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Bedford Honored at MGA Green Chair Seminar

ELMSFORD, N.Y. (March 16, 2023) -- On Thursday, the MGA's annual Green Chair Education Series took place at Harrison Meadows Country Club in Harrison, NY, welcoming industry experts to share and present on relevant industry topics for participants that included superintendents, green chairs, and other club officials.

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A program highlight included the presentation of the 17th MGA Arthur P. Weber Environmental Leaders in Golf Award to Bedford Golf & Tennis Club. The award, presented annually to a club who is distinguished in environmental leadership, is named after former MGA President Arthur P. Weber. Weber wrote an Environmental Code of Conduct for golf course maintenance for Old Westbury, his home club, which is still used nearly two decades later.

Led by superintendent Robert Nielson, Bedford has established itself as an environmental leader thanks to its practices in wildlife and habitat preservation, integrated pest management, resource conservation and education and outreach. The club owns 13 acres of undeveloped land that helps wildlife travel to a preserve and wetlands located on separate ends of the course, has 20 acres of wetland and wetland buffer, and 12 acres of land throughout its course property maintained as native areas. The club has been testing water quality for more than 20 years, with multiple practices helping results exceed established parameters.

Mike McCall, Executive Director of the MGA Superintendent’s Association discussed labor, inflation and budgets. While golf has seen a resurgence due to the pandemic, Met-Area golf course superintendents, as with others, have been battling significant inflation, supply chain difficulties, and shortages of both skilled and unskilled labor that have placed significant pressure on golf course maintenance budgets. Mike discussed some of the short and long-term solutions being implemented to address these challenges along with suggestions on how Green Chairman can assist their superintendent’s efforts to ease the burden.

Steve Mona, Former CEO of the GCSAA and current Director of Governance and Leadership for Club Benchmarking highlighted the seven characteristics of highly-effective green committees. This included the ideal composition of the committee, its partnership with the golf course superintendent, its relationship with the board and its communications practices. He discussed how excellence at the green committee and golf course superintendent level translates into member satisfaction and loyalty.      

Michael Lee, Senior Manager of Government Affairs for the GCSAA presented public policy challenges and solutions for the golf industry. Every year, new legislation and regulations are proposed that could impact the way golf courses are managed. These policy challenges come at the federal, state, and local level, and successful outcomes require thoughtful, strategic engagement. Michael focused on the latest trends and policy proposals coming out of Washington, D.C. and Albany, N.Y. and how you can engage to deliver a positive outcome.

For the final presentation of the morning, Elliot Dowling, Regional Director of East Region, USGA Green Section and Darin Bevard, Director of Championship Agronomy, USGA Green Section held a lightning round discussion that focused on how golf course superintendents and the green committees can manage expectations of course conditioning, fewer employees, a changing climate and fluctuating budgets. They also discussed how to prepare for and execute a renovation, and the various expectations that are associated with changing an area of the course. The duo spoke to what a green committee chairman should expect from their superintendent and what the superintendent should expect from their green committee chairman.

For more information about the Green Chair Seminar, please contact the MGA's Member Services Department. 

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