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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44 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 02.17 Who would have ever thought that a golf course superintendent would be a leader in protecting the environment and reducing food waste? Heptig did. His mission to achieve zero waste features two large com - posters that replace conventional dump- sters, which means that no food from Dairy Creek contributes to the methane gases es - caping from the local landfill. In Heptig's first three years at Dairy Creek, more than 60,000 pounds of food waste was diverted from rotting in the landfill, and was instead processed into compost. "He's a true innovator in the environ - mental area for golf courses," says Paul L. Carter, CGCS, director of agronomy at Bear Trace at Harrison Bay (Tenn.) and a 24-year GCSAA member. "The things he's done out of necessity and desire make him a true asset." Now, Heptig's innovation and passion for the environment have earned recogni - tion from GCSAA, which has named him the 2017 recipient of its President's Award for Environmental Stewardship. Heptig, 40, will be honored for his achievements Feb. 7 in Orlando during the Golf Industry Show's Opening Night Celebration, presented in partnership with Syngenta. The award, given since 1991, is based on exceptional environ - mental contributions to the game of golf — contributions that exemplify the superinten - dent's image as a steward of the land. "This (award) has been a very hum - bling process. People congratulate me, but sometimes I don't know how to respond," says Heptig, a 17-year association member. "There's a whole lot of other people in - volved. It's not just me." A beginning Although he went to Kansas State University in Manhattan with the inten - tion of majoring in pre-veterinary medi- cine, Heptig was eventually drawn to golf course management. A native of Topeka, Kan., Heptig spent ample time at his grandfather Charles El - der's farm (dairy, hogs and row crops) in Wamego, Kan., just a short drive from Manhattan. "There were plenty of places to get dirty. I rode horses and milked cows. I was 6 or 7 when I milked my first cow. I remember thinking it was kind of gross," he Top: Heptig and Richard McConaghay tend to the worm bin. Middle: An inside look at a composter. Bottom: Heptig takes special pride in the blue recycling bins at Dairy Creek. Per Heptig's request, Par Aide made the bins in the classic color used to designate recycling. Heptig lifts a "tea bag" made from a modified 5-gallon bucket from his compost tea brewer, with Highway 1 in the background.

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