A year ago a more cynical and bitter me would have started this post taking a shot at those who have taken the same liberties on me. But, in a year of growth both personally and professionally I’m going to refrain from that practice. Not only is it horrible for business, but, it really solves nothing and it won’t make you feel better either.
Last season allowed me to see the people who matter the most in our operation. Interestingly enough, some of those people who matter are those who took said liberties. But in the end we all must succumb to the old adage that the “customer” is always right.
I received what should have been exciting and career changing news this past December. Something that I have poured my heart and soul into for 7 years had come to fruition. One of my career goals had been achieved, and yet I felt empty and somewhat guilty.
The news was announced last Tuesday that myself and Pheasant Run had been named the overall winner in the International category for the Environmental Leaders in Golf Awards (ELGA) for 2013.
We also got some mention in Golf Digest as well;
So why would winning one of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America’s (GCSAA) major awards bring on these feelings? While I had thought that I had let go the 3 bad weeks that defined my 2013. I apparently had not.
In one week I will walk on stage in front of my peers and accept this award. I will represent the Pheasant Run community, my family and the Evans family. In the time it’s taken me to articulate and put these words down in way they make sense. The excitement and prestige of this honor has really started to sink in.
When dealing with the weather and the elements that it can produce Superintendents tend to shoulder blame. It would be akin to me blaming the guy that snow plows my road (which has been a lot this winter) for snowing in the end of my driveway. Some things are out of your hands, just soldier on and fix them.
I am proud to represent Pheasant Run and everyone from members, staff and the Evans family. The transformation of Pheasant Run from a maintained from fenceline-to-fenceline parkland golf course has been evolving for all of my 9 years working here. Many changes have been subtle, and some less subtle. But at the end of it all, we are producing a more sustainable environment.
Areas have been taken out of play which reduces water use, fertilizer and pesticide use. The edges of the ponds were allowed to naturalize, which has created a natural filtration system. Our water usage has reduced by 30% in the last two years. We are choosing products that have less environmental impact. Our lighting systems have been upgraded to the most modern and energy-efficient available. When possible, we buy locally. This was a process far deeper than a few “Environmentally Sensitive Area” signs and I could go on-and-on.
I am proud what we have accomplished and the changes and environmental impacts don’t end with our graduation out of the ELGA program. As a member, staff member or person with an interest in golf don’t be shy to spread the good word. The first golf course in Ontario to win this award and 3rd in Canada. That’s pretty exciting and something the Pheasant Run community at large should take pride in.
I would like to thank everyone out there in the golf community who have continued to support me and Pheasant Run. You all know who you are and you all have a piece of this award.
Golf Course Superintendent