Jack Butler was born in 1931 and grew up on a farm in southern Illinois. At age 19 he enlisted to serve in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War. In 1954 he enrolled at the University of Illinois and would spend the next 17 years studying, teaching and gaining the practical experience that would apply to his later work with turfgrass. Butler went on to receive his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Horticulture from the University of Illinois. In 1971 he left his home state to accept a teaching position at Colorado State University in turf science. In 1976 he was made a full professor of horticulture at C.S.U. and remained in that position until his retirement.
Once in Colorado, Butler quickly gained a reputation as an authority on turfgrass and his opinion was sought by golf course superintendents throughout the country. In 1988 the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America recognized Butler with the Distinguished Service Award. During his tenure at C.S.U., Dr. Butler had a profound influence on golf in Colorado. His many contributions include educating some of the state’s best superintendents. Although largely unrecognized by Colorado’s golfing citizens, any golfer who has played on one of our finely manicured golf courses in recent decades has benefited from the efforts of Dr. Jack Butler.