Monday, July 14, 2014
One of the great things about being a Golf Course Superintendent in Michigan is the amazing resources we have at our disposal. One of the challenging things is knowing who does what for the Turf Industry in Michigan. I know personally I was not aware of all the details or even the big picture until I joined the Northern Michigan Board in 2005. So I am going to try to clear up some of the confusion I often hear and have personally experienced.
The MiGCSA is your GCSAA Affiliated Chapter, we are the largest single state chapter in the country and we host more than 20 networking events a year along with the quarterly Course Conditions magazine. We also keep the migcsa.org website current and the hub for Golf Course Superintendents in Michigan. We host three golf fundraisers a year of which the major benefactor is the Michigan Turfgrass Foundation (MTF).
The Michigan Turfgrass Foundation (MTF) has been in existence since October 24, 1956 when eleven turf managers met at the MSU Memorial Union Building for a final organizational meeting of the MTF. The MTF has one guiding mission to support the world renown turf research that is done at Michigan State University. The MTF are the organizers the Michigan Turf Conference in East Lansing each year. They also do the Tee Times for Turf Auction, the Field Day at MSU and the LaFonatine Golf Outing each year. Gordie LaFontaine is the Executive Director of the MTF and has served the MTF in many roles since the 1960's. For many years the MTF also acted as a de facto statewide organization for Superintendents before the MiGCSA inception in 2008.
The Michigan Turfgrass Environmental Stewardship Program (MTESP) was started in the 1990's and has had many faces. Greg Lyman brought the program to it's highest heights and Debbie Swartz continues on in the same direction until funding was cut in 2009. Dr. Ron Calhoun took up the torch and then Dr. Kevin Frank took the helm after Dr. Calhoun left for Residex. The program is now under the direction of Adam Ikamas, CGCS MiGCSA Executive Director and is being digitized and reformatted as MTESP 2.0, this will be out this fall. Funding for this program comes from the Michigan Groundwater Stewardship Program.
The Michigan Golf Alliance was formed in 2011 and is comprised of the major golf organizations in Michigan. These include the Michigan Golf Course Owners Association (MGCOA), Michigan Golf COurse Superintendents Association (MiGCSA), Golf Association of Michigan (GAM), Michigan Section PGA, the Greater Michigan Club Managers Association (GMCMA) and the Michigan Turfgrass Foundation (MTF). This group plans and produces the Michigan Legislative Golf Day every June and have an overall goal of getting more people to play more golf in Michigan.
All of this may look confusing, however we are extremely fortunate to have so many resources and groups working every day to support and promote the golf industry. I can say with certainty that in comparison to any other state we have the most active golf community in the country.