GCSAA revamps CGCS program

The association has streamlined the process for its members to achieve Certified Golf Course Superintendent status.


Certified Golf Course Superintendent program

Fifty years after creating the first certification program to validate golf course superintendents’ education and experience, GCSAA has modernized the Certified Golf Course Superintendent (CGCS) program to keep its high standards intact while reducing the amount of time needed to complete it.

The integrity of the CGCS program — which has been developed by GCSAA members, academics, industry professionals and psychometricians — remains while the process itself has been streamlined. The required competencies for a Certified Golf Course Superintendent have been updated, as well as the exam, with care taken to ensure competencies previously tested through the portfolio requirement are now effectively evaluated through either the written exam or the attesting process. A new attesting rubric will provide enhanced consistency in grading. Eligible candidates can now complete the current steps (communication and leadership requirements, attesting of the golf course, and the online exam) in any order that best fits their schedules.

In addition, those who successfully complete the “Principles of Golf Course Leadership and Communications” certificate in GCSAA’s Assistant Superintendent Certificate Series can now apply that work toward obtaining their CGCS designation later in their careers.

“CGCS has been widely recognized as the pinnacle designation in the industry for half a century,” says GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans. “It seems fitting that in the year we celebrate the program’s 50th anniversary that we also launch its latest iteration, which recognizes the time commitment challenges that so many superintendents are facing today. We are continually looking for ways to improve the program and increase its value to our members, their facilities and the game of golf.”

GCSAA’s certification program began in June 1971 as a way to accredit those who advanced their knowledge base through continuing education. Since the program started, 3,348 golf course superintendents have earned the CGCS designation. Once certified, superintendents must renew their certification every five years.

Editor’s note: Superintendent Marc Weston, CGCS, outlines different paths to becoming more involved in the golf industry and discusses how such opportunities lead to personal growth and a more rewarding professional journey.

GCSAA Past President Palmer Maples Jr., CGCS, of Kansas City, Mo., and Charles Baskin, CGCS, of Ponce Inlet, Fla., are the longest-tenured living certified superintendents, both first earning certification in the program’s inaugural year.

To be eligible to begin the Certified Golf Course Superintendent program, an individual must either be a current GCSAA Class A member or meet those same requirements, and must complete the application form. Once the application has been approved, the individual has one year to complete all steps of the certification process.

Find more information about GCSAA’s CGCS program.

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