Word spread quickly amongst the Iowa Golf Course Superintendents Association members. One of their own needed help. The maintenance facility at Spring Lakes Golf Club in Fort Madison, Iowa had burned down. So, the chapter did what most of us would expect – they lent a hand, or in this case many hands! With the help of chapter members, Brad Wade’s facility was rebuilt. Members lent equipment until Wade could get back on his feet.
Jeff Wendel, CGCS, executive director of the Iowa GCSA said, “We had a great turnout. The guys really came through. Iowa GCSA has no official ‘member help’ fund, or policy, but I wouldn’t say I was surprised by members’ behavior. This is what we do,” Wendel said.
Chapters are often a safety net for their members. Although members may not expect to turn to their chapter for support, it is something that most GCSAA-affiliated chapters will tell you is available when needed.
Chapters offer a sense of community
The Finger Lakes Association of GCS is a tight knit group of superintendents located in the Rochester area of New York. Chapter members were shocked last year when they learned of the death of Matthew J. Hahn, superintendent at Blue Heron Hills Country Club and chapter treasurer. The Finger Lakes Association of GCS members immediately came to the assistance of Hahn’s family - through the benevolence fund, and later through a tournament that raised $14,000 to establish a trust fund for Hahn’s children.
The chapter extended its sense of community, not only to Matthew Hahn’s family, but to his golf course as well. Greg Klem, Finger Lakes Association of GCS president said, “As a board, we informed the club that they didn’t need to rush into any decision on hiring a new superintendent. We wanted to honor Matt’s memory by taking care of his golf course, until a suitable candidate was presented.” The Finger Lakes members took turns checking in on the crew at Blue Heron Hills and lending a hand when needed. Six months after Hahn passed away, the club hired a new superintendent. All agree that it is a good fit.
Communication is often key
The stories above reflect how chapter members reach out to each other in extraordinary circumstances. When a fellow member is struggling with the aftermath of a natural disaster, or sadly, if a colleague passes away, the path we take to help seems simple. What happens when we know of someone who is stricken by illness? While chapters often step in to offer support, GCSAA, if informed of the situation, can take steps to help as well. If members are unable to work due to illness, GCSAA can place their membership in an inactive status. This would allow them to stay in touch with GCSAA, and enjoy the same benefits as before, while not having to keep up with their renewal requirements. Chapters can help their members by notifying GCSAA when a member needs assistance.
Members matter most. Together, GCSAA and chapters can ensure that members’ best interests are top priority.
To share your chapter's success stories, please email them to Leann Cooper.