Golf Course Management

DEC 2012

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 21 of 125

Inside GCM by Scott Hollister Taking the next step Nobody rallies around a cause quite like the golf industry. There are plenty of areas where our collective busi- ness could stand to make some improvements — column top- ics for another day, I suppose — but when it comes to pulling together, pooling resources and expertise, and drilling down to the core of an issue, golf should be giving lessons. I was reminded of this during an early November trip to Dallas for what was dubbed as the USGA water summit. It went by the official name of "Golf 's Use of Water: Solutions for a More Sustainable Game," and featured an impressive list of golf 's thought leaders with a deep, thorough agenda that left few stones unturned in its examination of this important industry issue. You can read my full report from the event in this month's Front Nine news section ("USGA summit spotlights golf 's use of water," Page 20) and at GCM's blog (http://gcm., but it was an energizing day and a half. Simi- lar meetings focused on growth-of-the-game initiatives or golf 's environmental practices, for example, have generated their own buzz, but this gathering of superintendents, gov- ernment regulators, architects, builders, agronomists and the golf media set its own standard in that department. Despite that and despite the industry's obvious strengths at surrounding an issue with sheer brain power, there's also an obvious weakness the industry must address, a weakness that was encapsulated in the one overriding question that arose following the USGA's water summit: What's next? Golf does a very good job at the preaching-to-the-choir part of this equation. We celebrate golf courses that embrace new technologies and turfgrass types that ultimately save water. We applaud player-development programs that actu- ally work at bringing new players into the game. But when it comes to taking the lessons learned from those experiences and applying them more broadly and for our common good … well, that's where we could use some work. The general public — golfers and non-golfers alike — de- serves to know about the techniques superintendents employ to conserve water. They should hear about the new technolo- gies being developed to better apply water and measure how it's being used by turfgrass. And they need to be educated about how proactive the game has been in working with leg- islators to police itself during times of water shortages. Golf 's 18 GCM December 2012 use of water is a perception game, and these are the kinds of achievements that help create a more accurate perception of how golf courses use water. To their credit, these shortcomings were acknowledged honestly on more than a few occasions by those standing behind the podium at the water summit. And the USGA pledged to continue making golf 's use of water one of its op- erational priorities and announced plans to convene an in- But when it comes to taking the lessons learned from those experiences and applying them more broadly and for our common good … well, that's where we could use some work. dustry-wide working group to keep the conversation moving forward. And, really, golf has plenty of experience in putting its money where its mouth is that it can fall back on when tackling complex issues like water. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, for example, plenty of folks in the industry rolled up their sleeves to help out colleagues who had been affected, whether profes- sionally or personally, by the storm. Kevin Doyle, GCSAA's field staff representative in the Northeast, shares some of those stories in "Game change" on Page 60 of this issue, which in- cludes information on how you can help out those left in need after the storm. GCM Scott Hollister ( is GCM's editor in chief.

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