Golf Course Management

NOV 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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48 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 11.18 40 42 Figure 1. Public trust in different professionals. Source: Pew Research Center (www.pewresearch.org) We are subjected to local regulations that have no merit, and these can create an overall negative image for how we manage a golf course environment. So how can le - gitimate evidence-based information com- pete against nonsense? Where do we turn for help on these issues? How much time should we spend as an advocate for the truth? How do we know the information we have is factual? Do we have an obliga - tion to respond? ese are all legitimate questions, and the answers aren't always abundantly clear. But there certainly are some key points to consider as a professional on your role and how you react to the firestorm of negative information commonly focused on pesti - cides and fertilizers. Communicating sci- ence and risk is not like talking about sports or the weather. It requires some specific con - cepts if your efforts will be accepted by the public and effective in molding understand - ing of controversial topics. Points of difference e question then becomes how we step out of our offices and go out on the internet to advocate for science and provide honest answers to a concerned public. According to results from a Pew Research Center sur - vey (Figure 1), more than 70 percent of the interviewed people perceived scientists as knowledgeable and trustworthy, and they believed science had a positive impact on the life and health quality of our society. However, when it comes to subjects like genetically modified food and pesticides, there is a gap of 51 and 40 points difference between scientists and the public (Figure 2). is raises a prominent issue because it points out that the public doesn't trust the scientific evidence. It looks like all the infor - mation from reputable sources is falling on deaf ears. en how do we gain their trust so that the right evidence reaches people who are just looking for answers to their con - cerns? We must start by changing how we ap - proach science communication and over- come the confirmation bias. Sadly, scientists and superintendents typically are not good communicators, because we are not usually trained to speak or write for general audi - ences, and when we do it, we mostly lead with numbers, facts and citations and fail to establish an emotional connection with the audience. Now, you might ask what is wrong with that, because we were trained to follow the evidence, and all we want is the Public Trust The military Medical scientists Scientists K-12 principals and superintendents Religious leaders The news media Business leaders Elected officials A great deal of A fair deal of Not too much No confidence Figure 2. Opinion differences between public and scientists. Source: Adapted from original Pew Research Center data (www.pewinternet.org) Public vs. Scientists 33 46 15 5 24 60 12 3 21 55 18 4 13 53 27 7 13 39 32 14 5 33 40 21 4 37 44 14 3 24 54 19 Biomedical sciences Safe to eat genetically modified foods Favor use of animals in research Safe to eat foods grown with pesticides Humans have evolved over time Childhood vaccines such as MMR should be required % of U.S. adults and AAAS scientists saying each of the following U.S. adults AAAS scientists 37 47 28 65 68 51 point gap 33 18 88 89 68 98 86 % of U.S. adults who say they have___confidence in each of the following groups to act in the best interests of the public

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