Golf Course Management

APR 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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Page 90 of 165

04.14 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 87 tershed implementation plans for a pollution diet, the golf industry was placed in an urban/ suburban runoff category. "Fertilizer use was low-hanging fruit that state legislators quickly picked at," says Chava McKeel, GCSAA's associate director of gov - ernment relations. The Virginia GCSA worked with its allied state golf associations, GCSAA, industry part - ners and the Virginia Agribusiness Council to form a plan. The education and advocacy support provided by GCSAA to help that Vir - ginia golf coalition step forward as environ- mental leaders was funded by the EIFG. "We reviewed and discussed the Chesa - peake Bay pollution diet, the TMDL (total maximum daily load) and the Virginia Wa - tershed Implementation Plan," says Peter Mc- Donough, GCSAA Class A superintendent at the Keswick (Va.) Club. "We wanted to demonstrate the golf industry's leadership in the environmental arena. Walking the walk in this manner was simply the right thing to do. We advanced a requirement that all golf courses in Virginia have a state-certifed nu - trient management plan by 2017, which was included in the bill that passed the Virginia General Assembly and was signed into law by the governor." The Virginia golf industry also decided to create a best management practices manual specifcally for golf. "With several regulatory agencies need - ing to meet required Bay goals, we realized the critical importance of developing our own sustainable plan for Virginia golf courses," McDonough says. "This comprehensive document spans all facets of golf course operations, from design and planning of a new golf course, to renova - tion of existing golf courses and maintenance operations. These guidelines are designed to protect Virginia's environmental quality and conserve precious water resources. Wide - spread adoption of these BMPs will have sig- nifcant impact." McDonough, a 23-year member of GCSAA, recognizes that most of the research that goes into those BMPs comes from re - search at universities that is funded by the EIFG. "That's the beneft of GCSAA member - ship — the open sharing that is unique in that competitors help each other be more success - ful," he says. Graves, who is a 33-year member of GCSAA and received the association's Presi - dent's Award for Environmental Stewardship in 2011, works directly with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, state agencies and golf indus - try companies to develop practical nutrient management policy as part of future regula - tory demand on states within the Chesapeake Bay watershed. "There have been superintendents at the table throughout the whole process, being proactive with the Chesapeake Commission and the Chesapeake Foundation," McKeel says. "Thanks in large part to education and advocacy support funded by the EIFG, they were able to demonstrate environmental stew - ardship before it was required." That proactive approach is something that Graves believes is the most important part and something that can always be improved. "If we don't get in front of the decisions being made about these issues, someone else who does not have our interests in mind will, which leads to incorrect assumptions," he says. "We are not agriculture or lawn care, but we are often placed under the same umbrella. It would be a mistake to sit back, wait for de - cisions to be made and then try to react. We need to continue to develop best practices for every input so that we can go to state regula - tors and offer to be regulated in a way that we can manage golf facilities in the best way." McDonough points out that best man - agement practices are a language familiar to government. "There's no golf committee in a state leg - islature," he says. "There are natural resource committees, and whether they are regulating water treatment or forestry, they use termi - nology from best management practices. By documenting our BMPs we're using standard government language and creating the proof they need." The Golf Course Environmental Profle, which was funded by donations to the EIFG, has helped support the golf industry in its gov - ernment advocacy efforts. "It's important to have the information, but it doesn't mean that the environment is the frst thing on their minds," says Graves. "It's more than politics. It's the economy. The frst question they ask is how much water we use and the next one is how much tax revenue we produce. It's all business to them. We have to make them understand that without water a golf course will die and without a golf course there will be jobs lost and tax revenue lost." The EIFG fosters sustainability through research, education, awareness, programs and scholarships for the beneft of golf course management professionals, golf facilities and the game. "As shown with these Chesapeake Bay watershed advocacy efforts, donations to the EIFG make a difference to golf facilities on a local level," says Mischia Wright, EIFG associ - ate director. Continued donations to the EIFG will help drive GCSAA advocacy efforts to the next level with new initiatives for a web portal, newsletter, and a key contacts program that will train more superintendents to be stronger advocates through education and enable them to be grassroots ambassadors by matching them with legislators. "I tell people at parties who ask what I do that I make oxygen," says Graves. "They look at me strangely and then I explain that I manage a golf course that produces oxygen for the surrounding communities. If the Chevy Chase Club wasn't here, this land would be roads and parking lots. More than 40,000 cars pass by just one side of the golf course every day, so we do something positive with this green space." Bill Newton is a former GCSAA staff member who now lives in Harrisonburg, Va. Dean Graves, CGCS, at Chevy Chase (Md.) Club. Photo by Scott Suchman 086-087_April14_eifg.indd 87 3/18/14 2:53 PM

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