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President’s Message: Staying true to our roots


During my year as GCSAA president, I have often wondered what the association’s founding father, Col. John Morley, would think about the current state of the association and the industry he helped create nearly 100 years ago.

Chances are, he would hardly recognize either. A small band of brothers with a shared passion and dedication to a career as a greenkeeper when it first began, GCSAA has grown into an international association — pushing toward 20,000 members worldwide — that leads the way in the golf industry in the areas of education, advocacy and environmental stewardship. And thanks to the changes and advances in our industry — from computer-controlled irrigation and state-of-the-art cutting units to precision turf management practices — the job of the superintendent today bears little resemblance to the work Morley and his colleagues performed.

However, there is one thing that I believe Morley would almost instantly recognize in the association and industry of today — an ethos that was just as prevalent in the early days of golf course management as it is in the modern era. Morley once wrote, “No life is, or can be, self-existent. We depend on each other,” and I can tell you that spirit of caring and support, that desire to lend a helping hand, is just as strong today as it was in Morley’s day. And I can attest to that because I’ve seen it with my own eyes on a regular basis.

Most recently, I witnessed that willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty during the Girls Junior PGA Championship, which we hosted at the Country Club of St. Albans (Mo.) in July. The week of that event was one of the hottest of the summer in our part of the world, with heat indexes rising above the 110-degree mark. During one trip around the course, we saw that the volunteers working in the scoring tents were struggling with the conditions, as air movement in the three-sided structures was almost nonexistent.

So, our team went to work. We rounded up fans and put together coolers filled with ice and bottled water, and delivered those to the volunteers in the scoring tents. It was a completely unprompted and unrequested gesture, but it was one that brought a measure of relief to the workers, and, based on their overwhelming response, one that was greatly appreciated.

Watching all of this unfold was an excellent reminder of just how much those who work in our industry focus on giving back and helping others. As GCSAA president, I’ve been able to observe these efforts at the chapter level, illustrated by everything from fundraising golf tournaments and scholarship programs to community service projects.

That’s mirrored at the national level through GCSAA’s benevolence efforts for members in need, the association’s backing of organizations such as the Wee One Foundation, and its steadfast dedication to programs such as Rounds 4 Research. GCSAA headquarters staff get in on the act, too, through their long-standing involvement in United Way fundraising efforts as well as in a variety of community causes and events in and around Lawrence, Kan.

There are many reasons I am proud of my participation in GCSAA — its efforts to continually educate members, to advocate on their behalf and to promote their crucial role in the golf industry. But equally high on that list is the dedication that I have seen in so many of our members and so many of our staff to giving back, to helping others and to caring as much about the well-being of others as they do about themselves. That philosophy was a crucial component of the foundation of our association, and I know that if Col. John Morley were here today, he’d be just as proud of that part of GCSAA as I am.

Bill Maynard, CGCS, is the director of golf course maintenance operations at the Country Club of St. Albans (Mo.) and a 31-year member of GCSAA.