ELGA logo
Recognizing golf course superintendents and golf courses for the commitment to
environmental stewardship.

Presented by GCSAA and Golf Digest
Presented by GCSAA and Golf Digest

A partnership program benefiting
The Environmental Institute for Golf

Rain Bird

GCSAA/Golf Digest's Environmental Leaders in Golf Awards

Presented by GCSAA and Golf Digest in partnership with Syngenta and Rain Bird, the Environmental Leaders in Golf Awards recognize golf course superintendents and golf courses around the world for their commitment to environmental stewardship. Apply online.

These prestigious awards will result in recognition of environmental leaders and thousands of dollars donated to The Environmental Institute for Golf. Since 1993, participating sponsors have contributed more than $350,000 to The Environmental Institute for Golf, and more than 400 golf course superintendents have been recognized with past awards. View a list of past winners.

Who is eligible to apply?

Applicants from the United States must be members in good standing of GCSAA and of an affiliated GCSAA chapter. Applicants from outside the United States should be members of similar local organizations.

Superintendents who have previously been recognized as a national or international winner of the Environmental Steward Awards or as a winner of Golf Digest's Environmental Leaders in Golf Awards are not eligible to apply for the 2010 awards unless they have changed facilities. This allows other honorees to enter the winner's circle.


While GCSAA members may apply for the awards directly, members and non-members (including the general public) also may nominate GCSAA members for award consideration. Nominations, including the nominee's name and mailing address, should be directed to GCSAA by October 24, 2010 with a short description as to why the GCSAA member is being nominated. Nominees will be notified of their nomination and provided with an application form for completion. Those making the nomination will remain anonymous unless otherwise requested.

Who selects the winners?

Award selection will be handled by an independent panel of judges equally representing major national environmental groups as well as the golf industry. Previous judging panels have included pesticide and irrigation specialists, independent agronomists and/or turfgrass consultants and representatives of independent environmental groups.

What are the judges looking for?

Applications will be evaluated in the five categories identified in the application: Resource Conservation, Water Quality Management, Integrated Pest Management, Wildlife/Habitat Management and Education/Outreach.

Criteria for responding to each category:

  • Sustainability: The key concept in environmental leadership is the intelligent management of valuable resources so the rate of the use matches the renewal. Simply putting up bird boxes or feeding stations lacks the sustainable quality of designing, building and managing a complete habitat that provides year-round food, cover and water.
  • Criticality: Does the facility actually improve the surrounding environment/ecosystem in a substantial and fundamental way that another use of the land, or in fact no use of the land, wouldn't? What of the use of natural resources, conservation of water and fossil fuel? Is it significant? Water conservation in areas of abundant water is less laudable than in arid areas, for example.
  • Originality: Has the facility come up with new methods or discovered new problems (and subsequently resolved them in new ways)? Originality or creative thought inspires others, broadens our perspectives and adds opportunity for innovation.
  • Technology use/implementation: Explain the role and value of technology in day-to-day operations as applicable to environmental stewardship.

Applicants must answer questions directly in the space provided on the application form. Additional pages may not be attached. It is important that information be printed or typed so that it is legible for judges to review and for duplication purposes. Photos, videos and additional documentation will not be accepted with the entries. Top award candidates may be contacted for judges to conduct an on-site inspection of their facility.

Note: Those selected as overall, national and international winners should be prepared to submit photos and additional documentation on environmental efforts immediately following award selections. These materials will be used in preparing promotional pieces about your accomplishment.


  • Describe local conditions and challenges to provide a frame of reference for what you've accomplished.
  • Avoid duplication of answers by providing information specific to the category being evaluated.
  • Be specific. Focus on the details that make your facility stand out.
  • Documented improvement is preferred to estimated or claimed performance.
  • Quality of information, not quantity, is what's important to the judging panel.

How are winners selected?

Judges will evaluate each of the five categories of the application on a scale of 20 points per category, for a potential maximum total of 100 points per applicant. Applicants receiving a minimum score of 70 percent will automatically qualify for a merit award. Up to three applicants receiving the highest scores (at least 80 percent) from each chapter/country will be selected for chapter awards, one winner each representing public, private and resort course facilities. The public, private and resort course facility applications receiving the top scores will then go before a final judging panel for selection of three national winners, again representing one public, one private and one resort course facility, and an international winner. One overall winner also will be selected.

ELGA winners receive:

  • Recognition in Golf Digest and GCSAA publications
  • Recognition at the 2011 GCSAA Education Conference and Golf Industry Show in Orlando.
  • An invitation for the winner's employer to attend the recognition activities in Orlando.
  • A personalized trophy or certificate of achievement
  • National, regional and local publicity

When are winners announced?

All applicants will receive a confirmation letter from GCSAA. Winners will be notified in December 2010 and recognized at the 2011 GCSAA Education Conference and Golf Industry Show in Orlando.

When is the deadline and where should I send my application?

Apply online. Applications are due by Oct. 24, 2010.