Winter President’s Message

Each fall, we all look forward to things at work slowing down and having an opportunity to recharge.  And each winter, it never seems to slow down as much as we hoped it would!  The Association is no different as this is the time when most of us have more time to devote to planning and completing initiatives and tasks.  Needless to say, Alexis is working her tail off year-round and gets a little more out of us during the winter months.

One item that has been discussed for the last couple of years is the scholarships offered by OGCSA and the Oregon Turfgrass Foundation. Historically the OTF has offered two memorial scholarships the Whitworth and the Martin Scholarship  to the top two ranked turfgrass students and the OGCSA has offered a third..  With waning enrollment numbers in turfgrass schools across the country and less scholarship applicants each year, the Association decided to change gears and offer scholarships that would more directly benefit the existing membership.  As you might remember, we were able to offer two PACE Course scholarships last fall.  One of those through a donation from the OSU Turfgrass program and the other funded by the Association.  The other new scholarship opportunity is the OGCSA Legacy Scholarship.  These funds will be available to an OGCSA member’s child or grandchild for the purpose of pursuing higher education at an accredited institution.  The application deadline is March 31, so please spread the word on this opportunity. The OTF will continue to offer the Whitworth and the Martin Scholarships to students pursing higher education in turfgrass management.

One of the aligned initiatives of GCSAA and OGCSA has been the establishment of state and facility BMP guides.  While Oregon has been at the forefront of this charge for over 20 years, GCSAA was successful in getting all 50 states to adopt or update a BMP guide by the end of 2020.  For the state of Oregon, the adoption of the third edition was on the heels of the creation of the document in 2000 and a previous revision in 2009.  The second half of this effort was adoption at the facility level and that was spearheaded by Tod Blankenship, Dave Phipps, Stan Presley, and Alexis Wenker.  They hosted workshops in Portland, Medford, and Bend to facilitate the creation of these documents for 33 attendees.  The event was so popular that Alexis was asked to present the concept at a Chapter Executive meeting in February.

The GCSAA Conference and Trade Show (going back to the old name!) was held in San Diego in early February.  While total attendance was down to about 50% of pre-pandemic levels, it seemed as though all attendees were just happy to be there, in person, enjoying the camaraderie and taking in some much-appreciated Vitamin D.  It goes without saying that everyone is looking forward to the return of a “normal” show without restrictions in the coming years.

One of the Association’s most successful and straightforward fundraisers is Rounds 4 Research.  This program leans on the generosity of golf facilities across the state and SW Washington to provide rounds of golf that are auctioned off through an online auction scheduled to run April 15-May 1 this year. The last several years, the Association has been able to raise over $6000 annually which is directly passed along to the Oregon State Turf program to support the incredible research they are conducting.  If you have donated in the past, thank you for your generosity and please continue to do so.  If you have not, please consider donating as we all benefit from the work being done in Corvallis.

Corey Beelke and Ty Patton have been busy putting the finishing touches on the tournament calendar for this year.  The OGCSA Open will be heading to Astoria Golf and Country Club on Friday, April 29.  If you have yet to venture out to Astoria, it is an absolute blast to play.  On Thursday, May 19, golf will be available on The Pub Course at McMenamins Edgefield following the Annual Meeting.  And finally, after patiently waiting to host the Superintendent-Assistant Tournament for a third straight year, we will be heading to Tokatee Golf Club on Wednesday, June 15.  We greatly appreciate the generosity of all of these facilities for hosting these events.

Here’s to hoping the golf industry continues to gain in popularity, maybe just at a more manageable pace moving forward!

Brian Koffler, OGCSA President