Kyle Barton (with his dog, Joey) has been the superintendent at Tam O’Shanter Country Club in Michigan since 2015 and a GCSAA Grassroots Ambassador since 2018. Photo by Donna Agusti
Kyle Barton, golf course superintendent at Tam O’Shanter Country Club in West Bloomfield, Mich., has received GCSAA’s Grassroots Ambassador Leadership (GAL) Award.
The 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 winners receive a trip to the 2020 National Golf Day in Washington, D.C.
“Congratulations to Kyle for being recognized for his hard work and dedication to the golf industry,” says GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans. “He is a proactive and vocal advocate for golf in Michigan, and he’s also mentoring others to speak up for the industry.”
The GAL Award is part of the GCSAA Grassroots Ambassador program, which pairs superintendents with members of Congress to build strong relationships with them. More than 380 GCSAA members currently serve as ambassadors.
While becoming an ambassador has given Barton, a 12-year GCSAA member, an avenue for getting more involved on the national level, he’s also very active in his local chapter, the Michigan GCSA, currently serving as chairman of the association’s government relations committee. Barton also served on the committee that established the state’s environmental best management practices for golf courses.
Barton is paired with U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow and has had the opportunity to meet with Jeremy Mahrle, Stabenow’s Detroit regional director. That meeting, along with a subsequent visit from Mahrle to Barton’s golf course, allowed them to discuss key issues affecting the golf industry, such as labor and natural resource management. Barton met with U.S. Rep. Haley Stevens in Washington, D.C., during the 2019 National Golf Day, and later hosted Stevens at Tam O’Shanter.
“It feels good to open someone’s eyes to the job we do each and every day to take care of the environment while also providing great course conditions for our members,” Barton says.
Building on his own success as an ambassador, Barton has helped recruit seven other ambassadors and now serves as the Grassroots Ambassador Mentor for Michigan.