2023 GCSAA Delegate Meeting Recap

It was my privilege to travel to the Midwest, representing the OGCSA, and meet with peers from across the country on October 24th and 25th at the GCSAA Delegates Meeting.  The meeting was held this year at the Airport Hilton in Kansas City and GCSAA headquarters in Lawrence.  It was an information packed day and a half with great opportunities for us delegates to ask questions and share feedback from our local chapters.

      The first afternoon kicked off with briefings from GCSAA President Kevin P. Breen, CGCS, and CEO Rhett Evans on the solid state of the association with an emphasis on the growth (now over 20,000 members) and bright future of GCSAA.  Delegates were also updated on the financial status of the association, which has remained resilient through the challenges we have all faced.  We were also presented updates on the upcoming Conference and Trade Show in Phoenix, the record-breaking Rounds 4 Research this year and next years dates (April 22nd-28th), and an overview of happenings in Government Affairs.  Chava McKeel, director, government affairs spoke to the delegates at length on GCSAA advocacy efforts on key issues impacting the golf industry, including recent proposed changes to pesticide regulation in relation to the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The EPA is trying to come into compliance with its obligations under the ESA and have proposed a workplan and several pilots that could significantly affect the way superintendents are allowed to use pesticides in the future.  I would highly encourage everyone to visit the GCSAA website and stay up to date on the information and efforts of the association as it pertains to pesticide regulation and the ESA.    

              The next day started with a bus ride to Lawerence and updates from GCSAA Departments.  Mark Johnson, director, environmental programs stressed the importance of BMP implementation and how crucial they have become when working with agencies such as the EPA.  Leann Cooper, senior manager, First Green and workforce development reported on both the long-range (First Green, FFA, and Jobs for America’s Graduates) and short-range (training and resources for current crew) strategies to bring people into the work force.  She also touched on the career development certificates and career guidance services provided by the GCSAA.  An update of the GCSAA Centennial was presented by Darren J Davis, CGCS, committee chair, and Mark F Jordan, CGCS, vice chair.  The timeline for the celebrations includes a public relations campaign beginning in late 2025, official member kick off at CTS 2026, unveiling of a statue of Col. John Morley at GCSAA Headquarters on Sept. 13th, 2026, and an official closing at CTS in 2027.  The remainder of the day was full of small breakout sessions where we dove into several industry topics.  It was a terrific opportunity to hear and share ideas with superintendents from various parts of the country.  Many relevant questions and comments were also directed to the GCSAA Board during a town hall meeting in the afternoon.  The meeting concluded with presentations from the Board Candidates and another round of breakout sessions, allowing us time with each candidate.

              As I said it was a full day and a half of information, and GCSAA does have a full recap with outcomes on their website if you would like more details of the meeting.  It is an honor to serve as the OGCSA delegate, and please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or concerns.

Shane Hadwick, OGCSA Chapter Delegate & OGCSA Past President
Superintendent, Orchard Hills Golf & Country Club