Golf Course Management

MAY 2018

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

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30 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 05.18 It was a simple goal: Assure the public of golf 's commitment to environmental steward - ship with comprehensive and voluntary golf course best management practices, including irrigation efficiency and crisis water manage - ment plans, in exchange for access to water, al- beit in reduced quantities, upon demand. is goal was proclaimed in 2009 in Minnesota, the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Implementing the concept has been a different story for the Minnesota GCSA (MGCSA) chapter of GCSAA and its al - lied golf industry associations, as state water management is divided among agencies, forces that don't often work together for the enhancement of Minnesota's resources. Also, the initiative was slowed by lack of volunteer support as the promoters — golf course super - intendents — were too focused during their active season to pursue the idea with vigor. In 2012, MGCSA made a dramatic shift in their management and hired a full-time ex - ecutive director with a mandate to complete the BMP initiative. Not unlike herding cats, getting state agencies on board with the plan continued to be a challenge. After five years of agency meetings, legislative networking, in - dustry testimonies and consistently telling the great story of golf, headway has been made, and the industry is now recognized as a strong and active environmental steward. Success can be directly attributed to the implementation of the five P's. No, not the lit - tle p's — proper planning prevents poor per- formance — but the following big P's: Proactive. MGCSA's mantra is, "If you're not at the table, you're going to be on the menu." Once we seated ourselves, we became recognized as a group of professionals not only interested in the business of golf, but more im - portant, as stewards of the environment. Partnerships. In 2012, MGCSA Presi - dent Scottie Hines, CGCS, and Vice Presi- dent Roger Stewart, CGCS, reached out to the largest state-allied golf associations and the University of Minnesota for a meeting to discuss environmental issues looming on the horizon, meetings that continue on an annual basis. MGCSA also began attending public gatherings hosted by Minnesota state agencies, requesting private audiences with agency directors and joining private organiza - tions that were at times critics of the industry, such as the Freshwater Society, Conservation Minnesota and the Izaak Walton League. Re - lationships were also secured with specific leg- islators seated on the Legislative Water Com- mission. In 2016, MGCSA partnered with GCSAA and the University of Minnesota to promote environmental stewardship in a digi - tal billboard campaign during the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn. Participation. MGCSA pursued and re - ceived appointments to several state agency committees. e state chapter also directly engaged organizations through registration and recognition as supporters of many issues, from water conservation to stormwater man - agement. MGCSA also will fund and sponsor environmental initiatives, including the Min - nesota Pollinator Summit. Presentations. Professional materials were developed and made ready for distribution and presentation to state agencies, legislators, local governments, allied associations and MGCSA meeting attendees. Testimony was prepared and provided numerous times. e business suddenly had a recognizable face. For the past three years, MGCSA has primarily hosted — along with other Minnesota golf- allied associations — Golf Industry Day on e Hill, events at the state capitol to shout loud the great story of golf. Eventually, there will come a time when we pursue bills to be made into law. Persistence. Perhaps the greatest profes - sional advancement MGCSA made in the past six years was enlisting a full-time, motivated and engaged employee who was empowered to pursue all of the above-mentioned P's on the association's behalf on a consistent basis. e organization had learned through previ - Give P's a chance (advocacy) Jack MacKenzie, CGCS jack@mgcsa.org Minnesota GCSA executive director Jack MacKenzie (right) says MGCSA's advocacy efforts have positioned the association as a leader in environmental stewardship. He is pictured here with his son Tyler, the superintendent at Boca West Country Club in Boca Raton, Fla., and a four-year GCSAA member. Photo by Howard Richman ous years of limited investment — and thus marginal advancement — in advocacy that the impression of the golf industry wasn't one of respected professionals concerned about the state's finite resources. By retaining a compe - tent and energized extrovert to lead the associ- ation, great strides were made in changing the perception of golf and turf managers. Hiring an interested and dedicated professional is a critical investment in the industry that cannot be overstated. After six years of dedicated and unabashed professional promotion, MGCSA has gained a position as a leader in environmental stew - ardship. is elevated position has allowed for the generation of four published BMP-related manuals, using in part the GCSAA template, and has established a platform for important agency and legislative relationships. Although we don't have solid assurances the industry will always have access to irrigation water, our story has been — and will continue to be — heard throughout the state. In Minnesota, the value of environmen - tal advocacy and unabashed self-promotion has generated dividends well beyond the ini - tial and ongoing investment of time and re- sources. Jack MacKenzie, CGCS, and a 35-year GCSAA member, has been employed in the golf course turf management industry for 42 years, the last six as executive director of the Minnesota GCSA. Active in advocacy on behalf of the golf industry, Jack has been, and continues, participat - ing on various state agency committees, most recently on a multiagency task force looking at stormwater and effluent reuse.

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