Toro’s John Lawrence to receive ASGCA Donald Ross Award

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    John Lawrence (third from left) with ASGCA leaders at the 2019 ASGCA Annual Meeting in Arizona

Toby Ingleton
By Toby Ingleton

The American Society of Golf Course Architects will present its Donald Ross Award to John Lawrence, director of strategic golf at Toro, at its 2020 Annual Meeting in Providence, Rhode Island.

The award has been given annually since 1976 to a person who has made a significant contribution to the game of golf and the profession of golf course architecture.

Lawrence, who started his career with Toro distributor EJ Smith and Sons and subsequently Smith Turf and Irrigation, joined Toro when Turf Care Products, another distributor he led, was acquired by Toro in the early 2000s. His mentors include Toro’s Dr Jim Watson and John Singleton, who received the Donald Ross Award in 2005.

“A young architect might view John Lawrence as merely a strategic name to add to their list of contacts. But describing John as ‘a good networking partner’ barely scratches the surface,” said ASGCA president Jason Straka. “John is the epitome of what the Donald Ross Award was created to honour. He truly has made a significant contribution to the game and the profession because of his ability to find that missing piece to move a project to success, and most importantly to help an architect or friend in need.

“It seems like he knows everyone; more than once I’ve been stuck on a project and a call to John has led to a solution. I’m proud to call him my friend, and I know that’s true for scores of people in this industry. The night we give John the Donald Ross Award is going to be special.”

Lawrence has been instrumental in bringing knowledge, networking and support to ASGCA. One of his first ASGCA projects was to bring Toro sponsorship to Remodeling University, an early-2000s “short course to a better course” seminar series conducted nationwide to educate golf course stakeholders on how to plan and execute successful remodels. The company has also, with Lawrence’s active involvement, organised three educational seminars for ASGCA members (two at Toro headquarters, one at University of Notre Dame), sponsored four international architectural study tours, and, through the Toro Foundation, funded several ASGCA-published books (on environmental development, water, and the ROI of remodelling), and supported ASGCA’s Forward Tee Initiative.

ASGCA has previously recognised Lawrence’s contributions to the organisation through three Presidential Citation wins and as the first non-ASGCA member to be invited to sit on the ASGCA Foundation Board of Directors.

The Donald Ross Award presentation will take place during the Donald Ross Banquet on 3 October.