Golf Course Management

FEB 2017

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

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16 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 02.17 reading right now. Every February, we high- light some of golf 's true green giants, super- intendents who are breaking new ground and setting trends in the responsible management of golf course properties. And it turns out these environmental trendsetters — the winners of GCSAA's President's Award for Environmen - tal Stewardship (see "Zero tolerance" on Page 40) and the Environmental Leaders in Golf Awards (see "Natural selections" on Page 52) — have a story to tell not only to our industry, but also to the skeptics outside the game who hold many of the same misguided opinions as my group of friends. I share with them the accomplishments of superintendents such as Josh Heptig — the President's Award recipient for 2017 — who has cultivated a zero-waste approach to the maintenance of the golf courses under his care in San Luis Obispo, Calif. I tell them about Broken Sound Country Club and its cutting- edge composting setup, begun first by super - intendent Joseph Hubbard, CGCS, and now perfected by current superintendent Shannon Easter, the winner in both the Overall and National Private categories of the 2016 Envi - ronmental Leaders in Golf Awards. And, in most cases, these kinds of examples tend to sway the discussion and win over my friends. They see that golf does know what it's doing in balancing course maintenance with environmental stewardship, that superintend - ents are leaders in this area — not only in the game, but in society in general — and that the perception of golf as an environmental hazard waiting to happen is just plain wrong. As Easter says in this month's ELGA fea - ture story, "I'm determined to prove people wrong. I want to prove that golf courses can actually be the most environmentally friendly areas." With good stories like those featured in this issue of GCM, I can assure him that that's already taking place. Scott Hollister is GCM 's editor-in-chief. Scott Hollister Twitter: @GCM_Magazine Sharing golf's good news (inside gcm) Golf is a game and a business that's built on families, and if you don't believe that sen - timent, chances are you haven't been paying close enough attention to the people who form the foundation of this industry. On more occasions than I'm able to recall, I've learned of current superintendents whose fathers — and, in many cases, grandfathers — worked in the golf industry before them and first introduced them to the field. There are countless stories of brothers who each work in golf, of mothers and wives who take up work in the clubhouse or the maintenance facility just because their significant other has found a career in the business. And even if bloodlines didn't lead the way, many a superintendent chose a career in golf because they played the game growing up, turning stints on the high school or college golf team into making a living tending to the playing fields they love so much. My path to a career in golf didn't really fit that description, however. Sure, I dabbled in a little high school golf (better to be on the golf course than in the classroom to end a spring day, I always said), and I can thank my father and grandfather for nurturing my original in - terest in the game, but if you'd put me on the spot, I would have identified a baseball or bas - ketball player far more readily than a golfer. That changed 18 years ago when I began my time at GCSAA and on the staff of GCM. What didn't change, though, was the fact that my circle of friends outside the workplace, for the most part, aren't golfers. They don't play the game, don't really understand the game, and only partially pretend to know what I do and who I do it for. But on those rare occasions when golf does become a topic of discussion among these friends, you can guess who is always front and center. And because this group shares a pas - sion for the outdoors — for camping, hiking and mountain biking — I also find myself oc - casionally on the defensive, trying to change minds and shatter perceptions about golf and its impact on the natural environment. One of the best tools to accomplish that, I've found, is the very issue of GCM that you're These environmental trendsetters have a story to tell not only to our industry, but also to the skeptics outside the game.

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