Oregon supers put R4R funds to good use

“This article was originally published in the March 27, 2017 Golf Course Management magazine Blog Post.” 

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It was five years ago that the Oregon GCSA took a leap of faith and decided to help fund a research assistant position at Oregon State University.

Today, Brian McDonald (pictured above) is grateful for the chance to continue studying conditions that directly affect golf course superintendents in the Northwest, such as moss control on putting greens and bluegrass control in cool-season grasses.

“Brian’s research has helped us in dealing with Microdochium patch, which is a serious turf disease here in the Northwest,” said Chuck Wolsborn, president of the Oregon GCSA and superintendent and general manager at Gresham Golf Course, an 18-hole facility east of Portland. “Research funds are drying up, and our commitment to research is important to us because we benefit directly from Brian’s work.”

Each year since 2013, the Oregon GCSA has contributed $25,000 toward the salaried position that McDonald has held for almost two decades. In 2016, $3,500 of that total was earned through Rounds 4 Research, the national tee time donation program administered by the Environmental Institute for Golf (EIFG), the philanthropic arm of the GCSAA. The program also has the support of The Toro Company, which donates $50,000 annually.

“It’s critical for me to have their backing so I can focus on projects that directly help them,” said McDonald, who is a senior faculty research assistant at Oregon State. “I have tremendous respect and admiration for superintendents. They have a difficult job, and I want to find solutions that will make their jobs easier.”Oregon superintendents donated tee times at 19 courses throughout the state in 2016, including a highly regarded stay-and-play package at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort and rounds at Bend Golf and Country Club.

“The more we can raise with Rounds 4 Research, the less we have coming out of members’ dues,” continued Wolsborn, a 23-year member of GCSAA.

The 2017 Rounds 4 Research program is scheduled for May 1-7 on the online auction site biddingforgood.com. This year the program will have additional promotion and donations through a partnership with the Golf Channel during “Go Play Week.”

“We think that the Golf Channel will help us take Rounds4Reseach to a different level,” said Mischia Wright, associate director of the EIFG. “The EIFG has distributed more than $435,000 to chapters and turfgrass organizations since 2012. This is a great opportunity for golfers to enjoy a great round and contribute to something special.”