A Tribute To A True Master July 20, 2018 By Steve Kammerer, regional director, Southeast Region

Dr. Bruce Martin, Clemson University turf pathologist, has made a lasting positive impression on the golf course industry. He retired June 2018.

Dr. Bruce Martin – who has served as educator, researcher and extension professor for Clemson University – retired at the end of June. If there were a plant pathology hall of fame, certainly Dr. Martin would be inducted. His contributions to turf pathology and the golf industry will continue to have a lasting impact.

His talents, contributions and attributes deserve recognition:

Versatility –Dr. Martin was always actively engaged in the field as well as in the lab, functioning in both an extension and research capacity. Seeing that many of the samples coming into his lab had issues beyond diseases, he expanded his workload to include nematode analysis.

Communication – Dr. Martin communicated in a fashion that could be readily understood and he always included actionable takeaways. In his role, he was especially good at working with superintendents, product distributors, manufacturer representatives and extension agents – either one-on-one or in groups. There are many instances where Dr. Martin personally assisted in situations that needed expert diagnostics, conclusions to guide definitive actions, or when a colleague needed a letter of support.

Leadership – Dr. Martin is a leader. He created and blazed his own path upon arriving at Clemson. He expanded his responsibilities from studying an assortment of crops like tobacco and cotton to include turf. The research facility, his plots at the Pee Dee Experiment Station and his laboratory were developed through his efforts and ability to garner industry support.

Solutions-based approach – Many concepts in turf management that are now considered common knowledge were a direct result of Dr. Martin’s efforts. Geographically located in the heart of the coastal transition zone, where both creeping bentgrass and bermudagrass putting greens are common, he characterized and helped provide solutions for managing diseases such as the summer stress decline complexes, rapid blight, Pythium root rot and mini-ring (Rhizoctonia (Chrysorhiza) zeae).

Accessibility – Most notably, Dr. Martin always made time for people. Despite the urgency or volume of problems he may have been dealing with, he always answered or returned every phone call. Dr. Martin fields calls and requests for assistance from across the country and around the world.

Mentoring – Dr. Martin has mentored many people, from students to industry representatives and USGA agronomists. He encourages everyone to never stop learning and to share what they know. He was not only willing to share his expertise, he was a great listener and always made time for mentoring. Dr. Martin made a significant contribution to many people's lives, including my own.


Dr. Martin retired at the end of June 2018; but, as he will be quick to tell you, he is not gone and it's certain that he will not be forgotten.


Southeast Region Agronomists:

Chris Hartwiger, director, USGA Course Consulting Service –

Steve Kammerer, regional director –

Patrick M. O’Brien, agronomist –

Todd Lowe, agronomist –

Addison Barden, agronomist –

Information on the USGA’s Course Consulting Service

Contact the Green Section Staff

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