GCSAA/Golf Digest announce 2011 ELGA

Stewardship practices of superintendents, facilities highlighted.

Doing more with less has been a way of life for Tim Powers, CGCS at Crystal Springs Golf Course in Burlingame, Calif., but it has not meant sacrificing a commitment to environmental stewardship for the 24-year GCSAA member.

For his efforts, Powers and Crystal Springs have been named the overall winners of the 2011 Golf Course Superintendents Association of America/Golf Digest Environmental Leaders in Golf Awards (ELGA). Powers and other national category ELGA winners will be recognized at the 2012 GCSAA Education Conference during Celebrate GCSAA! presented in partnership with Syngenta and hosted by GCSAA President Bob Randquist, CGCS, Feb. 28. The conference (Feb. 27-March 2) will be held in conjunction with the Golf Industry Show (Feb. 29-March 2) in Las Vegas.

The national winners include:

  • National Public & Overall: Tim Powers, CGCS, Crystal Springs Golf Course, Burlingame, Calif.
  • National Private: Thomas Brodeur, TPC Boston, Norton, Mass.
  • National Resort: Thomas Lively, TPC San Antonio (Texas)
  • International: Stephen Marsden, Cape Kidnappers Golf Course, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand

"What we have seen in the nearly 20 years of the program is one constant – golf courses provide valuable green space for our communities," Randquist said. "It is a testament to GCSAA members and their facilities that they are committed to managing their facilities in a sustainable manner."

Winners of the ELGA program will be featured on GolfDigest.com and were highlighted in the February 2012 issue of GCSAA's Golf Course Management magazine. Presenting partners Syngenta and Rain Bird Corp. - Golf Division will make donations to The Environmental Institute for Golf (EIFG), the philanthropic organization of the GCSAA, in the names of all national and chapter winners.

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 Digest is proud once again to join with the GCSAA to honor these far-sighted superintendents who are doing the right thing regarding best environmental practices," said Roger Schiffman, managing editor of the magazine. "It is our hope — indeed, our intention — that these superintendents and the courses they manage continue to serve as role models for others to follow in the months and years ahead. I can think of no greater calling in our game than to be a leader in environmental stewardship."

The ELGA winners went above and beyond in their environmental stewardship. They feature management programs using efficient and accurate irrigation systems; extensive recycling programs; composting of grass clippings, leaves and other herbaceous debris; birdhouses; energy-saving light; and stringent integrated pest management programs.

Powers arrived at Crystal Springs, just 15 miles south of San Francisco, in November 2001. He operates under an IPM-CHAMP program (Integrated Pest Management – Chemical Application Management Plan). He minimizes the use of pesticides and fertilizers. His main fertilizer is a seaweed extract, and his annual nitrogen use has decreased from 6,000 to 600 pounds. He has reduced his irrigated acreage from 90 to 75 and recycles as much as he can for creating compost on the course. Crystal Springs has been a fully certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary since 1998.

Brodeur and TPC Boston host the Deutsche Bank Championship, so being under the microscope is not new. Last year's event was the first carbon-neutral championship for the PGA Tour, with the offsets benefiting a sugar processing plant with the installation of new energy-efficient furnaces. His "Species of the Month" program educates facility members on wildlife about the property.

Lively and TPC San Antonio have answered critics by providing a top-notch golf experience that is sustainable. Nearly a decade ago opponents fought to keep the facility from being a reality. But through a well-thought-out design and maintenance program, the doubters have been all but silenced. A key feature is the retention/closed-loop irrigation system that captures runoff and drainage and directs it toward 14 retention ponds.

Marsden and Cape Kidnappers became the first Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary in New Zealand in 2010. The property is home of New Zealand's largest mainland wildlife sanctuary. Recycling is an emphasis for the course, including the creation of notepads from wastepaper. Timber from the course is used for firewood, and cattle from the farm are brought in to graze in the tallgrass areas.

In addition to the national winners, 22 chapter and merit winners were selected from GCSAA's 100 affiliated chapters.

Chapter Winners

  • Thomas M. DeGrandi, TPC River Highlands, Cromwell, Conn., Connecticut Association of GCS
  • Stephen Britton, TPC Potomac, Potomac, Md., Mid-Atlantic Association of GCS
  • Jim Pavonetti, CGCS, Fairview Country Club, Greenwich, Conn., Metropolitan GCSA
  • Russell Vandehey, CGCS, Oregon Golf Club, West Linn, Ore., Oregon GCSA
  • Charles Robertson IV, CGCS, TPC Craig Ranch, Mckinney, Texas, North Texas GCSA


  • Paul F. Grogan, CGCS, TPC Deere Run, East Moline, Ill., Iowa GCSA
  • Paul L. Carter, CGCS, Bear Trace at Harrison Bay, Harrison, Tenn., Tennessee GCSA
  • Matthew Weaver, CGCS, South Shore Golf Course, Staten Island, N.Y., GCSA of New Jersey
  • Mark Krick, CGCS, The Homestead, Lakewood, Colo., Rocky Mountain GCSA
  • Todd Draffen, TPC Treviso Bay, Naples Bay, Fla., Everglades GCSA
  • Thomas Doyle, Callippe Preserve Golf, Course, Pleasanton, Calif., GCSA of Northern California


  • R. Jeff Plotts, TPC Scottsdale (Ariz.), Cactus and Pine GCSA
  • Sean O'Brien, Hawk's Landing Golf Club, Orlando, Fla., Central Florida GCSA
  • Preston Charles, The Preserve at Verdae, Greenville, S.C., Carolinas GCSA


  • Andrew Hardy, Pheasant Run Golf Course, Sharon, Ontario, Canada, Ontario GCSA

Merit Winners

  • Gary M. Ingram, CGCS, Metropolitan Golf Links, Oakland, Calif., GCSA of Northern California
  • Dustin Green, Mirimichi Golf Course, Millington, Tenn., Tennessee GCSA
  • Donald Paul, Los Lagos Golf Course, San Jose, Calif., GCSA of Northern California


  • Dave R. Davies, CGCS, TPC San Francisco Bay at Stonebrae, Hayward, Calif., GCSA of Northern California
  • Jim Thomas, CGCS, TPC Southwind, Memphis, Tenn., Tennessee GCSA
  • Sean Foley, Round Hill Club, Greenwich, Conn., Metropolitan GCSA


  • Bruce Constable, CGCS, Woodside Golf Course, Airdrie, Alberta, Canada

The Environmental Leaders in Golf Award recognizes golf course superintendents and their courses for overall course management excellence in the areas of resource conservation, water quality management, integrated pest management, wildlife/habitat management, and education/outreach. In addition, these categories are judged on sustainability, criticality, originality, and technology implementation/use. An independent panel of judges representing national environmental groups, turfgrass experts, university research, and members of the golf community conducted the award selection.


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