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John Bladon posthumously named winner of CGSA’s John B. Steel Award

Bladon's contributions to the turf industry were felt by many

January 17, 2024  By Turf & Rec

John Bladon
     The late John Bladon, principal of Guelph-based The Chimera Group/Turf Prophit, has been named the 2023 recipient of the Canadian Golf Superintendents Association’s John B. Steel Distinguished Service Award.
     The award commemorates the CGSA’s first president, who was also the first superintendent to be inducted into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame. The Steel award is presented annually to an individual, chosen by the CGSA board of directors, who has made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of the profession of golf course superintendent. The recipient is presented with an original soap stone carving designed and carved by Bill Fach, retired master superintendent, and a past CGSA president.
     The award will be accepted on behalf of John by his wife Sabrina, who will receive an “all-access” registration to The Canadian Golf Course Management Conference which will be held at the Hotel Bonaventure in Montreal, Feb, 27-29, 2024. The award includes four nights’ accommodation and transportation costs.  The award will be presented on Tuesday, Feb. 27th during the awards ceremony.
     Bladon, who passed away in November, was a member of the CGSA since 1994. His early years were spent at the Guelph Arboretum, where he learned from his father, Michael, who served as the head groundskeeper. During his teenage years, he was part of the maintenance team at Guelph’s Cutten Fields and later graduated from the turfgrass diploma program at the University of Guelph’s Ontario Agriculture College in 1991.
     Throughout his career, he worked in various aspects of the industry, including superintendent roles, sales, and consulting. He has held positions such as grow-in superintendent at Port Carling Golf Club and Guelph Lakes. Additionally, he gained experience in sales across Canada before becoming an independent consulting agronomist at The Chimera Group in 2011.
     In his consulting role, Bladon worked closely with golf course superintendents across Canada, offering expertise in areas such as sustainability, agronomy, design and construction, and business development. One of his significant contributions to the industry was the development of Turf Prophit, a proprietary cost analysis software specifically tailored to the unique needs of golf course management. This innovative tool provided valuable insights and data-driven solutions, empowering golf course professionals to make informed decisions to optimize their operations. Turf Prophit quickly became recognized as a valuable asset within the industry, further solidifying his reputation as a forward-thinking leader in golf course management.
     “What a pleasure it is to announce that the late John Bladon is the winner of our most prestigious award,” Dustin Zdan, AGS, CGSA president, said. “John was nominated for this award by several members and with his passing, the industry has lost a great resource to so many superintendents and assistants, but most of all they lost a mentor and a friend. John passionately believed in a strong association, and his contributions to the turfgrass industry were felt by many. I am glad we can honour his memory with our members through this award.”
     Sabrina Bladon, speaking on behalf of John, conveyed, “John was committed to enhancing the golf course industry, driven by passion rather than mere career aspirations. I am honoured to accept this award on his behalf.”

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