The PGA Tour has announced two major donations to GCSAA through the GCSAA Foundation. The gifts will help fund three programs: GCSAA’s best management practices (BMP) initiative, the First Green STEM education program, and the Allan MacCurrach Jr. Award.
Over five years, the PGA Tour will contribute $250,000 to support BMP development and the First Green. From 2016-2021, the PGA Tour provided similar funding to GCSAA to administer grants to GCSAA chapters to help establish state BMP guidelines. The resulting state BMP manuals outline golf course maintenance practices that protect and enhance the environment and are tailored to the state’s unique geographic conditions and regulatory climate. By January 2021, all 50 states had established BMPs.
Now, the initiative moves to its next phase: the creation of BMP manuals for individual golf facilities. Facility-specific BMP manuals direct and document agronomic and environmental practices, and provide an accessible, detailed reference for golfers, lawmakers and community members that can give them a better understanding of the maintenance behind one of their local green spaces.
“The PGA Tour’s generosity was key in our reaching our ambitious goal of BMPs in all 50 states,” says GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans. “We thank them not only for their financial support as we move on to the next BMP step, but also for their backing of programs that help grow the game of golf and the superintendent profession like First Green and the MacCurrach Award.”
First Green provides hands-on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education on golf courses. Each First Green field trip averages 75 students who learn about golf and the environment. For many students, these outdoor classrooms represent their first exposure to a golf course.
Editor’s note: What’s hosting a First Green field trip like? A Colorado superintendent shares his experience welcoming elementary school students to his turf.
The PGA Tour has also pledged $50,000 over the next 10 years to the Allan MacCurrach Jr. Award, a scholarship that recognizes an outstanding nontraditional college student pursuing a career in golf course and turfgrass management. The award is named in honor of the late Allan MacCurrach Jr., who became the PGA Tour’s first staff agronomist in 1974. The recipient receives a $10,000 scholarship and an all-expenses-paid trip to the annual GCSAA Conference and Trade Show.
“We believe in the work GCSAA is doing to provide environmentally sustainable maintenance practices, grow the knowledge base of superintendents and introduce young people to the game,” says Paul Vermeulen, director of competitions agronomy for the PGA Tour. “We look forward to seeing these programs enhance golf’s future.”