There isn’t much that multi-billionaire Herb Kohler Jr. hasn’t accomplished in 77 years on this planet. Aside from the global manufacturing company that bears his name, Kohler is a designer, inventor, philanthropist and mega-successful business developer.
He’s also an icon in the game of golf and has been contributing to the sport in various ways for decades. He recently added another honor to his seemingly never-ending list of accomplishments: the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America’s (GCSAA) highest honor, the Old Tom Morris Award.
The award was presented to Kohler during the opening ceremony of February’s Golf Industry Show in San Diego. It’s been presented annually by the GCSAA since 1983 to an individual who has helped mold the welfare of the game of golf in a manner and style exemplified by Old Tom Morris — a four-time British Open winner and the longtime superintendent at St Andrews in Scotland until his death in 1908.
“I’m honored and I sincerely thank the GCSAA for this award,” Kohler said during the ceremony. “I’m delighted and I’ve always been grateful to golf course superintendents. Old Tom was a great man … an entrepreneur, an influence in the creation of the Open Championship, a designer of golf balls and clubs and some of the best courses in the world. He was the first official keeper of the greens.”
During the ceremony, Kohler said his inspiration to build a golf course was “thanks to a suggestion box submission at the American Club Resort.”
Kohler hired famed architect Pete Dye to build four courses at two championship venues — Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wisconsin, and Whistling Straits in Haven, Wisconsin. In 2004, he purchased the Old Course Hotel Golf Resort and Spa in St Andrews.