From the CEO: Rules of engagement

From supporting turfgrass research to participating in National Golf Day, April is chock-full of opportunities for golf course superintendents to go above and beyond in advancing the game.


If Theodore Roosevelt were known only as the 26th president of the United States, that would be a huge accomplishment. But he’s a giant of history, and his face is on Mount Rushmore for much more than just living in the White House.

Roosevelt and his Rough Riders were heroes of the Spanish-American War. He established the U.S. Forest Service. He oversaw the successful completion of the Panama Canal. He won the Nobel Peace Prize. The list goes on and on, because Teddy Roosevelt was never satisfied with just doing enough to get by.

Roosevelt said, “In any situation, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The next best thing you can do is the wrong thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing.”

More than a century later, Roosevelt’s words still have relevance. There are some who choose to do just enough to get by, but it’s those who strive for more who find the greatest success.

It’s fitting that April — a month when many golf courses around the country are opening with the promise of a great season — offers many great opportunities for GCSAA members who strive for more.

National Golf Day on April 25 is a prime example of the great strides that can be made when we do more than business as usual. National Golf Day puts us face to face with lawmakers and regulators at the highest levels to tell the great story of golf. The We Are Golf coalition also shows how the united front of GCSAA and our allied partners comes together for the industry. The related community service project April 24 helps beautify the National Mall and showcases the skills of GCSAA members. More than 200 individuals representing golf are expected to converge on Capitol Hill, and I am proud to say that more than half of that total comes from GCSAA members and staff.

Just a few days later, on April 30, our annual Rounds 4 Research auction opens for a run that continues through May 6. The 2017 auction raised $200,000 and surpassed previous amounts thanks to members and chapters that went the extra mile and took the initiative to secure donated rounds. We have even higher hopes for this year’s event because of our dedicated, engaged membership who see that the effort that goes into Rounds 4 Research means a brighter future for the entire game. You can preview the 2018 auction now. If you haven’t donated yet, it’s not too late to be a part of great golf and a great cause.

Those of you who attended the Opening Session of the Golf Industry Show in San Antonio heard an entertaining and insightful interview with our 2018 Old Tom Morris Award winner, Ernie Els. Not content with just being a world-class professional golfer, Els is a tireless advocate for those on the autism spectrum.

Inspired by this, GCSAA teamed up with the Els for Autism Foundation to encourage golf facilities to participate in Blue-Out Days as part of April’s Autism Awareness Month. Participating superintendents will encourage their staffs and golfers to wear blue on their chosen Blue-Out Day to raise awareness and funds for autism. The response to Blue-Out Day has exceeded our expectations, and superintendents around the country will host Blue-Out Days this month. Many of those who registered commented that they are doing so because of how autism has touched their own families. Here at GCSAA headquarters, we’ll be hosting our own Blue-Out Day on April 19, and are proud to be doing our part to show support for the more than 2 million individuals affected by autism.

This month provides just a snapshot of the many ways your GCSAA membership offers you opportunities to engage in activities that benefit your association, industry and community. When you strive to do more, you’re also helping yourself by honing your skills, making connections, and getting that great feeling that comes when you give back. The more you become engaged in what GCSAA has to offer, the greater the success for all.

J. Rhett Evans is GCSAA’s chief executive officer.