Greenkeeper wins award for mental health article

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir November 30, 2022 11:41

A US greenkeeper who wrote about his mental health issues and the support he received has won a national award for the article.

Peter J. Grass, CGCS, the golf course superintendent at Hilands Golf Club in Montana, has won the 2022 Leo Feser Award from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA), the body he was president of in 2016.

Now in its 45th year, the Leo Feser Award is presented annually to the author of the best superintendent-written article published in the GCSAA’s magazine in the previous year.

The story ‘I need help (and I don’t mean labor)’ or ‘On a course for mental health’ details Grass’ years-long struggles with stress and anxiety brought about by pressures on the golf course. It also explores what finally prompted him to seek help in dealing with those challenges.

Those steps included conversations with two members at Hilands Golf Club who work in the mental health space and, based on their recommendations, an exploration of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which focuses on increasing understanding of what matters that is within your control and ways to let go of stresses created by matters that are not within your control.

Peter Grass

“I am thankful and honoured to receive this award because it means my article meant something to others,” Grass said. “I wrote about my challenges to help others who may be struggling in some way, to encourage them to seek help to make their lives better at a much younger age than I did. I’m hopeful that openly sharing about myself will lead others to think about themselves, their situation and how our industry has many different stresses that we must navigate in a healthy manner.”

GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans said, “There is no questioning Pete’s dedication to this business and his longtime service to the industry at both the chapter and national levels. That he would continue to do that by sharing his deeply personal story is a credit to him as a person and a superintendent, and I congratulate him on being selected as the recipient of the 2022 Leo Feser Award.”
Grass will officially receive the award during the 2023 GCSAA Conference and Trade Show in Orlando. He will also have his name engraved on a plaque that is permanently displayed at GCSAA headquarters in Lawrence, Kan.

The Leo Feser Award honours the late Leo Feser, a pioneering golf course superintendent and a charter member of GCSAA. Feser is credited with keeping the association’s official publication alive during the Great Depression. The award was first presented in 1956 and has been given annually since 1977.

In 2019 we profiled Michael Davie, who set up the ‘Greenkeepers mental health support group’ on Facebook.


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir November 30, 2022 11:41
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