass science researcher from Crop Science Society of America in 2014. In addition, he also is a Societal Fellow, the highest recognition the society bestows. In 2012, he won the prestigious Godley-Snell Award for Excellence as the top agriculture researcher at Clemson University, and is a three-time winner of Clemson’s Board of Trustees Award for Excellence.

“I am honored and humbled to receive this award from the Carolinas Golf Course Superintendents Association,” McCarty said. “I’m thankful to my mother who nurtured my interest in biology and my father who instilled in me the importance of education.”

The Carolinas Golf Course Superintendents Association was formed in 1954 to further the profession of the golf course superintendent in North and South Carolina. With around 1,800 members, the association is the largest affiliated chapter of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America. Its mission is to “…provide its members the opportunity to excel professionally and enhance the game of golf through responsible turfgrass management.”

In addition to the CGCSA’s Distinguished Service Award, McCarty also received the American Science of Agronomy Extension Educational Award for his book, Common Weeds and Wildflowers, which he co-wrote with Peter Tomlinson of Kansas State University. This award was given November 7 during the Education and Extension Section of the 2018 ASA Business Meeting in Baltimore.

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