Golf Course Management

JUN 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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62 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 06.19 thing, and we as golf course turfgrass manag- ers did ours: at's the way it had always been and likely would remain. en I went to a meeting for the formation of a local chapter of the Sports Turf Managers Association. is organic creation of the Mid-Atlantic STMA opened my eyes to an entirely different ap- proach to my profession. Of the hundred or so in attendance, I was the only golf course superintendent in the room. Yet, instead of feeling alone and territo- rial, I felt a sense of connection and apprecia- tion for my presence. I also felt the support of what the people attending the meeting were trying to achieve. I discovered a side of turfgrass manage- ment I had never before experienced and formed bonds with local sports turf manag- ers I likely never would have met had I not attended as a sign of support for the new or- ganization. Immediately following that meeting, I couldn't stop wondering why the golf and sports sides of the industry were not more jointly associated. After all, we have far more commonalities than differences. We all man- age turfgrass for its playability, in addition to juggling the management of people, budgets and the environment. I also began to question why lawn care and other sectors were not a part of this supportive mix. If we are looking to move the turfgrass industry forward and address all the adversity facing us, we must come together in support and appreciation. No matter our titles — golf course super- intendent, head groundskeeper, lawn care pro- vider, researcher, distributor — we all have a passion for this industry, as well as a part to play in the narrative of its future. Future of the industry Our industry is increasingly challenged. Part of this growing tension is positive, as ever-restrictive pesticide- and nutrient-man- agement laws lead to innovation, ingenuity and leadership. e downside, however, is equally present, as lawmakers who view the turfgrass industry as an easy target issue uninformed blanket statements with little regard for repercussions. eir caustic words and changing tactics fre- quently appear as attacks aimed at our meth- ods and the products we use rather than as an honest attempt at finding common ground and viable solutions. All too often, legislative bills are intro- duced at the last second to catch the turfgrass industry off guard. New legislation rarely comes directly on the national level; instead, legislation is brought forth at the county or township level. And while these restrictions are directed primarily toward a specific local aspect of turfgrass management — lawn care, Top: Various branches of the turfgrass industry can work together to create environmentally conscious initiatives — and then promote those efforts with golfers, patrons, legislators and educators to show commitment to the environment. Simply reducing inputs in out-of-play areas helps provide habitat for creatures big and small (left), while this field of milkweed at Mountain Branch Golf Club (right) is monarch butterfly-friendly. Above: Forging relationships with others in the various turfgrass industries — as Freeman (pictured at left) has with Nicole Sherry, head groundskeeper for the Baltimore Orioles — can help create a unified front in the quest to overcome increasing challenges that all turfgrass managers face.

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