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GCSAA Announces Environmental Awards


In recognition of their commitment to environmental stewardship, Little River (Calif.) Inn Golf and Tennis and its Class A superintendent Terry Stratton have been named the overall winner of the 2009 GCSAA/Golf Digest Environmental Leaders in Golf Awards (ELGA).

The national winners include (facility, location, chapter):

National Resort Overall: Terry Stratton, Little River (Calif.) Inn Golf Tennis, GCSA of Northern California

National Public: Jim Brown, CGCS, Newport Dunes Golf Club, Port Aransas, Texas, Gulf Coast GCSA

National Private: Roger Stewart, CGCS, TPC Twin Cities, Blaine, Minn., Minnesota GCSA

International: Brett Morris, Ph.D., Sea Temple Golf Club, Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia

The ELGA winners will be recognized at the 2010 GCSAA Education Conference during Celebrate GCSAA presented in partnership with Syngenta, February 9. Formerly the Opening Session and Welcoming Reception, Celebrate GCSAA is hosted by GCSAA President Mark D. Kuhns, CGCS. The conference (February 8-12) will be held in conjunction with the Golf Industry Show February 10-11 at the San Diego Convention Center. In addition, program sponsors will make donations to The Environmental Institute for Golf, the philanthropic organization of the GCSAA, in the names of all national and chapter winners.

"The 2009 ELGA winners do a tremendous job of highlighting the importance of environmental stewardship in golf, as well as the environmental leadership of GCSAA members," Kuhns said. "The winners, along with their facilities, have demonstrated that golf courses can be compatible with the environment, and in many cases enhance it."

Winners of the ELGA program will be featured by Golf Digest and in an upcoming issue of GCSAA's Golf Course Management magazine.

Judges selected winners in three national categories (public, private and resort courses), and an international winner, with an overall winner selected from those four. Recognition was given to the top entry from each GCSAA affiliated chapter, and merit honors were awarded to those who did not earn national or chapter honors but deserved special recognition in the opinion of the judges.

"Golf Digest has been an active participant in generating discussion regarding golf and its relationship with the environment," said managing editor Roger Schiffman. "We are pleased to share the story that golf is indeed achieving positive results."

In addition to using state-of-the-art irrigation systems with multiple sprinkler heads to deliver pinpoint accuracy and efficient use of water; extensive recycling programs; composting grass clippings, leaves and other herbaceous debris; installing bird houses; using energy-saving light bulbs; and stringent integrated pest management programs for the judicious use of golf course products; the ELGA winners went above and beyond in their environmental stewardship.

Stratton, a 27-year GCSAA member, is a GCSAA Class A superintendent at a nine-hole family-owned resort overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Little River Inn is located approximately 150 miles north of San Francisco. Stratton paid his way to the 2007 GCSAA Education Conference and Golf Industry Show in Anaheim, as did two members of his staff, with money made from collecting and recycling bottles and cans, and they will do the same for the 2010 event in San Diego. No ground water is used for irrigation at Little River Inn Golf and Tennis, as the golf course captures winter rains in reservoirs. Siphons and gravity move irrigation water between reservoirs, using no electricity. Little River Inn's property includes 60 acres of undeveloped redwood forest. Wildlife corridors link the golf course, the adjacent undeveloped property and neighboring Van Damme State Park.

Brown, a 19-year GCSAA member, is a GCSAA-certified golf course superintendent at Newport Dunes Golf Club, a public seaside links course on a barrier island adjacent to the Padre Island National Seashore. Newport Dunes was built with an underground piping system that captures water applied to the course and mechanically recirculates it back into an irrigation system storage tank, preventing potential pollutants from entering the Gulf of Mexico and Laguna Madre bay system. Of the 200 acres of golf course, 120 acres were converted to native vegetation, reestablishing endangered varieties like Southern Sea Oats and providing wildlife corridors. Newport Dunes is grassed with a salt-tolerant Paspalum variety everywhere except the Bermuda grass greens, and effluent water is used for irrigation.

Stewart, a 34-year GCSAA member, is a GCSAA-certified golf course superintendent at TPC Twin Cities, a private residential course in a Minneapolis suburb. On the 234-acre property, 100 acres are native grass and 27 bodies of water encompass 60 acres, including 14 acres of protected wetlands. TPC Twin Cities is host to the annual 3M Championship of the Champions Tour. Using rain sensors, soil moisture meters and evapotranspiration rates, Stewart was able to reduce the golf course's water usage by 28 percent between 2007 and 2008. Through aggressive aerification and verticutting to reduce thatch levels and improve water infiltration, he was able to maintain the same water usage levels in 2009, despite a continued drought that left the area's precipitation 8 inches below normal.

Morris, an eight-year GCSAA member, is a superintendent at Sea Temple Golf Club, a semiprivate links-style resort course located between Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef in Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia. At a tropical longitude similar to the Caribbean, Sea Temple maintenance is challenged with summer monsoons that routinely deliver more than 12 inches of rain daily and winter droughts that bring less than 1 inch for the season. Morris irrigates with recycled water, but only irrigates 50 acres of turfgrass, and is prudent enough to prevent the recycled water from contaminating the natural freshwater table, which is only 3 feet below the surface. Sea Temple features a large tract of wetland and native rainforest winding through the golf course that is home to a vast array of bird and animal wildlife that provide accurate indicators of water quality, ecosystem management and upcoming weather patterns.

In addition to the national winners, 20 chapter winners and eight merit winners were selected from GCSAA's 100 affiliated chapters.

2009 ELGA Chapter Winners

Public Facilities (facility; location; chapter)

Paul Carter, CGCS; Bear Trace at Harrison (Tenn.); Tennessee GCSA
Christopher Garrett; Riverside Golf Course; Fresno, Calif.; Central California GCSA
Paul Grogan, CGCS; TPC Deere Run; Silvis, Ill.; Iowa GCSA
Gary Ingram, CGCS; Metropolitan Golf Links; Oakland, Calif.; California GCSA (tie)
D. Cord Ozment, CGCS; Callippe Preserve Golf Course; Pleasanton, Calif.; California GCSA (tie)
R. Jeff Plotts; TPC Scottsdale (Ariz.); Cactus and Pine GCSA
Tim Powers, CGCS; Crystal Springs Golf Course; Burlingame, Calif.; GCSA of Northern California
Kim Wood; TPC Las Vegas (Nev.); Southern Nevada GCSA

Private Facilities (facility; location; chapter)

Garret Bodington; Sebonack Golf Club; Southampton, N.Y.; Long Island GCSA
Michael Brower; Minnesota Valley County Club; Bloomington, Minn.; Minnesota GCSA
Todd Bunte; TPC Jasna Polana; Princeton, N.J.; GCSA of New Jersey
Dave Davies, CGCS; TPC San Francisco Bay at Stonebrae; Hayward, Calif.; GCSA of Northern California
Thomas DeGrandi; TPC River Highlands; Cromwell, Conn.; Connecticut Association of GCS
Todd Draffen; TPC Treviso Bay; Naples, Fla.; Everglades GCSA
Dale Hahn, CGCS; TPC Summerlin; Las Vegas, Nev.; Southern Nevada GCSA
Charles Robertson, CGCS; TPC Craig Ranch; McKinney, Texas; North Texas GCSA
Jim Thomas, CGCS; TPC Southwind; Memphis, Tenn.; Tennessee GCSA
Russ Vandehey, CGCS; Oregon Golf Club; West Linn, Ore.; Oregon GCSA

Resort Facilities (facility; location; chapter)

Chad Corp; The Legend; Bellaire, Mich.; Michigan GCSA
Roger Meier; Chariot Run Golf Club; Laconia, Ind.; Kentuckiana GCSA

2009 ELGA Merit Winners

Public Facilities (facility; location; chapter)

Todd Andreasen; Deep Cliff Golf Course; Cupertino, Calif.; GCSA of Northern California
William Kissick, CGCS; Mather (Calif.) Golf Course; Sierra Nevada GCSA

Private Facilities (facility; location; chapter)

Chad Adcock; TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm; Potomac, Md.; Mid-Atlantic Association of GCS
Thomas Brodeur; TPC Boston; Norton, Mass.; GCSA of New England
Erwin McKone, CGCS; Briar Ridge County Club; Schererville, Ind.; Michiana GCSA
R. Shane Wright, CGCS; Vero Beach (Fla.) Country Club; Treasure Coast GCSA

International Facilities (facility; location)

David Cole; Loch Lomond Golf Club; Luss, Scotland
Bruce Constable; CGCS; Woodside Golf Course; Airdrie, Alberta, Canada

The Environmental Leaders in Golf Award recognizes golf course superintendents and their courses for overall course management excellence in the areas of resource conservation, water quality management, integrated pest management, wildlife/habitat management and education/outreach. In addition, these categories are judged on sustainability, criticality, originality and technology implementation/use. An independent panel of judges representing national environmental groups, turfgrass experts, university research and members of the golf community conducted the award selection.

GCSAA is a leading golf organization and has as its focus golf course management. Since 1926, GCSAA has been the top professional association for the men and women who manage golf courses in the United States and worldwide. From its headquarters in Lawrence, Kan., the association provides education, information and representation to more than 20,000 members in more than 72 countries. GCSAA's mission is to serve its members, advance their profession and enhance the enjoyment, growth and vitality of the game of golf. For more information about the GCSAA, visit www.gcsaa.org.

The Environmental Institute for Golf, the philanthropic organization of GCSAA, is a collaborative effort of the environmental and golf communities, dedicated to strengthening the compatibility of golf with the natural environment. The Institute concentrates on delivering programs and services involving research, education and outreach that communicate the best management practices of environmental stewardship on the golf course. For more on The Institute, visit www.eifg.org.