This October 11 and 12 I had the opportunity to represent the Oregon Golf Course Superintendents Association (OGCSA) at the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America’s (GCSAA) annual Chapter Delegates Meeting in Kansas City, Missouri and the Lawrence Kansas Headquarters. I have enjoyed my visits over the years back to the association mother-ship, catching up with old friends and the chance to meet new ones. It is interesting to catchup and learn about other superintendents different situations and problems. Col. John Morley, founder of the GCSAA, stated September 1926, “No life is, or can be, self-existent. We depend upon each other.”
Two of my favorite staff members to visit with are Chava McKeel and Bob Helland from the Government Affairs Department. The GCSAA has always been a leader in advocacy on behalf of the golf industry. At National Golf Day in Washington D. C. of the 100 individuals representing the allied golf associations, 60 were GCSAA members; many were Grassroots Ambassadors that paid their own way.
The GCSAA Board of Directors (Board) formed a federal Political Action Committee (PAC) in 2001 but was tabled following the 9/11 tragedy. To take the next step, the GCSAA is interested in reestablishing the GCSAA PAC. To be effective and raise GCSAA’s profile in Washington, it is necessary to build strong relationships and find champions to advocate for the association’s position. The GCSAA PAC would not fund one political party over the others, but would support specific candidates or issues that most reflect the GCSAA’s established Priority Issue Agenda. Funding the PAC, by law, would be totally separate from current National and Chapter funding and would be totally voluntary.
Continuing on being proactive, the Association has been working on GCSAA Best Management Practices (BMP) Planning Guide and Template, which will be launched at the 2017 Golf Industry Show in Orlando. The tool will provide a road map for golf facilities at the state level to develop and implement a BMP program. If you are currently using the OGCSA Environmental Guidelines you are ahead of the game.
Much of this was started in Florida where the state doesn’t have preemption in the area of fertilizer. Florida superintendents were looking at as many as 71 local fertilizer restrictions and/or bans. By establishing and presenting their BMPs to local regulators; restrictions were lifted on golf courses with BMPs. The BMPs showed the government officials golf industry’s concern for the environment.
The GCSAA has renewed its focus on membership engagement and growth. We have seen previous actions that reflect this in the implementation of the GCSAA Field Staff. More recently, the association added Shelia Finney as Senior Director, Membership Growth. Shelia has had experience as the Executive Director of the Tennessee GCSA and as a previous superintendent. By engaging current members and attracting new members it is hoped to have 20,000 members by the year 2020. Increasing members benefits both the national and local chapters.
Along these lines, the GCSAA has experienced a reduced interest in committee service. I have found committee/task group service a rewarding practice. Service on a committee or task group does require a small time commitment but the association picks up any travel, lodging, and/ or out of pocket expense. Many of the meetings, when possible, are conference calls. If you are interested in volunteering, go to gcsaa.org (the link is on the home page) and fill out the online application. The application period is from November 1, 2016 thru January 30, 2017 and committees are appointed March 1.
Finally, the delegates were broken down into several small groups to spend time asking questions of the candidates for the GCSAA Board of Directors. Most members have the Chapter Delegate vote by proxy. If you are interested in how the chapter will vote or any other issues feel free to contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org