John Lawrence, director of strategic golf for The Toro Company and friend to many golf course architects, has been chosen as the 2022 winner of the ASGCA Donald Ross Award. The award, given annually since 1976, is given to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the game of golf and the profession of golf course design. He will be presented to Lawrence at the ASGCA Annual Meeting in Providence, Rhode Island on Oct. 3 at the Donald Ross Banquet.
Lawrence has spent his entire career working in and around golf, starting as a Toro distributor for North and South Carolina, EJ Smith and Sons Company. When the company split, Lawrence stayed with the new company, Smith Turf and Irrigation, which focused on the professional side of the Toro irrigation distribution business and led him to develop relationships with golf course superintendents, owners, developers and architects.
He eventually came to work for The Toro Company when Turf Care Products, another Toro distributor he ran, was sold to Toro in the early 2000s. Lawrence, in his work on the professional side of irrigation, was framed by Toro Dr Jim Watson, who taught him the benefits of working closely with universities with turf programs, golf course superintendents and golf course architects. He also learned the importance of relationship building from fellow mentor (and 2005 Donald Ross Award winner), Toro’s John Singleton.
Lawrence’s work with ASGCA members and ASGCA as a whole uniquely connects him to the golf course architect profession. He divides his time at Toro between his strategic role in golf and the Toro Corporate Accounts team, which is responsible for managing many of Toro’s key golf course customers around the world. Toro’s business model encourages relationship building, and Lawrence has spent his time over the past two decades traveling from golf project to golf project around the world to support the work of golf course architects.
“A young architect might consider John Lawrence as just a strategic name to add to his contact list. But describing John as ‘a good networking partner’ only scratches the surface,” the ASGCA President said. Jason Straka said. “John is the epitome of what the Donald Ross Prize was created to honour. He has truly made a significant contribution to the game and the profession due to his ability to find the missing piece to complete a project and, most importantly, to help an architect or a friend in need.
“It looks like he knows everyone; more than once I’ve been stuck on a project and a call to John led to a solution. I’m proud to call him my friend, and I know that’s true for dozens of people in this industry. The night we present the Donald Ross Award to John will be special. »
Lawrence has been instrumental in providing knowledge, networking and support to ASGCA since being hired by The Toro Company. One of his first ASGCA projects was to bring Toro sponsorship to Remodeling University, an early 2000s series of “short course to better course” seminars held nationally to educate stakeholders golf courses on how to plan and execute successful renovations. The firm has also, with Lawrence’s active participation, organized three educational seminars for ASGCA members (two at Toro headquarters, one at the University of Notre Dame), sponsored four international architectural study tours and , through the Toro Foundation, funded several ASGCA publications books (on environmental development, water, and remodeling ROI) and supported ASGCA’s Forward Tee initiative.
The Donald Ross Award is not the first time the ASGCA has recognized Lawrence’s contributions to the organization and the profession: he is also a three-time Presidential Citation recipient and was the first non-ASGCA member invited to sit on the board of directors of the ASGCA Foundation.
The Donald Ross Award is presented by the ASGCA Awards Committee, co-chaired by ASGCA Past Presidents Steve SmyersASGCA and Rees JonesASGCA Fellow (2013 Donald Ross Award recipient).
Donald Ross Award Past Recipients
2021: Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore, ASGCA, Golf Course Architects
2020: Renee Powell, golf pioneer/player/course owner
2019: Joe Passov, golf writer
2018: President George Herbert Walker Bush, US President
2017: Alice Dye, ASGCA Fellow, Golf Course Architect
2016: Michael Bamberger, golf writer
2015 : Bradley S. Klein, golf writer
2014 : Major Dan Rooney, founder of the Folds of Honor Foundation
2013: Rees Jones, ASGCA, Golf Course Architect
2012: Bill Kubly, golf course builder
2011: James Dodson, golf writer/editor
2010: Tim Finchem, PGA Tour Commissioner
2009: Ron Dodson, Sustainable Golf Advocate
2008: George Peper, golf writer
2007: Dr. Michael Hurdzan, ASGCA, Golf Course Architect
2006: Jim Awtrey, General Manager, PGA of America
2005: John Singleton, irrigation pioneer
2004 : Thomas Cousins, philanthropist, urban golf developer
2003: Bill Campbell, President, USGA, Captain, Royal & Ancient Golf Club
2002: Byron Nelson, professional golfer
2001: Jack Nicklaus, ASGCA, professional golfer, golf course architect
2000: Jaime Ortiz-Patino, Owner and President, Valderrama Golf Club
1999: Arnold Palmer, professional golfer
1998: Judy Bell, President, USGA
1997 : Gene Sarazen, professional golfer
1996: Ron Whitten, golf writer
1995: Pete Dye, ASGCA, Golf Course Architect
1994: James R. Watson, agronomist
1993: Brent Wadsworth, golf course builder
1992: Paul Fullmer, ASGCA Executive Secretary
1991: Michael Bonallack, Secretary, Royal & Ancient Golf Club
1990 : John Zoller, Executive Director, Golf Association of Northern California
1989: Dick Taylor, Editor, “Golf World” magazine
1988: Frank Hannigan, Executive Director, USGA
1987: Charles Price, Writer, Golf World Magazine
1986: Deane Beman, Commissioner, PGA Tour
1985: Peter Dobereiner, London Observer columnist, author
1984: Dinah Shore, sponsor of the women’s golf tournaments
1983: Al Radko, Director, USGA Green Section
1982: Geoffrey Cornish, ASGCA, golf course architect, historian
nineteen eighty one : James Rhodes, Governor of Ohio
1980: Gerald Micklem, Captain, Royal & Ancient
1979: Joe Dey, Executive Director, USGA
1978: Herb and Joe Graffis, Founders, National Golf Foundation
1977: Herbert Warren Wind, “The New Yorker” columnist, author
1976: Robert Trent Jones, ASGCA, founding member of the ASGCA