EGR Awards Case Study

John Haley, Hermitage Country Club, Virginia

John Haley, superintendent at Hermitage Country Club in Richmond, Va., took a lead role during the summer of 2002 in helping ease harsh water restrictions imposed against the golf industry.

Virginia experienced one of the worst droughts on record during the summer of 2002, and as a result, the governor issued Proclamation 33, which mandated severe water restrictions for everyone in the state. Golf courses were hit especially hard. John, working closely with the government relations committee of the Virginia Golf Course Superintendents Association, met with state agency officials to try to tackle the issue head on to alleviate some of the restrictions golf courses faced and educate state officials on golf course water management practices.

During the winter of 2003, the governor established a Drought Task Force to address the state's future drought issues. Because of John's work and members of the Virginia GCSA government relations committee, the governor invited a member of the chapter to serve on the newly-created drought task force. John was asked to take the lead role on this issue and never hesitated to take the position. He became a member of the Drought Task Force along with forty other individuals from water use industries. Haley now serves as the voice for the golf course management industry on the task force and makes sure that golf is fairly represented as the state's Drought Water Plan is constructed.

During his time on the task force, Haley has been able to educate government officials on the needs and importance of water usage throughout the golf industry. Through his efforts, Haley has also been able to show the task force how the golf industry serves as a major revenue source for the state.

The task force is very close to completing its work on the state drought plan. Because of John's efforts, the drought plan will ease in water restrictions on golf courses based on a number of monitoring factors rather than having the water shut off all at once.

John's leadership has allowed golf course superintendents across the state to feel more comfortable about future water restrictions. The relationships he's developed with officials from the Department of Water Quality will also be important in the future should water issues affecting the industry arise.