RIGCSA Scholarship and Research Tournament
The Rhode Island Golf course Superintendents Association (RIGCSA) has had a long history of providing scholarships and research grants to universities and university students. Founded and conceptualized in 1983 by then President John Streeter, CGCS it was the goal of the association to assist not only our profession but to provide financial assistance to students at accredited universities. The original annual tournament, which is the main fundraiser, was held at Valley Country Club where John Streeter, CGCS was superintendent. Some of the individuals responsible for the start up include Mark Richard, CGCS; Richard Lombardi; Joe Ray; Don Silven, CGCS; Jim Piquette; Mike Iacono, CGCS; Vin Iacono and John Lensing as well as continued support from board and committee members over the years. For the past 8 years, Richard Lombardi has been the Committee Chairperson and has been organizing this event with the help of the Scholarship and Research Committee and Chapter Executive, Julie Heston. The initial three years was a learning process for the concept but in the fourth year this worthy undertaking took off. Over the past 25 years, the association has awarded over $300,000 in scholarships to worthy students as well as research grants to the University of Rhode Island.
This year’s tournament was held at Shelter Harbor Golf Club in Charlestown, Rhode Island on October 15th. Edward Walsh, CGCS was our host for the day supplying exceptional course conditions for the 26th Annual Scholarship and Research Tournament. Members received a formal invitation in the mail at the end of July for this event. Members may not invite other members as their guest. They are asked to bring a guest, preferably a club official. This gives the superintendent a chance to bring someone from his/her club to participate in a great event and learn more about the superintendent profession.
The day starts off at 10:00 am with registration and time to practice. During registration, participants receive a gift which in the past has been golf apparel with the event name on it. For the 25th anniversary, all participants received a Titleist Vokey Wedge as their gift. Each participant is entered into a silent raffle which prizes include golf foursomes, golf merchandise and gift certificates donated from our membership. We also conduct a 50/50 cash raffle where one winner receives half of the money collected and the other half goes into the scholarship and research fund. This year’s tournament raised $3500 for that raffle. There was an 11:30 am shotgun start with lunch served on the golf course. After golf, all players are required to change into jacket and tie for dinner. This really helps to present a professional view of our association to the club officials and the host club. We have a short hors d’oeuvres reception and dinner to follow. During dinner, a committee member will thank the host and other people from the club. They also thank all the sponsors that donated to this event which can be found on table tents at all the dinner tables. There are also tee signs throughout the golf course to recognize all our sponsors.
The RIGCSA annually awards scholarships and research grants under the following criteria.
- The C.R. Skogley Memorial scholarship, named for the renowned URI turfgrass scientist, professor and innovator, is awarded to a University of Rhode Island turfgrass management student.
- An employee of a RIGCSA member who is enrolled in an accredited turfgrass management university program.
- RIGCSA member children and grandchildren who are attending accredited university studies either in turf management or other degree pursuits.
- The Ryan Reynolds Legacy Award which began in 2005.
- The Noel Jackson Research Grant awarded to a research student at the University of Rhode Island
The Scholarship and Research Committee are able to annually award several student scholarships through years of planning, dedication and commitment to the original concept and goals. We award students at the RIGCSA’s Annual Meeting which is held in January every year. For 2008, the RIGCSA awarded $18,000 in scholarships. The annual tournament has been hosted by twenty-six member clubs over its inception. The RIGCSA members and volunteers have truly come a long way since the early inception of this worthy undertaking and look forward to continued success with providing assistance to those furthering research and educational goals. The 27th Annual Scholarship and Research is scheduled to place at Metacomet Country Club in East Providence, RI in October and our host will be current RIGCSA President, Paul Jamrog.