Here is the first of four profiles on the GCSAA storytellers taking part in today's National Golf Day activities in Washington, D.C., Kevin Breen, CGCS, from La Rinconada CC in Los Gatos, Calif.:
Kevin Breen, CGCS
La Rinconada Country Club
Los Gatos, Calif.
Bachelor of Science, Meteorology, University of Nebraska, Lincoln Neb., 1987
Bachelor of Science, Horticulture, Colorado State University, Fort Collins Colo., 1992
Kevin Breen is a proven leader in managing golf course properties in an environmentally friendly and sustainable manner. Fifteen years ago when it was not in fashion to be organic, Kevin took a very high profile golf community project, Lahontan Golf Club, in Truckee, California, and made it synonymous with environmentally-friendly best management practices. The philosophy that Kevin has managed by — to only grow as much grass as you need and limit inputs to work with nature — eventually found favor garnering awards from local, state, and national organizations.
- Sierra Nevada GCSAA: Member of the Year, 2007
- California EPA DPR: Pest Management Innovators Award, 2006
- GCSAA/Golf Digest Environmental Leaders in Golf Award, 2001 and 2003
- California Golf Writers Environmental Award, 1998
- Colorado State Jim Haines Memorial Scholarship, 1992
- California GCSAA Government Relations Committee, Present
- California Alliance for Golf, Present
- Nevada Golf Industry Alliance, 2009-11
- GCSAA National Committee Service, Present
- California GCSAA Chapter Delegate, Present
- California GCSAA Board of Directors - President 2008-2009
- Sierra Nevada GCSAA Board of Directors - President 2004-2005
In His Words
From a young age I felt a strong connection with the natural environment and its never ending mysteries. This connection was fortified by hard earned degrees in meteorology and horticulture, and today I feel very fortunate to be working with nature as a golf course superintendent. As a superintendent, I fully understand and value the core values that are being spelled out today in the We Are Golf joint statement. My feelings for the environment are, I think, commonplace for all superintendents.
In my time as a golf course superintendent, I have worked with many governmental entities and community organizations including the Sierra Business Council, the California EPA, and the Lahontan Regional Water Control District.
Participation with these cooperative relationships is what sustainability is all about. It represents the interests of entire communities, not just golf. And golf properties have a lot to offer to the economic and environmental components of a community. As a superintendent, I am an employee. I knew this very early in my career, and I committed to sharing my vision of sustainability with my employers in order to manage in the manner that I know is right; with respect for the natural environment, working with nature, and strengthening the ecosystems that are native
As our world becomes more urban, these open spaces that golf courses create become even more important. They are refuges for wildlife in cities, they are filtering sites for stormwater runoff from the hardscapes that surrounds them, they are areas of deposition of non- potable water from utility districts, and they provide exercise, solace, and respite for those who play the game. I have seen firsthand how golf coexists in mountainous forests, and becomes a refuge in an urban setting. Even if you do not play the game, it provides value and quality of life that only open spaces can provide. It is an industry that deserves recognition as working hard to be sustainable in tough economic times. In fact, I believe that the golf industry defines the "people-planet–profit” model of sustainability that will define our collective future success as a society.
I am very excited about the future adaptation of sustainable practices for our country as a whole. I am proud to be here before you today representing the golf industry and affirming the pledge of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America to the sustainable practices pledge developed by the We Are Golf coalition.