First Green and GCSAA announce partnership

The merger will broaden the reach of the educational program, which brings math and science learning into the colorful, hands-on world of golf courses.


First Green field trip
A First Green field trip at Patty Jewett Golf Course in Colorado Springs, Colo., in May 2017. The program is a spark to building bonds between golf courses, community leaders, and the next generation of players and industry professionals. Photo by David Phipps

The First Green Foundation and GCSAA have signed a memorandum of understanding that will bring First Green under the umbrella of the GCSAA’s philanthropic organization, the Environmental Institute for Golf (EIFG). The agreement was announced at the 2018 Golf Industry Show in San Antonio.

First Green, an innovative education outreach program that uses golf courses as hands-on environmental learning labs, has worked with golf course superintendents extensively for more than 20 years. Superintendents form the backbone of First Green initiatives, hosting STEM-focused (science, technology, engineering and math) field trips for students grades five and up. First Green and GCSAA field staff representatives have collaborated to support golf courses and train superintendents, conducting field trips and instruction at GCSAA’s affiliated chapters. First Green has also held well-received workshops at the Golf Industry Show for several years.

“We are very excited to find a home with GCSAA since we share similar missions and goals — to promote the environmental benefits of golf courses,” says Karen Armstead, Ph.D., First Green executive director. “Further, the EIFG supports research that enables golf courses to increase environmental stewardship, and through GCSAA’s regional reps and local chapters, First Green will gain a larger footprint — nationally then globally.”

GCSAA has an expansive network of industry leaders, with 99 chapters in North America and members in 78 countries. Its partnership with First Green will add to the 15,000-plus students the program has already impacted in the past two decades.

“As one of the world’s leading environmental education programs utilizing golf courses, First Green provides an ideal platform for GCSAA members to further strengthen ties with their communities,” says Rhett Evans, GCSAA CEO. “Our partnership will open new pathways to golf careers for generations to come.”

According to the agreement, the merger will be complete by July 31, 2018.

Get more information, introductory videos and online lesson plans on the First Green website.