Bill Murray wins GCSAA Col. John Morley Award

This pinnacle GCSAA award recognizes a significant contribution to the advancement of the golf course superintendent’s profession


William Murray

William “Bill” Murray, retired superintendent and 27-year member of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA), has been named the recipient of the association’s 2024 Col. John Morley Award. He will be formally recognized on Feb. 1 during the Send-Off Celebration at the GCSAA Conference and Trade Show in Phoenix.

The award, named after GCSAA’s founder, was elevated to GCSAA’s pinnacle level alongside the Old Tom Morris Award in 2021 and is presented annually to an individual who is, or has been, a GCSAA Class A or B superintendent member and has made a significant contribution to the advancement of the golf course superintendent’s profession. The Old Tom Morris Award is presented to those outside GCSAA membership who have helped mold the welfare of the game.

Murray spent the final 26 years of his career in the seven-course Monmouth County (N.J.) Park System before retiring in 2022. Prior to that the Lee, Mass. native spent time at courses in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey.

“Bill is a prime example of what Col. John Morley stood for and what the Morley Award is all about,” said GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans. “Throughout his long and successful career, he has given back so much to the profession through his service to his fellow GCSAA members on both the local and national level. He is truly worthy of the award, and we congratulate him.”

Murray’s history of giving back and helping others in the profession is long and storied. He is currently wrapping up a two-year term on GCSAA’s Political Action Committee and has served on numerous national GCSAA task groups and committees over the years, including the scholarship, member relations, communications/outreach and more. He’s also served as a GCSAA Grassroots Ambassador advocating for the game and as a chapter delegate, representing his chapter at the Chapter Delegates Meeting and Annual Meeting and Election. He served as a Chapter Delegate from 2011 and 2019, visiting GCSAA headquarters annually for meetings to benefit members.

“The first time I got out to (GCSAA headquarters), it blew my mind,” Murray said. “I thought, ‘I want to be a part of this association,’ so I got on all the committees I could. It is such a great industry and I wanted to do everything I could to represent it.”

Murray’s influence was not just felt at the national level serving members across the country, but he made a difference at the local level as well. He spent 17 years on the Golf Course Superintendents Association of New Jersey (GCSANJ) board of directors, including two as president and is currently a trustee of the GCSANJ Foundation.

Murray was recognized as the GCSANJ Member of the Year in 2009 and won the Shaun Barry Distinguished Service Award in 2019. When professional golf events are held in the area, Murray is a regular volunteer assisting host superintendents during tournament week.

Murray knew early in his life he wanted to be a part of the golf industry. He grew up loving the game after he was introduced to it by his father. After studying agriculture at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, he interned at Shore Haven Golf Club in Norwalk, Conn., and his storied career was off and running.

Murray said he is looking forward to being at the GCSAA Conference and Trade Show to receive his award.

“I have been thinking about that,” he said. “It will be fun. I don’t need the spotlight on me, but it will be nice seeing some old friends from across the country. That will be the nicest part of the whole thing.”

Read more about Murray and his career in the January issue of GCM magazine.