Clemson turfgrass pathologist wins top national academic award
FLORENCE — A Clemson University turfgrass pathologist is this year’s recipient of the Fred V. Grau Turfgrass Science Award, the top academic award for a turfgrass faculty member.
Bruce Martin, research and Extension turfgrass pathologist for South Carolina, was nominated for the award by Beth Guertal, Auburn University professor of turfgrass and nutrient management. Guertal has known Martin for about 10 years. She said she nominated Martin “because he is incredibly deserving” and is well-respected by those in the turfgrass industry.
“Dr. Martin in an invaluable resource to the turfgrass industry,” Guertal said. “Every superintendent knows exactly who is being reference when another one says: ‘Well, I don’t know, what does Dr. Martin say?’ Everyone trusts Dr. Martin’s advice.”
Martin said he is honored to receive this award. The award will be presented during the Annual Meeting of the American Science of Agronomy, the Crop Science Society of America and the Soil Science Society of America, in October in Tampa, Florida.
“I am honored and humbled by the award particularly as the recognition is from my peers in the turf research community through the C5 Division of the Crop Science Society of America,” Martin said. “I also would like to thank Clemson for allowing me to specialize in turf pathology and make an impact for the South Carolina turfgrass industry.”
Matt Smith, director of the Clemson University Pee Dee Research and Education Center (REC) in Florence where Martin is located, said Martin’s turfgrass research is world renowned. Martin holds turfgrass field days attended by golf course superintendents from all across the globe.
“Dr. Martin’s (turfgrass) program is without a doubt one of the most distinguishing characteristics of the Pee Dee REC,” Smith said. “Golf course superintendents from around the world know him and respect his work. Dr. Martin is one of the nicest guys to work with. He’s at the top of the game.”
Smith said that in addition to being a top researcher, Martin also is an extraordinary professor.
“He could be the model of a well-rounded professor in a land-grant university,” Smith said. “He excels at meeting the mission of land-grant universities, which is threefold: teaching, research and Extension.”
Tim Kreger, executive director of the Carolinas Golf Course Superintendents Association, also said Martin’s advice is revered in the turfgrass industry. Kreger spoke highly of Martin, saying he has been instrumental in putting the Carolinas’ golf course industry at the forefront of emerging technologies in turfgrass disease management.
“I can speak from a wealth of first-hand experience regarding discussions in the Carolinas who say Dr. Martin has helped them in their work and, in some cases, even ‘saved’ their courses,” Kreger said. “We have GCSA members at more than 80 percent of all golf courses in the Carolinas and Dr. Martin is highly regarded at every one of them.”
Bert McCarty, also a Clemson horticulture science professor renowned for turfgrass research, commends Martin on his achievement. McCarty received the Fred V. Grau Turfgrass Science Award and was named a Crop Science Society of America fellow in 2014.
“This award is recognized as the top academic award for a turfgrass faculty member, somewhat analogous to the Heisman Trophy in college football,” McCarty said. “On behalf of Dr. Martin, we express our sincere appreciation to all individuals and groups who made this possible and trust future endeavors will bring similar recognition to our great industry.”