In recognition of their commitment to environmental stewardship, The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay in Harrison, Tenn., and its Golf Course Superintendents Association of America certified golf course superintendent Paul L. Carter have been named the overall winner of the 2013 GCSAA/Golf Digest Environmental Leaders in Golf Awards (ELGA).
"This year's winners, along with their facilities, are proof that not only can golf courses be compatible with the environment, but in many cases they can enhance it," GCSAA President Patrick R. Finlen, CGCS, said. "They are prime examples of the commitment GCSAA members make to being stewards of the environment."
The national winners include (facility, location, chapter):
National Public and Overall: Paul L. Carter, CGCS, The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay in Harrison, Tenn., Tennessee GCSA
National Private: Scott R. Bower, Martis Camp Club, Truckee, Calif., Sierra Nevada GCSA
National Resort: Chad B. Corp, CGCS, Mountain Ridge, Thompsonville, Mich., Michigan GCSA
International: Andrew Hardy, Pheasant Run Golf Club, Sharon, Ontario, Canada, Ontario GSA
Winners of the ELGA program will be featured in an upcoming issue of Golf Digest magazine and GCSAA's Golf Course Management magazine. Syngenta Professional Products and Rain Bird Golf Irrigation are the presenting partners of the award.
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 course superintendents and their courses that have been named national, chapter or merit winners will be formally recognized on Feb. 5 during the Opening Session of the 2014 Golf Industry Show in Orlando.
Carter, a 21-year GCSAA member, arrived at The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay in 2001, and through various steps along the way, such as converting the greens to Champion ultradwarf bermudagrass in 2003 and naturalizing 50 acres in 2005, he has been able both to increase emphasis on the environment and to manage on a low budget. In the years since converting the greens and reducing the amount of maintained turf, water consumption has decreased by 9 million gallons per year, and the course has saved $30,000 a year in reduced fungicide and fertilizer applications. Water conservation is also a key part of the management plan, and The Bear Trace is the first site in Tennessee to be certified as a Groundwater Guardian Green Site by the Groundwater Foundation. But it has been the adventures of two American bald Eagles, Elliot and Eloise, that have brought The Bear Trace worldwide attention. Since December 2012, the pair has raised their broods in front of Harrison Bay Eagle Cam Project's cameras. More than half a million viewers have tuned in via the website (www.harrisonbayeaglecam.org) to observe the project, which is funded primarily by the USGA.
Bower, a 22-year GCSAA member, is the GCSAA Class A superintendent at Martis Camp Golf Course in Truckee, Calif. In the five years since the course opened, Bower has met the challenges of managing a course that sits at an elevation of 6,100 feet on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Water quality management and conservation are key parts of the property's management philosophies, which follow the principles of sustainable agriculture, and a Chemical Management Action Plan (CHAMP) lists BMPs for pesticide use. In addition, integrated pest management is a guiding philosophy, and chemical applications are minimal. The golf maintenance team also plants and maintains an herb and vegetable garden that is available for use by the members and the club kitchen. In addition, Bower serves on the steering committee for the Truckee River Watershed council.
Corp is an 8-year GCSAA member and GCSAA certified golf course superintendent. Corp was awarded the ELGA for his work at Mountain Ridge in Thompsonville, Mich., a facility that strives for sustainability. To achieve a goal of 90 percent organic golf course maintenance, Corp developed a compost tea. The tea, applied to greens, allowed Corp to reduce the amount of fungicides and growth regulators he needed to apply and introduced beneficial micro-organisms to the greens. His energy conservation plan saved as much as $5,000 in electrical costs, and Mountain Ridge uses only electric golf cars for play and bio-diesel for on-site equipment. Corp helped start a recycling program at the resort and was co-chair of the Green Team at the facility.
Hardy, an 8-year GCSAA member, is the golf course superintendent at Pheasant Run Golf Club in Sharon, Ontario, Canada. Canada has had an integrated pest management (IPM) law since 2009, but Hardy embraced the practice long before that. He produces an IPM Annual Report; pests are monitored daily; and spraying is considered a "last resort" at Pheasant Run. Water use and quality are also key parts of his plans, and he has used wetting agents and a soil moisture meter to reduce irrigation. In 2012, total volume of irrigation water used decreased by 23 percent; an additional 21 percent reduction took place in 2013. He received local recognition for his efforts when the course received the Environmental Business of the Year from the East Gwillimbury Chamber of Commerce and the Town of East Gwillimbury Award for Environmental Excellence.
The Environmental Leaders in Golf Awards recognize golf course superintendents and their courses for overall course management excellence in the areas of water conservation, water quality management, integrated pest management, energy conservation, pollution prevention, waste management, wildlife and habitat conservation, communication and outreach, and leadership. In addition, these categories are judged on best management practices that result in resource conservation, environmental protection and enhancement, and leadership. An independent panel of judges representing national environmental groups, turfgrass experts, university research and members of the golf community conducted the award selection.
In addition to the national winners, 13 chapter winners and one merit winner were selected from GCSAA's 99 affiliated chapters.
2013 ELGA Chapter Winners
Public Facilities (facility, location, chapter)
Paul Grogan, CGCS, TPC Deere Run, East Moline, Ill., Iowa GCSA
Gary Ingram, CGCS, Metropolitan Golf Links, Oakland, Calif., GCSA of Northern California
Scott Spooner, Leslie Park and Huron Hills Golf Courses, Clinton, Mich., Michigan GCSA
Private Facilities (facility, location, chapter)
Stephen M. Britton, TPC Potomac at Avenel, Potomac, Md., Mid-Atlantic GCSA
Timothy Connolly, TPC Jasna Polana, Princeton, N.J., GCSA of New Jersey
Mike Crawford, CGCS, TPC Sugarloaf, Duluth, Ga., Georgia GCSA
Thomas DeGrandi, TPC River Highlands, Manchester, Conn., Connecticut Association of GCS
Dave Faucher, CGCS, TPC Rivers Bend, Maineville, Ohio, Greater Cincinnati GCSA
Charles B. Robertson IV, CGCS, TPC Craig Ranch, McKinney, Texas, North Texas GCSA
Jim Thomas, CGCS, TPC Southwind, Memphis, Tenn., Tennessee GCSA
Russell Vandehey, CGCS, Oregon Golf Club, Oregon City, Ore., Oregon GCSA
Matt Weitz, Victoria National Golf Club, Newburgh, Ind., Tri-State GCSA
Resort Facilities (facility, location, chapter)
Thomas Richard Vlach, CGCS, TPC at Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., North Florida GCSA
2013 ELGA Merit Winner
Private Facilities (facility, location, chapter)
David Davies, CGCS, Stonebrae, Hayward, Calif., GCSA of Northern California
About GCSAA and the EIFG
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 nearly 18,000 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. Find GCSAA on Facebook, follow GCSAA on Twitter, and visit GCSAA at www.gcsaa.org. The Environmental Institute for Golf is the philanthropic organization of the GCSAA, and has as its mission to foster sustainability through research, awareness, education, programs and scholarships for the benefit of golf course management professionals, golf facilities and the game.