Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Make an impact: "Sliding Doors" and "The Butterfly Effect"

Lying in bed before starting my day, I thought about past events in my life and how I got to where I am. Two movies popped into my head: the 1998 film "Sliding Doors" featuring Gwyneth Paltrow depicting how a woman’s life would be altered if she missed or made her train and the 2004 movie "The Butterfly Effect" with Ashton Kutcher. The concept of the butterfly effect is that something as small as a butterfly flapping its wings in one part of the world can have a bigger effect on larger system like the weather in another part of the world.

I am confident that we have all had "sliding door" moments in our lives and careers. Think about when you chose to make being a superintendent your career path. You passed through those sliding doors and set in motion the events in your career that you have already experienced and will experience. On a daily basis, we make decisions or pass through sliding doors that can have minimal or major consequences on the way we live our lives or make a living.

Bringing this into a GCSAA-related thought, there are a variety of services and programs that GCSAA offers that will undoubtedly help you as you work through your career opportunities. Your involvement within your local GCSAA chapter offers a number of interactions with others and educational offerings that can impact you and your career. Your decision to become active locally can enhance opportunities that may become available to you. Board service or committee participation can illustrate that you are a leader within the industry and set you on a different path.

On a national level, GCSAA education and career services are great tools to assist you as you progress in your profession. The opportunities your association provides are sliding door moments of which you can choose to take advantage. Those that do take the time to act on these services enhance themselves and grow their career.

Once you become active within the association, there are myriads of possible butterfly effects that you can initiate and from which you may benefit. I think of the opportunity to be a role model and the impact that may have on other individuals and their careers. Great leadership inspires me to want to be better at what I do. There are so many people in our industry both locally and nationally that evoke a positive desire to achieve more than previously imagined. You are the leader at your facility and your actions have daily impacts on those that work for you and those for whom you work. Your involvement within the association broadens the impacts you may have beyond the facility level. This is probably the aspect that is most rewarding to me as I moved from being a superintendent to GCSAA field staff and I was able to increase the amount of influence I may have. I love the interactions I am able to have around my region with so many great individuals with whom I share the same passion.

Our GCSAA Grassroots Ambassador program is another example of the butterfly effect. As we attempt to connect a GCSAA A, SM, or C member with a congressional representative we are hopeful that these relationships at the local level will be impactful when it comes to big-picture issues that have consequences industry wide. If you have not already done so, I would strongly urge you to consider our Grassroots Ambassador program and see if you can help influence the decisions that ultimately determine how you are able to perform your job.

As you pass through the sliding doors of your career, you can take advantage of the services and programs GCSAA has to offer and allow your association to help advance your profession. At the same time, through your involvement, you can provide the start to a butterfly effect that has dramatic, positive consequences for the industry for which we all share a passion.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Golf BMPs keep industry exempt from rainy season fertilizer blackouts

Following the evening national news a few days ago, there was the traditional preparedness programming for hurricane season. After a few minutes of the program, it dawned on me that not only is it hurricane season, but it is also the fertilizer blackout period for the communities that have enacted blackouts.

Around the state of Florida, there are roughly 70 local ordinances calling for fertilizer blackout periods that extend from June 1 through October 1. Fortunately, for those of us working in the golf industry, the golf course best management practices have allowed golf courses to remain exempt from these restrictions. Can you imagine what it would be like if you were trying to recover from your summer aerifications and verticutting practices without the ability to fertilize to promote recovery? It is a scary proposition!

The FGCSA was recognized for their continued work with their BMP certification program as they received the GCSAA Excellence in Government Relations Award during this past Golf Industry Show in San Antonio. The program continues to promote golf course superintendents as the true environmental stewards that they are. This voluntary program, with the goal of having 50 percent of the FGCSA members certified by the end of 2015 (50 by 15), is beneficial in continuing to keep the golf industry ahead of the ongoing legislative pressures that impact many of our partners in other sectors of the turfgrass industry.

Although the program is voluntary, it is acknowledged by the Florida DEP, with whom the FGCSA has worked very closely throughout the entire BMP development. The certification program also provides a great day of education for those who attend, as well as rewarding GCSAA CEU’s and state pesticide CEU’s. 

I am writing about this to highlight the program that has served the golf industry very well through troubling times regarding restrictive legislation that could have serious impacts on the way superintendents are able to maintain their properties. When the FGCSA initially embarked on writing the BMP manual, nobody could have foreseen how impactful it has been. Today, it is equally difficult to determine how impactful the BMP Certification program will be down the road. I would hazard a guess that having our members certified in the practices contained in the document will only strengthen our position and not hinder it. To that end, I would highly encourage you to participate in the certification program if you have not already done so.

There are opportunities to attend seminars on July 8 in Wimauma, on August 31 in Naples, and during the FTGA Conference and Show September 14 and 15. In an effort to keep golf exempt from the rainy season fertilizer blackouts and for your own education and professional enhancement, why not take advantage of a seminar near you and help the Florida GCSA meet their goal of 50 by 15?

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Rolling Out the First Green in Florida

Recently, I had the pleasure to sit down with superintendent Charlie Butterbaugh and general manager John Cameron from the Daytona Beach Golf Club to discuss conducting a First Green environmental learning lab at their facility this fall. We discussed initial considerations of utilizing this program to expose students from an inner-city school to the many benefits of golf and get them excited about the practical science lessons involved. I was able to provide lesson plans supplied by the First Green that Cameron will use to pitch the program to the principal and hopefully get the ball rolling at his facility. 

Daytona Beach GC is part of ValleyCrest Golf, and they have expressed a keen interest in pursuing the program at their other facilities as well. Cameron and Butterbaugh said they would like to expand the program to other area schools after they get a feel for it with the initial offering. Both gentlemen were excited to have GCSAA involvement in this endeavor. I am looking forward to working with them as well, and I am hopeful that this will lead to a firestorm of interest in the First Green program here in Daytona and elsewhere around the state. 

First Green is an innovative environmental education outreach program using golf courses as environmental labs. Golf course superintendents host students on field trips where they test water quality, collect soil samples, identify plants, design plantings, and are involved in the ecology and environmental aspects of the golf course. The students are also introduced to many other aspects of golf.

I have discussed this program at chapter events and know that there are so many opportunities around the state to conduct the environmental labs and help young children gain an appreciation for the work you do every day on your golf courses. If you are interested in conducting a First Green field trip at your facility, please reach out to me at rdain@gcsaa.org. By hosting students, we can hopefully enlighten them to the numerous environmental benefits golf courses provide and get them excited about the game of golf.