Kevin P. Breen, CGCS, (on screen) was elected GCSAA’s 86th president during this morning’s Annual Meeting. In place of the usual ceremonial procession with the new president, the association’s past presidents welcomed Breen virtually. Photos by Montana Pritchard
Though still recovering from an eye surgery that kept him from traveling to San Diego for GCSAA’s Conference and Trade Show, GCSAA’s new president has a clear vision for how he thinks the association — and the people who lead it — should move forward.
Kevin P. Breen, CGCS, was officially elected GCSAA’s 86th president during the Annual Meeting on Thursday at the San Diego Convention Center. Addressing the assembled directors, past presidents and voting delegates on big screens via video conference, Breen regularly referred to “community” as the common thread that runs through all the association stands for and as its navigational North Star.
“The most important aspect is community,” said Breen, director of greens and grounds at La Rinconada Country Club in Los Gatos, Calif., since 2020 and a 31-year association member. “And if we don’t adapt, our association will lose its relevance.”
Breen ascended from vice presidency (virtually, at least), receiving the baton from now-immediate past president Mark F. Jordan, CGCS, a 35-year GCSAA member. Breen’s election was largely ceremonial, as was the election of Kevin P. Sunderman, CGCS, as 2022 vice president. Previously secretary/treasurer, Sunderman — superintendent at Isla Del Sol Yacht & Country Club in Saint Petersburg, Fla., and a 21-year association member — ran for VP unchallenged.
The vacated secretary/treasurer post was contested. Jeff L. White, CGCS, director of agronomy at Indian Hills Country Club in Mission Hills, Kan., and a 30-year association member, edged out T.A. Barker, CGCS, superintendent at Fore Lakes Golf Course in Salt Lake City and a 28-year member, for that position.
That left three open positions on the national board of directors. In that voting, Doug D. Dykstra, CGCS, superintendent at White Mountain Country Club in Pinetop, Ariz., and a 29-year GCSAA member, and Marc E. Weston, CGCS, superintendent at Indian Hill Country Club in Newington, Conn., and a 23-year member, were reelected to two-year board terms.
Steven J. Hammon, GCSAA Class A superintendent at Traverse City (Mich.) Country Club and a 33-year association member, was voted onto the board for a one-year term.
In the only other matter that required voting, delegates overwhelming approved an association dues adjustment. Class A and B annual dues were adjusted from $400 to $430, and Class C dues were adjusted from $205 to $220.
John R. Fulling Jr., CGCS, the 2020 president, was presented with a white blazer, traditionally given to former presidents, and he was retired from board service.
“I believe, when you’re no longer in office, you drop the gavel and get out,” Fulling said. “You let the next generation do it, because they’re going to do it better. ... This is about Kevin. This is about the new board. This is about moving forward.”
In one of the few tweaks made to the event to accommodate Breen’s physical absence, the assembled past presidents clustered around a video camera and waved to the new president. Traditionally, they walk around the room in a procession.
“I’m having a great day,” Breen said, “the best I possibly can without being there. ... This is really, truly a special day for me. It’s really unfortunate I can’t be there.”
Breen then encouraged attendees to move forward with the concept of community in mind.
“Be a teacher, a mentor, or be more understanding of those who might hold a different opinion than yours,” he said, “in this spirit of ‘we,’ not ‘me.’
“I thank you for the opportunity I have to lead our organization ... after experiencing this hiccup at the start line.”
Andrew Hartsock is GCM’s managing editor.