What does your chapter do that has been a big success or is different from other chapters over the past few years? That is a difficult question to answer when you don’t have a baseline for what the other chapters are doing. There are so many good ideas out there which different chapters implement, but never discuss with other chapters, because everyone figures everyone else is doing the same thing.
Some ideas that are marginally successful could be expanded upon with help from others who have tried and failed, and other ideas that are huge successes could be shared. Maybe, just maybe, the Rocky Mountain Golf Course Superintendents Association (RMGSA) can suggest an idea that your chapter is not doing at this time. I have grouped our suggestions into three categories:
- What our association provides to our members
- The awards and recognition our association sponsors and
- Our association’s involvements
One of the most important roles of the RMGCSA is to be involved and represented nationally and locally with different organizations that have an impact on golf.
The RMGCSA has volunteers currently assisting seven different committees and task groups within the GCSAA. Two of these task groups are actually chaired by RMGCSA members. Dennis Lyon, CGCS is a past president of the GCSAA and is still an active member of our local RMGCSA. Gregg Blew, CGCS is currently seeking election as a director of the GCSAA.
Our chapter’s involvement nationally helps our association represent our concerns to people out of our region while hearing things that may be affecting other regions that don’t have as much of an immediate impact on us. For example: the conservation and efficient use of precious water resources is something that people in Michigan might not view as a big issue. In much the same way, Colorado might not understand the problem New York has with bluegrass chinch bugs. Our national involvement also keeps us abreast of the changes and programs that the GCSAA is implementing. By donating our time to sit on committees, we get to hear what’s happening in a “face to face” format. It allows you to put a face to the stories and gives you the chance to ask questions in person. From this, the information is then disseminated to our membership through newsletters, meetings, our website, and “mouth to mouth.”
Locally, the RMGCSA has members that volunteer with Colorado golf activities. The City of Denver Golf Courses volunteers its time and courses to the First Tee Program. Green Valley Ranch also assists the First Tee Program and hosts the Colorado Men’s Open, Women’s Open, and Seniors’ Open. Superintendents from other golf courses volunteer time with the Colorado Open Board of Trustees to help with issues setting up the Opens. We also have representation on the Colorado Golf Association and the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame boards of directors. This involvement helps to show the professionalism of our association as well as the individual superintendents who represent us.
The RMGCSA also represents itself in the state with groups that aren’t specifically golf but do have an impact on the golf industry. Members from the RMGCSA sit on the boards of directors and raise money for the Rocky Mountain Regional Turfgrass Association and the Colorado Turfgrass Foundation. The Rocky Mountain Regional Turfgrass Association is responsible for setting up the local turfgrass conference, tradeshow, and speakers. The Colorado Turfgrass Foundation raises funds and then donates the money for turfgrass research and scholarships. The RMGCSA also sponsors the Colorado State University turf club at the GCSAA Turf Bowl. We also have representation with the Statewide Water Supply Initiative and the Agricultural Chemicals and Groundwater Protection Advisory Committee. Also, the Colorado Department of Agriculture recently asked for help in writing questions for the Pesticide Applicators Licensing Test.
One of the biggest things the RMGCSA has done in the past three years has been helping to initiate, fund, and support an independent study of the 2002 Economic Impact and Environmental Aspects of Golf in Colorado. The research was performed by Colorado State University and THK Consulting. The initial project was a joint funding effort between the RMGCSA, the Colorado Golf Association, the Colorado Women’s Golf Association, Colorado Section of the PGA, Club Managers Association of America, and the Colorado Chapter of the National Golf Course Owners Association. A follow up to the study titled Economic Analysis of Water Resource Use Efficiency in Golf is now being conducted by Dr. Stephen Davies at Colorado State University with much of the funding coming from the RMGCSA and The Environmental Institute for Golf. The results of these studies are valuable tools when it comes to lobbying for water, new projects, and assistance with government and city officials. These types of joint projects have led to other shared ventures including combining meetings.
Provide what your members want
Partnerships with allied associations
One of the benefits we were able to provide our membership in 2005 was a joint meeting between the Club Managers Association and the RMGCSA. The seminar portion showed off one of the newest maintenance facilities in Colorado at Boulder Country Club. The topic was one of mutual interest, and it provided an opportunity for networking between superintendents and club managers in a nice informal format. We have tried very hard over the past two years to spread out our meetings all over the state, giving all members the opportunity to attend at least one meeting. We had found that with a large region, the same superintendents kept attending the meetings when they were close to Denver. In order to create more value for members on the other side of the Continental Divide and areas 200 to 300 miles from Denver, we try and rotate throughout the state.
Frequently when we have seminars away from the Denver area, we have tried to use a two-day event schedule. In April of 2004, we had a seminar in Grand Junction. Grand Junction is 250 miles from Denver. The seminars were made available on a Sunday evening (5-9pm) and concluded Monday morning (7-11am). Some members attended Sunday only, others Monday morning or both. Our speaker, Dr. Karnok, had four half-day seminars available, and we chose the best two for our region. The schedule allowed for the inclusion of morning golf at Devils Thumb on Sunday and afternoon golf at Redlands Mesa on Monday. The two-day format made it worthwhile for members to drive from Denver and spend the night. It also gave the Western slope and even some of the Intermountain Golf Course Superintendents Association members the opportunity to attend.
Some of the other things we provide our members are available because we use a full time association management company by the name of Interactive Management to manage our affairs. With the help of Gary Leeper and the Interactive Management staff, we have a fully functional web page that gives us the ability to register on-line for events, view employment opportunities, and find links to other pertinent sites. They also help in negotiating prices for printing and hosted event services. With the help of Interactive Management, the RMGCSA prints its membership newsletter, The Reporter, eight times a year.
The Reporter is not only used to highlight our past and upcoming events. It is also used to highlight research results, governmental and legislative news, and to relate issues from the GCSAA to our members. We also have two special articles in The Reporter. One is dedicated to the Director of Rules and Competitions with the Colorado Golf Association. He writes about rules that have affected recent tournament outcomes and new rules changes from year to year. The other article is titled “Affiliate Angle.” It is a bio of one of our affiliate members. This came about after a summit meeting where we discussed with our affiliate members what we could do to make their membership more rewarding. This past year, we had our first affiliate summit, and it was a huge success. We have decided to make this an annual event.
Recognize and reward
During the affiliate summit, we realized the need to recognize individual affiliate members in much the same way we profile superintendents when we play their courses. The RMGCSA has always tried to place a high priority on awards and recognition. Colorado leads the country right now with 14% of its courses certified as National Audubon Sanctuaries. The national average is 3%. We also have 29% of our courses registered in the program, and the national average is 12%. We feel a large reason for this success has been the effort the RMGCSA does to recognize these successes through The Reporter, web site, and local papers. This year the RMGCSA began a new Environmental Committee whose goals include recognition and awarding of courses going the extra mile.
The RMGCSA has several other awards it gives out to recognize people in the golf business. We have an award titled the Henry Hughes Award. It is an award given to influential people in the golf business. It is modeled after the Old Tom Morris Award. Henry Hughes was a superintendent in the state and his father was responsible for building The Broadmoor Golf Club in Colorado Springs. The award can go to superintendents, but it also is given to people who have greatly influenced or are currently influencing golf in the state. We recognize our past presidents by having an Annual Past Presidents of the RMGCSA golf outing and meeting. The meeting allows current board members to discuss the direction of the association with past presidents. We get feedback on similar initiatives that may have gone well or failed in the past. We hand out some recognition for their past service, and then get to play some golf. Past presidents are also recognized in our membership directory with a chronological listing of their service with their photographs. To recognize individual superintendents we have a Superintendent of the Year Award.
These are just a few of the things that help make the RMGCSA a success. I’m sure many of these are used across the country, but maybe a couple of these are ideas that you could take to your association to help with involvement, awarding and recognizing members, and providing what your members want.
Submitted by Scott M. Phelps, CGCS –
Rocky Mountain GCSA Director
To share your chapter's success stories, please email them to Leann Cooper.