Golf Course Management

JAN 2014

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

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Darren J. Davis, the superintendent at Olde Florida GC, has been active in a grass-roots campaign to exempt golf from confusing ordinances banning fertilizers in Collier County. Photo courtesy of Darren Davis "The planning for the BMP manual began in 2002-2007. From 2009 to 2012, a certifcation program was created that reinforces the BMP standards and tests superintendents to become certifed in the BMPs. This certifcation is accredited by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. So far, since 2012, about 30 percent of Florida superintendents have sat for the exam," Dain says, adding that 275 members have taken the exam and 200 have passed. Darren J. Davis is the GCSAA Class A superintendent at Olde Florida Golf Club in Naples, located in Collier County on Florida's west coast. Davis is a past president of both the FGCSA and the FTGA. He currently serves on the GCSAA Board of Directors and is a 24year member of the national association. On a local level, when Collier County government offcials were debating fertilizer bans that could have included golf playing surfaces, Davis and other local superintendents who are members of the Everglades Chapter of the FGCSA (including Tim Hiers at Old Collier, Matt Taylor at Royal Poinciana and Mark Black at Quail West Country Club, among others) made calls to local offcials, personally visited them at their offces to drop off copies of the golf BMPs, and reached out to friends and neighbors who had personal relationships with decision makers. The efforts were effective: Golf was exempted from the ordinance. Similar grassroots cam- 52 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 01.14 paigns among other FGCSA chapters have had similar positive outcomes. At the national level, Davis says that GCSAA, through the Environmental Institute for Golf, "is actively involved in gathering data and research to tell the true story of the impacts of golf. We've done a series of environmental surveys that show the true story and the positive effect that golf courses have on the environment." In part to try to right the wrong committed by the misuse of the now infamous sentence, Unruh and Trenholm published an article in October 2012 titled "Potential Unintended Consequences Associated with Urban Fertilizer Bans in Florida — A Scientifc Review" in the peer-reviewed journal HortTechnology. The basis of the article is that nonpoint-source pollution comes from a variety of sources, "from dog poop, to leaf litter to septic systems," and that restricting fertilizer alone will not solve Florida's water-quality issues. Josko admits the fertilizer ban, and all of its repercussions, will not go away soon — or quietly. "Florida is a very sensitive state when it comes to water quality," Josko says. "It's an issue that cuts through political parties and philosophies. It's important to be proactive in the golf course industry to develop relationships with elected offcials to make sure they know the dedication of the industry and environmental stewardship of golf. They need to look at the golf course superintendent as friends and solutions, not enemies to water quality." These relationships need to be established long before the issue raises its head in a superintendent's community, he says, "not the week before the public hearing to decide these things." "By then, it's too late," Josko adds. "The frst person they think of to contact should not be the Sierra Club. It needs to be the superintendent who is the true environmental steward. That's what the GCSAA should be shooting for across the country." Just because your state might not currently be facing these issues does not mean it's safe. Josko warns, "Activist groups are on the record saying golf is next." Stacie Zinn Roberts is the president of What's Your Avocado?, a writing and marketing frm based in Mount Vernon, Wash.

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