The MiGCSA is dedicated to providing value to our members through programs and services that enhance and promote our profession.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


The 2016 Michigan Turfgrass Conference is right around the corner starting on January 5th this year. This is a great opportunity for networking and education at an incredibly low cost. This event is not produced by the MiGCSA but is a product of the Michigan Turfgrass Foundation. There is often confusion on who does what in our state because we are fortunate to have a long standing and very strong Foundation in the MTF that did for many years act as a unified voice for Golf Course Superintendents. With the establishment of the MiGCSA in 2008 as a unified statewide chapter and our success since then it has muddied the water a little bit.

The MTF is a 501 c3 non profit who has one primary goal to support turf research at MSU, and they have been doing this better than anyone in the country since the 1950's. Millions of dollars have poured through the MTF into Turf Research at MSU. Many of this dollars came from the original 4 chapters and their MTF Fundraisers. Still today the MiGCSA is the largest single contributor to the MTF from the proceeds of our three fundraisers every year, more than $22,000 in 2015. One of the extra benefits of the conference is that 100% of the profits from the event go to the MTF and thus to the research we all rely on. This years conference is another blockbuster thanks to Amy Fouty and her conference committee and everyone involved with the MTF.

The MiGCSA does all we can to help support this conference as it is a benefit to being an MiGCSA Member to be in the loop on any educational opportunities. If you are reading this and are not registered for the 2016 show you are missing out on one of the best educational and networking opportunities of the year at an incredibly low cost, do yourself a favor and go to right now and get signed up.

Friday, October 23, 2015

The Wheel of Support

It is that time of year, early order season. I remember well the piles of spreadsheets and my calculator in the office and hours moving and crunching numbers, meeting with my sales representatives and trying to find the best way to stretch a dollar.

We hear do more with less all the time and all of our members are under pressure to do just this. That has a trickle down effect and lands on our Industry Partners. They also have to do more with less, with that being said they still continue to support your Association. Many have since inception in 2008 and continue to this day. We honestly would not exist without their support. We only have two main revenue streams, Membership and Industry Partners. We try to run our events at a break even to keep costs for members low, 100% of the Fundraiser proceeds go right back into our industry every year. It is critical that we continue to have support from these partners. With that it is critical that you as end users consider the support of these companies when you make your purchasing decisions.

It is a wheel of support and if any part of the support is removed it will no longer spin. So please put one more crucial factor into your purchasing decisions this fall, is the company you are supporting doing the same for you?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Fundraisers to the Finish Line

Registration is now open for the last two Fundraisers of 2015, Western Golf Day at Cascade Hills C.C. on September 21st and the Big Event at Polo Fields on October 5th.

These events are traditionally very well attended and the golf clubs go all out to host us. So please try to make time to attend one or both of theses events to help us raise money for Student and Member Heritage Scholarships, the Wee One Foundation and other philanthropic turf related causes. The vast majority of the funds go directly to the Michigan Turfgrass Foundation (MTF) and help fund the world class research at Michigan State University (MSU).

The first Fundraiser of the year at Arcadia Bluffs was a great start, help us cross the 2015 year finish line with a bang. 100% of the proceeds from the Fundraisers are distributed back into our industry every year.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

You Gotta Have Faith

I often wonder how to explain in a brief and concise manner why the MiGCSA is important to our members. It is easy to list out all of the things we do but as I often do I try to relate what we do, to what our members do.

If you are trying to explain to a member or golfer at your facility what you do and why it is important it is very easy to start listing off all of the things you do to produce a product that they enjoy. We top dress, spray, mow, fertilize, detail, adjust, water, manage people, budget and so on the list is tremendously long and no one really wants to hear it all.

So I can go on about how we advocate for our members with other organizations, promote the position, create and maintain communication lines, work with governmental agencies, create valuable magazine content, serve as a conduit for member needs big and small, plan and organize networking events, raise money for turf research and scholarships for the future of our industry and so on the list is tremendously long and no one really wants to hear it all.

What it comes down to for your members and ours is simply this, do you believe that what we stand for and our vision or not? If the answer is yes, then that is why we are important, and why you are as well on your property. It is not a single thing or item you get from being an MiGCSA Member, it is the knowledge that you are supporting your community for the betterment of our profession. It is that you believe in our mission: The MiGCSA is dedicated to providing value to our members through programs and services that enhance and promote our profession. And our vision statement: The Michigan Golf Course Superintendents Association is passionate about its members and the golf industry.

I can tell you these statements are not just something we throw up on the website and walk away, the mission and vision are used every day for me to make decisions for the MiGCSA and at every Board Meeting. I know I believed in this Association, so much that I left a very stable position to take on this job to help the Board and Members to grow our Chapter into one of the best in the country. Thank you all for doing your part be it little or big to help us accomplish our many goals.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Legislative Golf Day... wait.. it is not as boring as it sounds

I know, Legislative is not a word that brings to mind fast paced action packed adrenaline inducing visions. Regardless of what section of the political spectrum you are on legislation does not get the blood running hot for many. I am not going to beat you up with a bunch of stats, well ok maybe a few but they are really cool and important for you to know.

We are gathering as a Golf Alliance ( on June 4th on the lawn of the Capitol Building to help make sure those exciting legislators know how much golf actually brings to the table here in Michigan. The start of the Legislative Golf Day is actually at the start of the month, June has been proclaimed by Governor Snyder as Golf Month in Michigan, we are hoping to spread the word by using the hash tag #MichiganGolfMonth on all social media platforms.

We all know that golf can get a bad rap from many people, but really we are a critical driver of so much of the economy here in our state. Please feel free to share the graphic below to show as many people as we can that golf is important. It is likely very important to anyone reading this as it is how you make a living. It is also how a lot of people make a living, 4.2 billion dollars of economic impact! Yes BILLION. Many golf courses have been operating successful businesses and key to many communities for over 100 years. How many other businesses can say that?

I know June 4th is the day you top dress/mow the range/spray/fertilize/hand water/fix/do paperwork/have a meeting/train staff/and generally put out the fires that come flaring up every day all summer long. However it is so important for us to have a strong participation from our membership. Please try to find a way to join us as a community to take our message to Lansing. As tedious as legislation can be it can shape the future of our industry and in turn shape the future for you and your family. Help us be a part of the decisions that are made that affect us.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


As we head into year eight of the MiGCSA from the former four chapters we have seen so many successes. The improvements overall are numerous and hard to miss, I write about them often in this space. But today I want to cover one of the ares where we can improve. When I say we I do mean we, as the MiGCSA is not us and them it is just us, we are all together in this group bound by our profession regardless of the name of the umbrella.

One thing I have heard is after the change to the statewide organization that some of the local flavor has slipped away. I can say that I agree with this to a point. Back when we had four local chapters that were being run by volunteers and some with limited staff it was a priority to plan and promote local events for their chapter. Some feel like this has gone away. I would like to think of it a different way. Now we are able to promote and manage events so much more efficiently which is great but it does not take the need for local involvement and promotion of local events. Now if you have an idea for an event in your area it is so much easier to bring it to fruition. The communication lines are clear the organization is there, but that alone is not enough. So I ask you as a member reading this blog to take on that challenge of creating a local event and bringing it to the MiGCSA to help make it a reality. Promote it to your colleagues in your area like it was done with the original chapters but with the power of the statewide presence. There have been some great examples of this that are in process right now, the Meet & Greet at Tam O'Shanter on May 8th, the Tigers game on May 21st and the Belle Isle clean up efforts last week. These are all member driven ideas, not from the Board or a Committee.

So lets get local, what do you want to see happen in your area of our great state? Get some friends together and plan it out, let us know and you will be amazed at how fast we can get it promoted and filled up.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

How does it look this spring?

This is the question, the one we all have been getting. From Superintendents and Assistants to the Golf Pro and GM. How do the greens look? Not that this is not a normal spring question, but this year it is more than the passing comment. With the 2014 golf season that never was still fresh in so many golfers memories it is with great trepidation that this question is being asked this year.

So far from what I have heard is minimal damage across the state, especially in the hard hit Metro Detroit area. Some damage that in most years would likely not be noticed or talked about as the usual winter hits. But this year under the winter kill microscope it is front and center. Every off color patch of grass is documented and reported. I am very glad to hear the results as they come in from all corners, I do not think the members of our chapter could sustain another spring and summer of recovery.

As I have said in post on this topic before, no matter how long a member has been at a club, or how much the dues they pay are there is not a single person on the property... on the earth who was more distraught with the results of the polar vortex of 2014 than the Golf Course Superintendent. Also there is not a single person who was more relived than the Superintendent when the greens came out alive this spring. Not because it was too much work to get them back, or they were afraid of the amount of effort needed again this year. MiGCSA Members have work and effort to spare. It is the soul crushing feeling of helplessness that comes with the damage of a long winter that takes the toll.

As we all know we are not out of the woods yet, the potential for crown hydration injury still persists. Fingers and toes crossed we can get a nice warm spring green up without winter trying for one last blast this spring.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Michigan Turf Conference

Hopefully everyone knew that this week was the 2015 Michigan Turfgrass Conference in East Lansing. I also hope that everyone who could attend did, if not you missed the best conference I have seen to date, and the best deal in turf education going. For $150 for three days of jam packed current topics and speakers from Bradley Klien of Golfweek to the entire MSU Turf Team and other professors from around the country to Superintendent project presentations for $6.25 an hour! Less than minimum wage, if your employer can not approve this expense then I am not sure of any they would. The vendor show on Tuesday was packed and had a light social atmosphere with great food and enough beverage stations to ensure a good time for all.

The MiGCSA does not produce this show, we offer our assistance at any time but the Michigan Turfgrass Foundation (MTF) is the driving force behind this every year. Gordie LaFontaine is the Executive Director of the MTF and Becky Schoch is the Executive Secretary. Brain Schweihofer is the MTF President and Amy Fouty is the Education Chair who works closely with Dr. Kevin Frank and the MSU Turf Team. I want to personally thank them all for a great week, you should too when you see them. And if the price is not enough, or the education please remember this. All oft he proceeds from this conference go directly to the MTF to fund the world class turf research at MSU! The MTF funds the University with $120,000+ a year which is often matched from other groups and the University to double, triple and quadruple this number all in a effort to make discoveries that make your job easier and more efficient. 

We have a great thing going here in Michigan, many of us (including me) can easily take it for granted, many of us have not known anything else. However now that I am exposed to so many other areas of the country I can tell you we could not have it any better any where else. Our member numbers are up, we are investing money for the chapter and our donation to the MTF was more than $18,500 this year along with $7,000 in scholarships. I am happy to be a part of this great turf state and I hope all of our members are too, congratulations to all of you for your part be it big or small it is not possible without every one of you.