GCSAA Class A superintendent Rory Van Poucke from Apache Sun Golf Club in San Tan Valley, Ariz., has earned the 2017 Excellence in Government Affairs Award from the GCSAA for his passion and hard work in advocating for the golf course management profession. GCSAA annually recognizes a chapter, coalition or superintendent for outstanding advocacy or compliance efforts in government affairs.
Van Poucke, a 25-year member of GCSAA, was one of the first to join the association's Grassroots Ambassador program when it was launched in 2014. It was a way for Van Poucke to demonstrate his passion for his profession.
In his state, Van Poucke, pictured on the right with Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), has organized annual water summits and invited Arizona federal and state legislators and regulators to help them better understand water use in the golf industry. He has even run for a seat on the Central Arizona Project board, which controls water distribution to central and southern Arizona.
In addition, he is in his second year as president of the Cactus and Pine GCSA, which covers all of Arizona and represents a state industry that delivers $3.9 billion in economic impact.
“To be involved in all that GCSAA is doing is satisfying for me,” said Van Poucke, who also serves as general manager of the facility and was the course owner, along with his father, until 2005. “From my perspective, what GCSAA is doing is important for superintendents and the entire golf industry. Only by being involved can you make a difference.”
“It was nerve wracking at first, but it takes time to build trust and earn the respect of legislators and regulators,” said Van Poucke. “I have attended the last three National Golf Days in Washington each spring, and it’s one of the most fulfilling things I do. Getting involved has opened my eyes to all that we do, and all that we still need to do.”
Van Poucke will be formally recognized Feb. 7 at the Opening Session of the 2017 Golf Industry Show, Feb. 4-9 in Orlando.
“Rory Van Poucke has given us a great example of what we can do as environmental stewards when we all work together," said Rhett Evans, GCSAA chief executive officer. “I applaud him for getting involved in the community and showing how the golf industry expertly cares for our natural resources, and for promoting our golf businesses that are vital to growing the economy.”
Nominees were judged by the GCSAA Government Affairs Committee based on how their efforts best serve the interests of the golf course superintendent profession and the golf course management industry.