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President’s Message: That seasonal spirit

A focus on the common good abounds during the holiday season, and that mindset is a constant at GCSAA.


This probably won’t be a surprise to anyone who knows me, but the holidays are a special time of year around the Maynard house.

To be brief, there’s not much I don’t like about this time of year. I like the music. I like the decorations. I like the parties. I absolutely love the fact that the holidays bring my family together to enjoy all of those things, which is something that doesn’t happen nearly enough, as my children have left the nest to begin their own careers and start their own families.

But perhaps the thing I love most about the holidays is the spirit of giving — the penchant for people to think more about others than they do themselves. In these increasingly fractured times, when it can seem conflict is more celebrated than compromise, it’s nice to enjoy a few weeks during which people genuinely put aside their differences and focus on the common good.

I have been fortunate that both my family and my employers have wholeheartedly embraced the idea that giving is better than receiving. Finding worthy causes to donate our time and efforts to is a priority not only during the holiday season but, really, all year long.

It is also something that I have experienced in spades during my time at GCSAA, both as a member of the organization and during my service on the national board of directors these past eight years. In times of need, when others are in search of a helping hand or when it’s just the right thing to do, this association and its nearly 18,000 members all around the world step up.

And I’m not specifically talking about the industry’s responses following traumatic events or natural disasters, although the amazing charitable efforts that arose in the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and the wildfires in Northern California are certainly noteworthy. Instead, I’m speaking of recent, more modest initiatives that have bolstered the golf course superintendent profession in other parts of the world and that I’ve witnessed firsthand in my role as GCSAA president.

GCSAA and its member superintendents have always benefited from a relatively robust and mature golf market in the United States. Even in times of economic hardships, we have been fortunate as an association to have resources at our disposal that allow us to educate our members, provide them with opportunities to network and learn from their fellow superintendents, and generally support their profession.

That’s why helping others achieve those same goals has always been so important to GCSAA. In Mexico, for example, it has been exciting to help the many talented superintendents there in the creation of their own affiliated chapter, Mexico GCSA, which will offer turfgrass managers south of the border a chance to tap into educational opportunities and events that hadn’t been readily available to them previously. It’s why we’re working diligently with our friends in Europe to get them access to the professional development lessons we’ve benefited from, in an effort to take their existing programs to the next level.

And it’s why GCSAA eagerly embraced the recent Can Am Cup as an opportunity to convene with our fellow superintendents in Canada for two days of outstanding education, networking and golf at an event that helped move both superintendent organizations forward. Those of us in the red, white and blue may not have enjoyed the final result, but we’ll cherish the memories made nonetheless.

When giving back is in your DNA — as it is in my family, at my golf course and at GCSAA — the sense of satisfaction that comes from spending time with others, sharing what you have with them, and supporting them in their endeavors is immeasurable. I wish you and your families nothing but the best this holiday season, and I hope that you too will experience the fulfillment that comes from living the notion that it is indeed much better to give than receive.

Bill Maynard, CGCS, is the director of golf course maintenance operations at the Country Club of St. Albans (Mo.) and a 30-year member of GCSAA.