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Recap: MGA Green Chairman Education Series

Image of Gene Westmoreland and a man in a suit

RIVER VALE, N.J. (March 16, 2018) – The 2018 MGA Green Chairman Education Series welcomed more than 100 attendees to Edgewood Country Club on Wednesday, March 14. As part of the MGA Foundation’s Spring Education Series, the seminar featured presentations from experts in the fields of golf course management, maintenance and agronomy, and was attended by golf course superintendents, professionals, green chairmen and club officials.

Bethpage State Park Golf Course in Farmingdale, N.Y. was also presented with the 2018 Arthur P. Weber MGA Club Environment Leaders in Golf Award at the meeting. The annual award is presented to an MGA member club that demonstrates environmental leadership in golf course maintenance, construction, education and research. It is named in honor of past MGA President Arthur P. Weber, who wrote an Environmental Code of Conduct for golf course maintenance for Old Westbury, his home club, which is still used by many Met Area clubs nearly two decades later. Bethpage was honored following a series of facility improvements that included reductions in energy usage and expansion of pollinator gardens. The award has been given since 2007 and recent recipients include Newton Country Club, The Whippoorwill Club and Neshanic Valley Golf Course.

Related: Photos

This year’s seminar highlighted presentations from the following industry professionals:

Paul Jacobs – Agronomist, USGA Northeast Region Green Section

Ten Things I Wish My Green Committee Understood

Jacobs highlighted the individual challenges Superintendents and Green Committees face and strategies to ensure the two are on the same page. In particular, Superintendents need to be good people managers and communicators, whereas Green Committees need to gain knowledge of the budget and support the staff’s efforts.

Chris Carson – Superintendent, Echo Lake Country Club, Steve Weisser – Golf Course Architect

The Seven Year Renovation of Echo Lake Country Club

Carson and Weisser reviewed the steps Echo Lake took towards building interest in the course’s major renovation project. Carson pointed out the importance of social media and strong leadership among the membership as driving factors in pushing the renovation project forward.   

Carson remained on stage following his presentation to give an update on a variety of research projects conducted through the Tri-State Turfgrass Research Foundation.

Ken Benoit, CGCS – Superintendent, GlenArbor Golf Course

Benoit provided a brief update on the join project developed by Cornell University and local golf course superintendents.

Charlie H.R. Howe IV – Championship Director, 2018 U.S. Open Championship

USGA Championship Update: US Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club

Howe discussed the history of the US Open at Shinnecock Hills while also touching base on the behind the scenes logistics that takes place while preparing for the championship.

Jon Jennings – Golf Course Superintendent, Shinnecock Hills Golf Club

The Shinnecock Golf Club Story – U.S. Open Enhancements and Restoration Work

In efforts to bring the course back to its original roots, Shinnecock Hills went through a passive restoration that saw green and fairway expansions. Jennings detailed the alterations and thought process behind the project, which have made the course more sustainable.

Dave Oatis – Director, USGA Northeast Region Green Section

Lightning Round: A Whirlwind Tour of New Ideas, Trends and Programs for use on Your Golf Course:

Oatis concluded the seminar by discussing a variety of hot topics including ways to drive golf forward as well as regressing and rebuilding ideas. In particular, Oatis mentioned how expanding greens and trimming rough near bunkers were cheap ways to make courses more playable and aesthetically appealing.

The MGA Green Chairman Education Series is presented annually by the Metropolitan Golf Association Foundation and is part of a two-month-long program of educational forums that are designed to educate club leaders and golfers about different issues pertinent to Met Area clubs and courses. The range of topics include the Rules of Golf, Handicapping, technology, and MGA member services and benefits. For more information about the MGA Green Chairman Education Series, please contact Kevin Kline.