The GCSAA Golf Industry Show Opening Session feature a variety of emotional responses.
Example: Laughter. It was supplied by Old Tom Morris Award recipient Annika Sorenstam. In her Q and A with Golf Channel's Kelly Tilghman in front of a full house in the Valencia Ballroom Room inside the Orange County Convention Center, Sorenstam coaxed plenty of chuckles as she described how her husband Mike McGee exuded pride when their daughter Ava showed some interest in golf.
"He says to Ava, 'So you're going to be like mommy?''' Ava says, 'Nope, I'm going to be a painter,''' Sorenstam says.
Sorenstam, who worked as a youth on the superintendent's crew at her home course in Sweden, lavished those here with praise.
"You work so hard, so many hours, sometimes mowing in the dark, and very seldom get the credit you should," says Sorenstam, a 10-time major champion, the only player in LPGA history to record a round of 59, and arguably the greatest female player of all time. "You have a passion. Thank you for what you do. It's very admirable."
Clemson's Bruce Martin, Ph.D., certainly didn't take full credit for his DSA honor (Rutgers' Bruce Clarke, Ph.D., also received a DSA). In fact, he gave an emphatic pat on the back to superintendents that should make them beam with pride.
"Believe me, superintendents have taught me more than I've taught them," Martin says.
Other award recipients included Leo Feser Award winner Logan Freeman of Mountain Branch Golf Course in Joppa, Md.) and Anthony Williams, CGCS, at Stone Mountain Golf Club by Marriott in Stone Mountain, Ga., for Excellence in Government Relations Award. The GCSAA/Golf Digest Environmental Leaders in Golf Awards went to Andrew Hardy (International, Pheasant Run Golf Club, Sharon, Ontario); Chad B. Corp, CGCS (Resort, Mountain Ridge, Thomasville, Mich.); Scott R. Bower (Private, Martis Camp Club, Truckee, Calif.); and Paul L. Carter, CGCS, (Overall, The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay, Hamson, Tenn).
Olympic Club President Marty Labagh wore his emotions on his sleeve in relaying to those in attendance what outgoing GCSAA President Patrick R. Finlen, CGCS, means to the historic San Francisco club. Finlen was named general manager late in 2013, a move that seems to have been a natural.
"I received so many letters, so many calls from members and staff," Labagh says, adding that all of them were in support of Finlen being named GM. "He has proven time and time again it is the members that matter most."
GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans opened the proceedings by fueling the crowd with optimism, his hopes aiming far beyond what occurs here this week.
"I'm confident that when we leave here we will do so on a path full of promise," Evans says.