If you work in the golf course management industry and aren't aware that water — its availability, its quality and the manner in which superintendents utilize it on the golf course — is one of the key issues facing the game ... well, then you just haven't been paying attention.
Aside from player development and retention, there is perhaps no issue as vital to the future of this industry than water. It is the game's lifeblood. Bringing those new players into the game and keeping the ones the game already has simply isn't possible without healthy, viable playing fields for those players to play on. And without a clean and reliable source of water, superintendents' ability to provide those viable playing fields is compromised to a near-fatal level.
GCSAA has made no secret about how important it views the issue of water and it's reasonable and responsible use on golf courses. One of the most notable chapters of the association's Golf Course Environmental Profile focused directly on water. Countless educational sessions at the annual GCSAA Education Conference address the issue. And the association has made sure to push the issue in it's outreach and public relation efforts so the general public knows the facts about the use of water in golf, as this New York Times story demonstrates.
Three highly-regarded members of GCSAA — Mark Esoda, CGCS; Bob Farren, CGCS; and Tim Hiers, CGCS — will be presenting during the summit. Esoda, superintendent at Atlanta CC and a member of the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame, will present on how the golf industry can work with government to develop an appropriate water policy in a presentation entitled "Starting with an Open Hand: Working with Regulators and Legislators."
Farren, the director of golf courses and grounds management at Pinehurst (N.C.) Resort, will spotlight the recent renovation to Pinehurst's crown jewel, the No. 2 Course, and the water-saving beneifts that have been acheived through that effort in "Uncovering the Past to Find our Future." And Hiers, an environmental leader from Old Colliers GC in Naples, Fla., will discuss the management of seashore paspalum and how that grass type absorbs low-quality water in "Irrigating with a Toxin." Also attending is GCSAA national board member Darren Davis from Olde Florida GC, also in Naples, Fla.
GCSAA staff will also be out in force in Dallas, most notably Greg Lyman, the association's director of environmental programs, who will present on the previously mentioned Golf Course Environmental Profile in "How Much Water Does Golf Use and Where Does it Come From?" Also in attendance will be GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans; Chava McKeel, the association's senior manager of information and public policy; and Brian Cloud, GCSAA's field staff representative in the South Central region.
Oh, and I'll be there too. You'll be able to read my daily reports here on the blog, as well as check out more regular updates via our Twitter account (@GCM_Magazine) and through GCSAA's Facebook page.