Lawrence, Kansas, United States: Charles ‘Chuck’ Totten is the winner of the 2017 Edwin Budding Award from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA).
The Edwin Budding Award, named for the inventor of the lawn mower and presented in partnership with Jacobsen, is given annually to an equipment manager or related innovator, technician, educator or engineer who has made a significant impact in the golf and turf business.
The equipment manager at Westmoreland Country Club in Wilmette, Illinois, Totten has more than 30 years in the industry, and his dedication to his career has often been expressed through his service to his fellow equipment managers.
He is a past president and current board member of the Turf Equipment Technicians Association, which is headquartered in his native Illinois. He has also been a mentor for dozens of golf course equipment technicians and equipment managers in the Chicago area.
“There is more to this profession than just moving wrenches,” said Totten, whose career has spanned public, private and high-end golf facilities. “I try to teach the younger ones all the things I’ve been through, and to give them a better understanding of everything that goes on in the industry.”
Bill H. Maynard, GCSAA President and a certified golf course superintendent, said: “Chuck has not only been a huge proponent of education for equipment managers, but he’s actively helping the next generation of equipment managers forward their careers. His efforts have made a great impact on the industry, and he is most deserving of the recognition of the Budding Award.”
Totten had originally planned on a career in the agriculture industry while a student at Kankakee Community College. However, it was working in San Antonio building houses in the early 1980s that led him to golf.
When the oil market crashed and halted the Texas housing boom, his next job offer was on a Texas golf course. He loved the game and kept advancing in the golf industry, eventually returning to his home state. Three decades later, Totten remains passionate about his work, and even in winning the Budding Award, his thoughts are still on his peers.
“I couldn’t believe I won,” said Totten. “I know so many technicians all over the United States who are highly qualified. Any one of them would deserve this honour, so I am pretty proud of it.”
Todd Fyffe, a 13-year GCSAA member, began working with Totten as the assistant superintendent at Westmoreland, but their working relationship expanded when Fyffe was promoted to superintendent in 2012.
“Everyone at Westmoreland has a great deal of respect for Chuck,” Fyffe said. “He brings this old school experience, but he’s always open to trying something new and he always delivers.”
Totten will formally receive the award at the 2018 Golf Industry Show in San Antonio, where he will be recognised at the Opening Night Celebration on February 6, along with other GCSAA national award winners.
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