Shannon Easter, the maintenance director and environmental consultant at Broken Sound Club in Boca Raton, Fla., has been chosen as the Overall and National Private recipient of the 2016 Environmental Leaders in Golf Awards (ELGA), which are presented annually by GCSAA and Golf Digest in partnership with Syngenta and Rain Bird’s Golf Division.
The awards recognize golf course superintendents and their courses for overall course management excellence and best management practices in the areas of water conservation, water quality management, energy conservation, pollution prevention, waste management, wildlife and habitat conservation, communication and outreach, and leadership.
Easter, a 19-year member of GCSAA, is joined by fellow golf course superintendents and GCSAA members Alex Stuedemann at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill., and Ken Nice at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Bandon, Ore., as national honorees.
Stuedemann is the National Public Course winner, while Nice won for the National Resort courses. Christine Chan, the golf course superintendent at The Jockey Club Kau Sai Chau Public Golf Course Limited, took top honors in the International category.
The winners will be recognized Tuesday, Feb. 7, during the Opening Session at the 2017 Golf Industry Show in Orlando, Fla. Winners will also be featured in upcoming issues of Golf Digest and GCSAA’s official monthly publication, Golf Course Management magazine.
“The ELGA winners are not only stewards for the environment, but excellent examples of the focus our industry keeps on sustainable efforts,” said Rhett Evans, GCSAA CEO. “They are on the frontline of how superintendents are making great playing conditions and environmental management practices work in tandem.”
Easter’s efforts at his 36-hole facility demonstrate that golf courses can be a welcome habitat for native wildlife, including some endangered species.
“Superintendents are all trying to do the same thing to show that golf courses are good for the environment,” said Easter. “Being recognized for what we are doing is a feather in our cap here at Broken Sound. Not many people are doing what we are doing.”
Easter’s club, which has hosted the Alliance Championship event on the PGA Champions Tour for the past 12 years, has won numerous environmental awards, and it is ranked the second cleanest facility in the state in terms of recycling. Broken Sound recycles 96 percent of food and landscape waste on the property, turning food waste into composting for the 115-acre golf facility.
“It starts by simply wanting to do the right thing for the environment,” said Easter. “We do a lot of community outreach to educate others on what can be done; to show the positive aspects of what we do. We have presented to the Environmental Protection Agency, and to local homeowners. The message is that everyone can do something to better the environment.”
Stuedemann also has strived to tell his community about the good environmental work being done at TPC Deere Run, where he is director of golf course operations. Pollution prevention is a cornerstone of the total environmental effort.
Whether it is detailed measures for safeguarding chemical usage, or adding buffering vegetation or containment berms to eliminate the potential for pollutant movement and downstream degradation, Stuedemann is working hard to set a good example.
“We need to do everything we can to highlight our conservation efforts for the golf management industry,” said Stuedemann, whose course annually hosts the John Deere Classic on the PGA TOUR. “If we show that we can manage organic waste and off-sight pollution, we are better able to advocate for our industry.”
Nice has a multi-faceted and environmentally friendly program as well at Bandon Dunes Resort, where he is director of agronomy. Bandon was voted the “Best Green Workplace” in Oregon in 2016 and the resort has been a Golf Digest Green Star Award winner.
“We are thrilled to receive the award, and it is a great honor,” said Nice. “We work hard at our environmental initiatives and it really speaks to our owner, Mike Keiser, and his commitment to environmental stewardship.”
An independent panel of judges representing national environmental groups, turfgrass experts, university researchers and valued members of the golf industry conducted the award selection.
In addition to the national winners, 19 chapter winners and nine merit winners were chosen from GCSAA’s 98 affiliated chapters.
ELGA chapter winners (facility, location, chapter)
• Anthony Benes, Old Works Golf Course, Anaconda, Mont., Peaks and Prairies GCSA
• Brandon Reese, TPC Louisiana, Avondale, La., Louisiana-Mississippi GCSA
• Carl Thompson, CGCS, Columbia Point Golf Course, Richland, Wash., Inland Empire GCSA
• Dale Hahn, CGCS, TPC Summerlin, Las Vegas, Nev., Southern Nevada GCSA
• Gary Ingram, CGCS, Metropolitan Golf Links, Oakland, Calif., California GCSA
• J. Cutler Robinson, CGCS, Bayville Golf Club, Virginia Beach, Va., Virginia GCSA
• Jay Neunsinger, Boundary Oak Golf Course, Walnut Creek, Calif., GCSA of Northern California
• Jeff Reich, TPC River Highlands, Cromwell, Conn., Connecticut Association of GCS
• Jim Thomas, CGCS, TPC Southwind, Memphis, Tenn., Tennessee GCSA
• Jonathan Williams, Sewailo Golf Club at Casino Del Sol Resort, Tucson, Ariz., Cactus and Pine GCSA
• Jorge Croda, CGCS, Southern Oaks Golf Club, Burleson, Texas, North Texas GCSA
• Kurt Noonan, CGCS, Juniper Golf Course, Redmond, Ore., Oregon GCSA
• Mahmud Ayeb, Mather Golf Course, Mather, Calif., Sierra Nevada GCSA
• Mark Trenter, Chambers Bay, University Place, Wash., Western Washington GCSA
• Mark Kosbab, CGCS, Sportsman’s Country Club, Northbrook, Ill., Midwest Association of GCS
• Matthew Gourlay, CGCS, Colbert Hills Golf Course, Manhattan, Kan., Heart of America GCSA
• Michael Bednar, Palouse Ridge Golf Club, Pullman, Wash., Inland Empire GCSA
• Sean O’Brien, CGCS, The Ritz-Carlton Member’s Golf Club, Sarasota, Fla., Sun Coast GCSA
• Timothy Connolly, TPC Jasna Polana, Princeton, N.J., GCSA of New Jersey
ELGA merit winners (facility, location, chapter)
• Alan Nielsen, CGCS, Royal Oaks Country Club, Vancouver, Wash., Oregon GCSA
• Darin Pakkala, Crystal Springs Golf Course, Burlingame, Calif., GCSA of Northern California
• Dave Davies, CGCS, TPC Stonebrae, Hayward, Calif., GCSA of Northern California
• Gary Heath, Glendoveer Golf and Tennis, Portland, Ore., Oregon GCSA
• Jason Haines, Pender Harbour Golf Club, Madeira Park, BC, Canada
• Jeremy Payne, Napa Golf Course, Napa, Calif., GCSA of Northern California
• Mark Condos, Las Positas Golf Course, Livermore, Calif., GCSA of Northern California
• Robert Esposo, Pacific Grove Golf Links, Pacific Grove, Calif., GCSA of Northern California
• Ron Kuhns, Sun Willows Golf Course, Pasco, Wash., Inland Empire, GCSA
About GCSAA and the EIFG
The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) is a leading golf organization in the United States. Its focus is on golf course management, and since 1926 GCSAA has been the top professional association for the men and women who manage golf courses in the U.S. and worldwide. From its headquarters in Lawrence, Kan., the association provides education, information and representation to nearly 18,000 members in more than 78 countries. The association’s mission is to serve its members, advance their profession and enhance the enjoyment, growth and vitality of the game of golf. Visit GCSAA at www.gcsaa.org or find us on Facebook or Twitter.
The Environmental Institute for Golf is the philanthropic organization of the GCSAA. Its mission is to foster sustainability through research, awareness, education, programs and scholarships for the benefit of golf course management professionals, golf facilities and the game. Visit EIFG at www.eifg.org. or find us on Facebook or Twitter.