Thursday, March 19, 2015

Rounds 4 Research auction quickly approaching

The 2015 Rounds 4 Research (R4R) auction is right around the corner and now is the time to donate a foursome from your facility to assist your chapter in raising funds for turfgrass research. 

This year’s auction is scheduled for June 8-21 in conjunction with the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay (Wash.). Donated rounds need to be submitted by May 15, and 80 percent of the funds from the donated rounds go back directly to the chapter in which they were solicited and designated. 

While your chapter leaders are heading up solicitation efforts in each respective region, the success of the program depends upon an “all hands on deck” approach. As a member, you can assist your chapter by volunteering for the R4R committee, donating a foursome from your facility and reaching out to other superintendents in the area to make them aware of the program and the benefits R4R brings to turfgrass research at the local and state level. 

Nine out of 10 chapters in the southwest region participate in the program and two chapters (Hi-Lo Desert GCSA and Southern Nevada GCSA) finished in the top 10 nationally, in terms of funds raised. 

The online auction will once again be conducted through and all courses donating rounds have the ability to market their course by including a short description, photo and web link. Furthermore, GCSAA provides resources for fundraising partners at 

The auctions will also be promoted by our allied golf industry partners, including the United States Golf Association, PGA of America, state and regional golf associations (NCGA, SCGA, SNGA) and The Golf Channel. Additionally, SiriusXM PGA TOUR radio will be promoting the program on Sirius channel 208 and XM 93. 

To donate, visit and click on the Donate Now button. The entire process takes less than 10 minutes and you will be providing the golf industry with a better tomorrow. 

If you have any additional questions, please contact me at We appreciate your support of Rounds 4 Research. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

San Antonio exceeds expectations for GIS and GCSAA Golf Championships

I’m writing this blog at 37,000 feet on my way back from the Golf Industry Show and reflecting on what was a terrific 10 days in San Antonio. It’s an honor to represent our 17,000-plus members and a privilege to work with all the staff and board of directors at GCSAA. Working together, we are able to put on a great event for our members, exhibitors and guests.

It started with the GCSAA Golf Championships, that featured more than 460 members participating in a variety of formats at some of the best golf facilities in San Antonio. While the unseasonably cool weather forced us to cancel the final round of the National Championship (the weather-shortened event was won by Matt Cowan, superintendent at the Crenshaw Cliffside Course at Barton Creek Resort in Austin, Texas), we were able to complete the Golf Classic. Hats off to our members who stuck out temperatures in the low 30s to finish up. A special congratulation goes out to members from my region that captured the championship in their respective flights including Jim Alwine of Bernardo Heights Country Club; Craig Johnson of Belmont Country Club; Scott Main of Mauna Kea Resort; and James Ward of the City of Los Angeles Parks & Recreation. Full results are available at

The Golf Industry Show came back to San Antonio for the first time in 37 years and the city didn’t disappoint. While overall attendance for the Golf Industry Show was slightly down from the 2014 event in Orlando - at approximately 12,400 - the final number of seminar seats sold, was up. A total of 5,385 seminar seats were filled - 3 percent higher than Orlando. In addition, thousands attended complimentary forums, sessions and panel discussions throughout the week. Subject matter making up 385 hours of education included agronomics, business, environmental management, communications, leadership, technology and personnel management. A total of 5,600 qualified buyers attended the two-day trade show, which included 551 exhibitors (a 2 percent increase over projections) covering 182,000 square feet of exhibit space at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. Exhibitors across the board were pleased with the attendance and their interactions with buyers. For an in-depth look at the week, visit the GIS social hub at

I would also be remiss if I didn’t congratulate Kevin Breen, CGCS at La Rinconada Country Club of Los Gatos, Calif., on being appointed to the GCSAA board of directors. The southwest region is in good hands with Kevin and veteran board member Rafael Barajas, CGCS at Hacienda Golf Club in La Habra Heights, Calif.

Again, we appreciate the support of everyone who attended GIS in San Antonio and if you have any questions concerning the event please follow up with me at I look forward to seeing you at many of the upcoming events throughout the southwest region.

Field Staff with the always entertaining David Feherty at GIS in San Antonio. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Seminar brings golf, environmental community together

On Feb. 3, the Southern California Golf Course Superintendents Association (SCGCSA), the Southern California Golf Association (SCGA) and the Council for Watershed Health held a joint seminar that brought together the Southern California golf industry and environmental community. 

Hosted by the American Golf-managed Brookside Golf Club in Pasadena, Calif., the Golf & Water Evolving Best Management Practices seminar featured more than 170 municipal officials, landscape architects, golf course superintendents, water efficiency professionals, golf professionals, club managers and others in an effort to examine existing water conservation programs, highlight case studies and determine the future for sustainable golf course design and management.

The keynote speaker was Mike Huck, principal at Irrigation and Turfgrass Services.  A former USGA agronomist, Huck is one of the foremost experts on golf course water use and conservation in the country.  His topic focused on current and future use of reclaimed water on golf courses.

Other featured speakers included Ken Alperstein, golf course architect with Pinnacle Design; Jim Baird, Ph.D., assistant cooperative extension specialist at UC Riverside; Ryan Bentley, superintendent at North Ranch Country Club; John Dalman of Toro Irrigation; Deb Deets, landscape architect with the City of Los Angeles; Penny Falcon, manager of water conservation policy with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power; Pat Gross, director of the USGA West Region Green Section; Tim Jackson, golf course architect with Jackson Kahn Design; Bob Perry, adjunct professor at USC and professor emeritus at California State Polytechnic University; Kathy Ramos, associate resource specialist with the Metropolitan Water District and Jesse Seguin, Class A superintendent at Brookside Golf Club.  Seguin provided a walking tour of the recent 22 acre turf reduction project that took place at Brookside. 

Special thanks goes to Craig Kessler, director of governmental affairs with the SCGA; Council for Watershed Health founding board member Arthur Golding and SCGCSA president Nate Radwick for their efforts in putting the program together.  Cyndy Neal, SCGCSA executive director, past president D.J. Ahlstrand and Council for Watershed Health representatives Drew Ready and Margaret de Larios were all instrumental in the organization and operation of the seminar. 

The SCGCSA, SCGA and Council for Watershed Health appreciate the support of the Southern California golf and environmental community in making this seminar a success. Plans are being made for future events that will be beneficial to all involved parties.  

Pictured is Class A Superintendent Jesse Seguin of Brookside Golf Club speaking to a group of more than 170 golf and environmental professionals at the Feb. 3 Golf & Water Evolving Best Management Practices Seminar held in Pasadena, Calif.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Sierra Nevada GCSA hosts annual Mechanics Training Seminar

The Sierra Nevada GCSA hosted their annual Mechanics Training Seminar Jan. 28, at The Ridge Golf Club in Auburn, Calif. The event was attended by 65 golf industry professionals, including 57 mechanics and equipment managers from all areas of Northern California.

Wildly successful, the event featured an array of practical applications as well as topics on leadership, communications and problem solving in the workplace. Featured speakers included Tim Conner of Turf Star, Jim Ferrin, CGCS at Sun City Roseville, Mark Pilger and Ben Showard of Reel  Sharp and SIP Grinders and representatives of Jacobson West and Belkorp Golf & Turf.  

  • Conner provided an entertaining presentation on "Finding the Root Cause," which focused on problem solving and diagnostics for the mechanic and how to find the simplest solution to those problems.
  • Ferrin spoke on the importance of the role the mechanic plays in the golf operation and provided ideas on how mechanics need to become more involved in the overall maintenance facility operations. Highlighted topics included budgeting, equipment purchase, leadership skills, communication with staff members and recognizing that mechanics are professionals in the industry, and their appearance, attitude and work ethic should reflect that.
  • Pilger and Showard presented on "Why We Grind," which included videos on best practices for grinding and the overall role that having sharp reel and bedknife edges plays in quality turf on the golf course.
  • Jacobson West presented on the operation and maintenance of Tier 4 engines as well as compliance with all Tier 4 emission standards.
  • Belkorp Golf & Turf spoke on hydraulic diagnostic skills and basic repair on turf equipment.

A special thanks to Class A Superintendent Scott McCullough of The Ridge Golf Club, who hosted the event and obtained the speakers for the day. Scott has been instrumental in the development of this seminar over the past several years.  
For more information on the Sierra Nevada GCSA, visit

Pictured are mechanics/equipment managers at the annual Sierra Nevada GCSA Mechanics Seminar at The Ridge Golf Club in Auburn, Calif.  The event was attended by 65 industry professionals, including 57 mechanics and equipment managers.


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Cactus & Pine GCSA board discusses water issues with congressional rep

Cactus & Pine GCSA board members, along with chapter executive director Carmella Ruggiero, Apache Sun Golf Club owner Mike Musulin and I, met with U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar (AZ-04)and staff on Dec. 16 at Apache Sun Golf Club in Queen Creek, Ariz.

The meeting was initiated by Cactus & Pine secretary and GCSAA board candidate Rory Van Poucke, who serves as the general manager/superintendent of Apache Sun Golf Club.  In addition to Van Poucke and Ruggiero, also representing the Cactus & Pine was President Andy Huber and board members Kai Umeda and Jim Marshall.  

With Arizona and the Southwest U.S. in the midst of a severe drought, the meeting centered around water use and conservation on golf courses.  The congressman and his staff were educated on reclaimed water use, turf reduction programs, irrigation efficiency and technology, turfgrass research, BMPs and the industry’s work on assisting with the development of model drought compliance legislation.

Pictured are members of the Cactus & Pine GCSA with U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar (AZ-04)
and his key staff members at Apache Sun Golf Club in Queen Creek, AZ.

Van Poucke also provided an economic impact study that outlined the golf industry’s $3.4 billion impact on Arizona’s economy.  Golf is now the leading driver of tourism to the state.

Additionally, the EPA’s newly proposed Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule that GCSAA and the golf industry is opposing was discussed.  The congressman has condemned the EPA’s new rule and understands the devastating economic consequences it will have for golf, agriculture and small businesses throughout Arizona and the U.S. if it is implemented.

The Cactus & Pine GCSA appreciates Congressman Gosar and his staff’s time and any questions concerning the meeting can be directed to Rory Van Poucke or Jeff Jensen.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Hi-Lo Desert GCSA leads efforts on economic impact study for the Coachella Valley golf industry

The Hi-Lo Desert Golf Course Superintendents Association, along with significant financial support from the California Alliance for Golf, California Golf Course Owners Association, Golden State Chapter of CMAA, Greater Palm Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau, Southern California Golf Association and the Southern California PGA, has contracted Oxford Economics to conduct an economic impact study for the Coachella Valley golf industry. 

The valley is home to 123 golf courses and these facilities are an integral part of the local economy, as well as a year-round activity for both residents and visitors. The study will calculate direct, indirect and induced economic impacts for the golf industry in the region. 

Oxford Economics, one of the world’s leading providers of economic analysis, forecasts and consulting advice, will be reaching out to facilities in the region via an online survey in January and will be requesting the following information:

  • Revenue by type (rounds, merchandise, memberships, food and beverage, lodging, meeting space rental, equipment rentals, etc.)
  • Taxes paid
  • Employment numbers and associated income
  • Customer residence (local/visitor)
  • Investments (equipment, renovation and construction)
  • Major events (fan attendance, sponsorships and media) 

In addition, average visitor spending data will be compiled from Tourism Economics' work with Palm Springs to calculate the spending of golf visitors outside of the resort/golf course. 

Lastly, government data on golf will be compiled from Census and Bureau of Labor Statistics information will anchor the results to known measurements for employment, personal income and sales.

By monitoring the full economic impact of the Coachella Valley golf industry, our allied golf organizations can inform the media, public, and most importantly, policy makers about the relevance and importance of the golf industry to the region.

If you have any questions concerning the study, please contact Hi-Lo Desert GCSA president Dean Miller at or GCSAA Southwest field representative Jeff Jensen at


Monday, November 24, 2014

Chapter Delegates discuss proposed model to update both member classifications and member standards

87 GCSAA chapter delegates met in Lawrence, KS in October to discuss a number of proposals including a $10 Class A/SM and $5 Class C dues increase, the addition of an equipment manager classification and a model to update both member standards and member classifications. 

The dues increase is based on a 3.3 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index since 2013 and would raise dues levels to $375 for Class A/SM members and $190 for Class C members.  The dues increase will assist GCSAA in continuing to provide its core mission programs and services as well as more recent initiatives and program developments. 

The new equipment manager’s classification would assist equipment managers in obtaining golf specific education while providing a vast array of GCSAA central resources to assist in the advancement of their careers.   The decision to add this classification was reached after conversations with numerous members from around the country. 

Both of the above issues will be placed before the membership for a vote during the 2015 annual meeting in San Antonio.

The proposed updates to both member standards and member classifications created the most discussion during the meeting.  After careful consideration, the GCSAA board has made a recommendation that:
  •       Reduces the number of member classifications from 13 to 5. The classifications would   include Class A, Class B (currently SM), Class C (Assistants), Equipment Manager and Member. 
  •          Class A eligibility would be strictly determined by the sliding education and experience scale.  Education and service points would no longer be required to maintain Class A status.
  •         In place of the current points system, various educational certificates would be created to help members to continue to market themselves and their individual achievements.
Key points to consider:
  •         Aligns this association with the vast majority of associations around the world in focusing education around designations and not classifications.
  •          Proposal is still centered on formal education.
  •          Maintains CGCS as the pinnacle of continuing educational attainment.
  •          Reduces the confusion around CGCS, Class A and SM members.
  •          Creates a cohesive and inclusive association.
The proposed updates to both member standards and member classifications will not be voted on in 2015 and GCSAA will use the next year to solicit additional input from the membership. The membership will vote on the new pathway at the 2016 annual meeting.

If you have any questions concerning the above proposals, please don’t hesitate to contact me at or speak with your assigned chapter delegate.  We will be glad to walk you through the discussion.  More information is also available at

Thank you again for your support over the course of 2015 and Happy Holidays to all!