Golf’s existence with the environment is always going to be a topic of heated debate. The Oregon GCSA has known this since 2000 with the first publication of the Oregon Stewardship Guidelines. Now there is a big push at the national level to make sure all golf facilities are staying ahead of the curve. The OGCSA Superintendents set the bar and are now a catalyst behind the GCSAA’s BMP initiative. The goal is for all 50 states to have BMP guidelines in place by 2020. Since 2000, the Oregon Stewardship Guidelines have gone through a revision, which took place in 2007. Tom Calabrese of EnviroLogic Resources, LLC stepped in to fill the void left with the sudden passing of Dr. Michael Hindahl. At that time, The NTA assisted with the project, bringing the state of Washington into the fold. You might be asking yourself, “Why are we bringing this up again if Oregon is already ahead of the game?” Well, the GCSAA has taken these guidelines to the next level with their Facility BMP tool, and the board feels it is time to once again update the Stewardship Guidelines and incorporate them into the GCSAA tool, as well as separate the Washington BMP’s into their own document.
I could go on and on about all of the common misconceptions about golf, and golf courses, and pesticide use, but I’m certain we are all aware of those by now. My question to you is what will you do when someone comes to your facility and wants to know what you’re doing to protect the environment around you? This is the question that was asked nearly 20 years ago, and the answer was the Oregon Stewardship Guidelines. While simply referencing our state guidelines is a great start, it shouldn’t be the final answer.
We understand that no two facilities are exactly the same. Our properties all have characteristics that make them unique from one another, and we need a document that is specific to our facility. The intent behind the original Oregon Stewardship Guideline was to be a reference and template to create our own facility guidelines. While having a state guideline is incredibly helpful, it still requires some work on our end to complete a facility guideline. The question now is how do we make this easier for our members? This is where the GCSAA Facility BMP tool comes in.
Once our state BMP’s are uploaded to the GCSAA’s template, we will all have access to an online, working file that members can customize to fit the specific needs of their unique facilities. It will be easier than ever for Superintendents to have their own, site specific set of BMP’s. In order to get this done, the OGCSA has again contracted with Tom Calabrese to update our Stewardship guideline to conform to the constantly changing political and legal landscape we live in. They will also be charged with formatting and uploading the BMP section of our guidelines to the GCSAA template.
A project of this magnitude is not something to be taken lightly. This is something the board of directors has been working on for nearly 2 years in order to ensure we are doing what is best for our member’s and using our funds aptly. Some chapters of the Northwest represent members in multiple states, because of this, we have partnered with the Western Washington GCSA as well as the Inland Empire GCSA on this venture. Working together, we will continue to ensure that our members are at the forefront of environmental stewardship.