Industry News

Helmut Ullrich named recipient of GCSAA’s Edwin Budding Award

Ullrich retired from The Toro Co. in 2020 after serving the company for 46 years

Lawrence, Kan. (Jan. 25, 2022) ­­­­– Helmut Ullrich, retired senior product manager for The Toro Co., is the winner of the 2021 Edwin Budding Award from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA).

The Edwin Budding Award, named for the inventor of the lawn mower, is given annually to an equipment manager or related innovator, technician or engineer who has made a significant impact in the golf course and turf industry.

Ullrich Helmut

Ullrich, a native of Germany, received an undergraduate degree in agricultural engineering from the State College of Germany and obtained his master’s degree in business from the University of Minnesota. Ullrich joined Toro Co.’s international group in 1974 as a European field service manager. In 1980, after a corporate restructuring, Ullrich transitioned to the role of product manager with the responsibility of managing the commercial division product portfolio.

“When GCSAA President Mark Jordan called me about winning the Budding Award, I was in complete awe. It was totally unexpected. It made me feel appreciated and gratified for all the hard work during my career at Toro,” Ullrich said. “At the same time, I must say that I could not have accomplished this without the support of a talented team.”

While working at The Toro Co., Ullrich made many groundbreaking achievements in product development and was a significant part of product innovation. He worked for Toro for 46 years before retiring from his role as a senior product manager in October 2020.

“He has been instrumental in shaping Toro and the industry with his work on golf course maintenance equipment,” said Tony Fergus, Toro senior product marketing manager. “His focus and dedication have built his legacy as synonymous with green mowers.”

In 1986, Ullrich was asked to focus his efforts on golf course equipment, including fairway mowers and greens mowers. This line of equipment was previously not profitable, and it was up to Ullrich to turn that around. He applied his engineering and business education, and within a couple of years, he improved the financial situation and established a positive trajectory, which continues today.

“GCSAA members have benefitted from the positive impact Helmut Ullrich has made on the golf course maintenance industry,” GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans said. “Ullrich’s contributions are remarkable and will continue to influence the industry well into the future. Congratulations to him for this well-deserved recognition.”

Ullrich will formally receive the Budding Award at the 2022 GCSAA Conference and Trade Show in San Diego.

The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) is a leading golf organization in the United States. Its focus is on golf course management, and since 1926 GCSAA has been the top professional association for the men and women who manage golf courses in the U.S. and worldwide. From its headquarters in Lawrence, Kan., the association provides education, information and representation to nearly 19,000 members in more than 78 countries. The association’s mission is to serve its members, advance their profession and enhance the enjoyment, growth and vitality of the game of golf. Visit GCSAA at or find us on Facebook or Twitter. Visit our industry-leading magazine at

The GCSAA Foundation is the philanthropic organization of the GCSAA. Its mission is to secure funding and support to strengthen advocacy, education, and research that advances the work of golf course management professionals. Visit the Foundation at

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