UACES Facebook Daniel O’Brien presents Arkansas turfgrass research on world stage
skip to main content

Daniel O’Brien presents Arkansas turfgrass research on world stage

Feb. 27, 2024

By Lauren Sutherland
University of Arkansas System

Fast facts

  • Daniel O’Brien invited to present Arkansas turfgrass research internationally
  • Set to earn doctorate in May
  • Conducts research on wetting agents and soil surfactants

(574 words)

Download PHOTO of Daniel O’Brien

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Daniel O’Brien has become a name to know in the world of turfgrass.

Daniel O'Brien portrait on putting green
TURF TALK — Daniel O'Brien recently presented talks on turfgrass research conducted at the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station to several renowned golfcourse management associations. (U of A System Division of Agriculture photo)

The University of Arkansas department of horticulture turfgrass Ph.D. student recently completed a string of presentations to three world-renowned golf course management associations.

O’Brien has been selected to be a speaker and presenter for the Carolinas Golf Course Superintendents Association, the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association and the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America.

He has been part of the turfgrass program for 11 years as a student with the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences, and as a researcher for the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, the research arm of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

O’Brien’s research provides foundational information on wetting agents and soil surfactants and how they influence golf course putting greens. His research along with his exceptional presentation skills, has garnered attention from the golf course industry, allowing him opportunities to present to large audiences on a regional, national, and international level.

“It was, and always is, a privilege to be able to represent the University of Arkansas turfgrass program and to share the outstanding work that is being done here,” O’Brien said. “It’s humbling to be listed as a presenter alongside other scientists and speakers whom I have followed for years and respect immensely. And it’s so energizing to be able to interact with golf course superintendents and greenkeepers in attendance from around the world and turn my presentations into conversations so that I can learn from them.”

His Ph.D. adviser is Mike Richardson, professor of horticulture.

“Daniel has been an integral part of our program for a decade, having served in several capacities as a research associate and a master’s and Ph.D. graduate student,” Richardson said. “Daniel is easily one of the best scientists and best communicators that has come through our program and has provided meaningful information to the turfgrass managers of Arkansas, the region and now the world.”

O’Brien was recently extended an opportunity to work with the United States Golf Association.

“It is an honor to be able to join an organization that has done so much to advance not only the game of golf, but turfgrass management, and turfgrass science, for over 100 years now,” he said. “I’m not exaggerating when I say, it was a tremendous compliment just to earn the opportunity to interview with them. I think this opportunity is truly unique, with the potential to do extremely meaningful work in ways that I thoroughly enjoy.”

“Although I am super excited for his future, he will be sorely missed in many, many ways,” Richardson said. “Daniel is obviously a very thoughtful and detailed researcher, but he has been so much more for our program.”

“Daniel has been an absolute pleasure to work with,” said Wendell Hutchens, associate professor of turfgrass science. “He is an excellent researcher, brilliant thinker and one of the humblest and kindest people I've ever met.

“He is a true joy to be around, and I am honored to have worked with him,” Hutchens said. “I am excited to continue collaborating with him in the future, and I look forward to following his future endeavors.

O’Brien will complete his degree in May and intends to start his job with USGA after graduation.

“I’m looking forward to the unknown — all those things I don’t know right now but will learn as this next chapter of my career plays out,” O’Brien said.

To learn more about Division of Agriculture research, visit the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station website: Follow on Twitter at @ArkAgResearch. To learn more about the Division of Agriculture, visit Follow us on Twitter at @AgInArk. To learn about extension programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit

About the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences

Bumpers College provides life-changing opportunities to position and prepare graduates who will be leaders in the businesses associated with foods, family, the environment, agriculture, sustainability and human quality of life; and who will be first-choice candidates of employers looking for leaders, innovators, policy makers and entrepreneurs. The college is named for Dale Bumpers, former Arkansas governor and longtime U.S. senator who made the state prominent in national and international agriculture. For more information about Bumpers College, visit our website, and follow us on Twitter at @BumpersCollege and Instagram at BumpersCollege.

About the Division of Agriculture

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

# # #

Media Contact:

Lauren Sutherland
U of A System