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Chuck Totten wins 2017 Edwin Budding Award from GCSAA

The three-year GCSAA member’s long career as an equipment manager has been focused on service to his profession and mentoring others.


Equipment manager
The Edwin Budding Award winner is chosen by the GCSAA Board of Directors and receives the award at the annual Golf Industry Show. Photo by Montana Pritchard

Charles “Chuck” Totten, the equipment manager at Westmoreland Country Club in Wilmette, Ill., is the winner of the 2017 Edwin Budding Award from 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.

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 professional than just moving wrenches,” says 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.”

“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,” says Bill H. Maynard, CGCS, GCSAA president and director of golf course maintenance operations at the Country Club of St. Albans (Mo.). “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 had planned on a career in the agriculture industry while a student at Kankakee (Ill.) Community College. However, it was building houses in San Antonio 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 on his peers.

“I couldn’t believe I won,” Totten says. “I know so many technicians all over the United States who are highly qualified. Any one of them would deserve this honor, so I am pretty proud of it.”

Todd Fyffe, a 13-year GCSAA member, was the assistant superintendent at Westmoreland when he began working with Totten, and their working relationship expanded when Fyffe was promoted to superintendent in 2012.

“Everyone at Westmoreland has a great deal of respect for Chuck,” Fyffe says. “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 recognized at the Opening Night Celebration on Feb. 6, along with other GCSAA national award winners.

View the complete list of past Edwin Budding Award recipients.