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Pelham, Stanwich Honored at MGA Green Chair Seminar

ELMSFORD, N.Y. (March 24, 2021) -- On Wednesday, the MGA's annual Green Chair Education Series took place in an online format, welcoming industry experts to share and present on relevant industry topics for participants that included superintendents, green chairs, and other club officials.

A program highlight included the presentation of the 15th Arthur P. Weber MGA Club Environmental Leaders in Golf Award to Pelham Country 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.

Brett Chapin of the Redding Country Club and Vice President of the Met GCSA presented the award to Pelham, and shared the recent environmental accomplishments of the club. 

Watch: Full 2021 MGA Green Chair Education Series Webinar

Pelham’s 2019-20 renovation of the property encompassed five holes and included an additional stream, a half-acre wetland, second irrigation pond and the expansion of the old pond, adding just over an acre of surface water to the property and 20% to the urban watershed around the Club. The use of bentgrass cultivars during these renovations has led to a 30% decrease in fungicide usage. Outside of the tremendous effort put into the renovation process, a membership-led nesting program with ten member volunteers that took place in 2020, despite the challenges created by Covid, was a remarkable accomplishment. 

During 2020, the USGA Green Section recognized the club for the quality and sustainability of the course renovation and it was a feature in the November issue of the Green Section Record. Future plans for 2021 are a camp blue bird program with two more boxes, along with a bee education program for members, campers and local elementary school. Jeff Wentworth, CGCS at Pelham, accepted the award during the online presentation. 

The Stanwich Club in Greenwich, Conn., was also recognized as part of Wednesday's program. The Club was announced as the 14th recipient of the Arthur P. Weber Award last spring, but the cancellation of the Green Chairman Education Series did not allow for the official presentation of the honor.

At Stanwich, a number of projects have taken place in recent years with sustainability and environmental impacts front of mind. Two major highlights of these project include the club's utilization of 75,000 cubic yards of soil excavated during the building of the new maintenance facility to improve the club's driving range facility, and then completing this project by installing solar panels on the 20,000 sq ft. maintenance facility. The solar panels ultimately provide 45% of the electricity needs for the entire club. Stanwich's property manager Scott Niven joined the program to accept this award. 

USGA Green Section Education Director Adam Moeller shared on lessons learned from the 2020 golf season and the impact that will have on courses in 2021. He discussed agronomic and budgetary factors associated with increased play, as well as how courses can maximize golfer experiences in 2021 to ensure capitalization of benefits from increased rounds.

John Daniels, Agronomist for the Northeast Section of the USGA Green Section, presented on raising golfer awareness on how players themselves can help with course conditions and minimize detrimental impacts on turfgrass health by following proper etiquette procedures. He also shared insight on addressing frequent criticism regarding seasonal and day-to-day variability in course conditions.

Echo Lake Country Club Superintendent Chris Carson then highlighted some of the real and intangible benefits courses realize when hosting a championship. He recognized that it may be inconvenient to give up your course for a day or two, but benefits can return big dividends after the event has concluded.

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