Golf Course Management

AUG 2018

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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58 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 08.18 bore that out. "I never really felt discouraged, but we did reach a point in the application process where we knew there were areas we weren't as strong in," he says. "We did learn as we went along. We won our first Chapter award (the program previously offered Chap - ter and Merit awards as honorable mentions) in 2009, and we didn't win the overall until 2013. But there are folks who simply can't do the things that we were able to do at Harrison Bay, and we needed to figure out a way they could take part in this great program." A focus on the specific As a result, GCSAA's Environmental Awards and Education task groups in 2016 and 2017 (the group Carter served on) began to explore changes to the ELGA program that would appeal to a much broader group of su - perintendents, recognizing them in more fo- cused areas of environmental sustainability that were based on the best management prac - tices recommended by GCSAA. at work resulted in the new ELGA pro - gram kicking off this month, with these four award categories serving as its foundation: • Natural resource conservation, recognizing effective strategies for water and energy conservation and sound wildlife manage - ment • Healthy land stewardship, recognizing effec - tive strategies for the use of pesticides and nutrients, as well as pollution prevention • Communications and outreach, recognizing the effective communication of conserva - tion strategies with facility employees, golf- ers and others in the local community • Innovative conservation, acknowledging those who utilize or invent unique and in - novative strategies for conservation at their facility. In each category, one winner and two run - ners-up will be selected. Applicants may apply to one, two, three or all four award categories in a year; however, an individual can win only one award each year. For the 2018 program, applications will be accepted from Aug. 1 through Sept. 30. "We think the revised ELGA program will better identify and recognize superinten - dents who have accomplished environmental stewardship in specific and key areas that are important to golf course management," says Mark Johnson, GCSAA's associate director, environmental programs. "It's our hope that these changes will open the door for more su - perintendents to apply and receive recognition in the areas where they are excelling." Carter agrees. "I think this new structure is going to allow people to shine in the areas that they're most passionate about, areas that they're strongest in," he said. "If a superinten - dent's heart and soul are into water conserva- tion, and they're really a star in that aspect … the changes to the ELGAs have been designed to reward that." For more information on the GCSAA/ Golf Digest Environmental Leaders in Golf Awards, go to http://bit.ly/2uCqsVF . Scott Hollister (shollister@gcsaa.org) is GCM 's editor-in- chief. Paul Carter, (above right) was the Overall and National Public winner of the ELGA in 2013, and served on the GCSAA task group that made improvements to the program debuting this year. A quarter century of excellence e first ELGAs were handed out in 1993, and since their inception, the awards have rec - ognized overall environmental excellence in golf course management. Awards were dis - tributed by the type of golf course the hon- oree represented — public, private, resort and, when applicable, international — and appli - cants were judged on their performance over a wide array of disciplines, from water con - servation and integrated pest management, to pollution prevention and wildlife habitat en - hancement. In 2001, Golf Digest lent its sup- port to the program as a presenting partner, and an overall winner was also added, selected from among the individual category winners. In recent years, though, there was a grow - ing sense among superintendents and staff from GCSAA and Golf Digest that the pro - gram's existing structure and focus on such a broad range of environmental categories was limiting participation, especially among turf managers who might be excelling in one area while just beginning to work in another. "ere might be people out there who are really strong in managing water, for example, but might just be starting efforts to improve their wildlife habitat or their energy conserva - tion," Carter says. "For them, the sense was that because they weren't as strong in some catego - ries as they were in others, they were discour- aged from entering because they didn't think they had a chance to win an overall award that touched on so many different areas." Carter's own experiences with the ELGAs

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