Greg Brandriet, CGCS (on right in photo), superintendent at Elkhorn Ridge Golf Club in Spearfish, S.D., has received the Grassroots Ambassador Leadership Award from GCSAA.
The Grassroots Ambassador Leadership (GAL) Award, presented quarterly in partnership with The Toro Co., honors individuals who have demonstrated growth in advocacy and advancement of the GCSAA Priority Issues Agenda through congressional outreach and relationship development with a member of Congress. Through Toro, GAL Award winners receive a trip to the 2019 National Golf Day in Washington, D.C.
“Advocacy efforts are truly making a difference in the public perception of golf,” says GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans. “We are fortunate to have highly engaged members like Greg who work with members of Congress to bring the issues that affect golf to their attention. Congratulations to him on this recognition.”
The GAL Award is part of the GCSAA Grassroots Ambassador program, which matches superintendents with members of Congress to build strong relationships with them. Nearly 350 GCSAA members currently serve as ambassadors.
A 10-year member of GCSAA, Brandriet got involved in advocating for the superintendent profession out of a personal interest in politics and a desire to meet like-minded individuals who promote the economic and social benefits of golf. Brandriet became a grassroots ambassador in 2016 and attended National Golf Day in 2017 and 2018.
“Every opportunity to advocate for the golf industry has given me an opportunity to hone our message and to improve my leadership and communication skills,” Brandriet says. “Advocating for our industry is important to provide an accurate narrative to the public in an age where golf is sometimes viewed as a burden on the environment and a limited-access activity, when really the opposite is true.”
In his role as ambassador, Brandriet is paired with Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, who is senate majority whip. Brandriet first connected with Thune’s local staff in 2017, and Thune’s Washington office has reached out to Brandriet on issues affecting the golf industry, such as the H-2B visa program. In addition, Brandriet met with Sen. Mike Rounds of South Dakota (on left in photo) when the senator visited Elkhorn Ridge Golf Club.
“Sen. Rounds was at our facility speaking to another group but recalled our meeting at NGD (National Golf Day) 2017 and offered continued support for our objectives,” Brandriet says. “Both senators have been very receptive to our message and are already promoting a few of our key policy issues.”
Brandriet has also spoken to local environmental groups about GCSAA’s best management practices initiative and the association’s goal of having state-specific BMP guidelines established in all 50 states by 2020.