Golf Course Management

MAR 2019

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

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Page 19 of 117

14 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 03.19 As I reflect on my life and career, and all of the pieces that have fallen into place to lead me to serve as the 83rd president of GCSAA, I am both humbled and honored. is associa - tion has meant so much to me, and it's a true privilege to serve and give back in this capacity. For much of my childhood, I didn't even know the game of golf existed, let alone what GCSAA was or meant to the career of a golf course superintendent. Growing up in Mex - ico, I knew soccer and baseball. I knew noth- ing about golf. After moving to the United States when I was 14 years old, everything changed. My father began to work on golf courses, my brothers worked on golf courses and, in fact, both remain in the business today. I got my first job on a golf course and had my first op - portunity to actually play the game shortly after taking the job. Very quickly, the game became a true passion, and a career as a su - perintendent became a lifelong pursuit. Nevertheless, to say that I planned to one day serve this great association on the national level as a member of the board of directors and as president would not be accu - rate. I am a firm believer that passion and val- ues often lead to better outcomes than rigid plans and agendas. My life and career are a testament to that philosophy, and I have been blessed with amazing people, circumstances and opportunities ever since. My 30-plus-year involvement with GCSAA on both the local and national levels is but one of those opportunities. As a young superintendent, I was drawn to my local chap - ters and trips to the Golf Industry Show as a source of education, camaraderie and net - working. I was new to the business, English was my second language, and on-the-job training could only take me so far. I was hun - gry to improve, and attending local meetings and getting myself to the annual conference and trade show — even when I had to pay my own way — were absolutely crucial in helping me progress and grow. As my career developed, and as I advanced in the profession, the opportunity to give back presented itself. I was asked to serve on Rafael Barajas, CGCS Twitter: @rbarajas001 The opportunity of a lifetime I am a firm believer that passion and values often lead to better outcomes than rigid plans and agendas. My life and career are a testament to that philosophy. (president's message) the boards of my local chapters and eventu- ally was elected president of both the GCSA of Southern California and the California GCSA. en, I was asked to run for national board service, had the good fortune of being elected, and now I have the honor of being your president. It might not have been part of a plan, but I can assure you that I will dedicate my full attention and uncompromising com - mitment to this office. In the year ahead, you have my promise that we will continue to advance the profes - sion in the areas of environmental responsi- bility, government advocacy and member- ship. Your board of directors and the GCSAA staff are committed to continuing the work of the BMP initiative and helping all states finish their BMP templates by 2020. We are committed to further building our Grass - roots Ambassadors program and deepening relationships with legislators and regulators. And we are dedicated to reaching our goal of 20,000 GCSAA members by 2020. I cannot let this opportunity pass with - out thanking my family — my wife, Yolanda; my daughter, Veronica; and my sons, Daniel, Marco Antonio and Rafael Jr. — for their unwavering support. I am also grateful to the board of governors, staff and members at Boca Grove Golf and Tennis Club. In addi - tion, I'd be remiss if I didn't thank the great clubs I have been privileged to be associated with throughout my journey for their encour - agement and understanding as I have served GCSAA over the years. I am eternally thankful that you, the members of GCSAA, have placed your trust in me as your 83rd president. You have my word that this farm boy who had never even seen a golf course until his teens will do all that he can to represent you, the industry and the association in the best way possible in the coming 12 months. Rafael Barajas, CGCS, is the director of golf course opera- tions at Boca Grove Golf and Tennis Club in Boca Raton, Fla., and a 33-year member of GCSAA.

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