GCSAA/Golf Digest Environmental Leaders in Golf Awards

ELGA -logo-no-date

Presented by GCSAA and Golf Digest in partnership with Syngenta and Rain Bird, the Environmental Leaders in Golf Awards recognize golf course superintendents and golf courses around the world for their commitment to environmental stewardship.

These prestigious awards will result in recognition of environmental leaders and thousands of dollars donated to The Environmental Institute for Golf. Since 1993, participating sponsors have contributed more than $406,000 to The Environmental Institute for Golf, and more than 415 golf course superintendents have been recognized with past awards. View a list of past winners.

When is the deadline and where should I send my application?

Applications for the 2015 ELGAs are now closed. 

Who is eligible to apply?

Applicants from the United States must be members in good standing of GCSAA and of an affiliated GCSAA chapter. Applicants from outside the United States should be members of similar local organizations.

Superintendents who have previously been recognized as a national or international winner of the Environmental Steward Awards or as a winner of Golf Digest's Environmental Leaders in Golf Awards are not eligible to receive 2015 Overall/National/International awards unless they have changed facilities.All entries are eligible for Chapter and Merit awards.


While GCSAA members may apply for the awards directly, members and non-members (including the general public) also may nominate GCSAA members for award consideration. Nominations, including the nominee's name and mailing address, should be directed to GCSAA with a short description as to why the GCSAA member is being nominated. Nominees will be notified of their nomination and provided with an application form for completion. Those making the nomination will remain anonymous unless otherwise requested.

ELGA applications are reviewed and scored by an independent panel of judges. The judging panel includes university scientists, representatives from environmental organizations and golf industry professionals including irrigation specialists, independent agronomists, turfgrass consultants and other industry representatives.

What are the judges looking for?

Applications will be evaluated in the following categories:

  • Water conservation
  • Water quality management
  • Integrated pest management
  • Energy conservation
  • Pollution prevention
  • Waste management
  • Wildlife and habitat conservation
  • Communication and outreach
  • Leadership

Within each category, judges will be looking for best management practices that result in resource conservation, environmental protection and enhancement, and leadership. Please indicate how the use of technology has improved management practices, reduced costs or enhanced communications, education and outreach regarding environmental stewardship at the facility. Judges can award discretionary points for innovation and creativity in addition to the categories above.

Applicants are allowed 300 words or less for each category and must answer questions directly on the application form. Additional pages may not be attached. Photos, videos and additional documentation will not be accepted with the entries.


  • Describe local conditions and challenges to provide a frame of reference for what you've accomplished.
  • Avoid duplication of answers by providing information specific to the category being evaluated.
  • Be specific. Focus on the details that make your facility stand out.
  • Documented improvement is preferred to estimated or claimed performance.
  • Quality of information, not quantity, is what's important to the judging panel.

Selection criteria

Judges will evaluate each application and can award a total of 100 points, with 10 points available in each of the nine categories above. Judges also have up to 10 discretionary points available for innovation, exceptional efforts or creativity. Judges will use the 2015 ELGA criteria as a guide to award points.

Applications will be totaled and scored using a truncated means when applicable. Awards will be given using top scores accordingly and provided GCSAA receives adequate and qualified applicants.

Awards include:

  • Overall ELGA winner, selected from the National and International winners
  • National Winners, one private course, one resort and one public course
  • International, one winner
  • Chapter Winners, one winner from each affiliated chapter that is represented with applicants and is not a National Winner. Applicants should list only one chapter on their application.
  • Mert Winners, applicants with scores equal to or greater than the average score who were not selected as National or Chapter Winners.

ELGA winners receive:

  • Recognition in Golf Digest and GCSAA publications
  • Recognition at the Golf Industry Show
  • An invitation for the Overall, National and International winners' employers to attend the recognition activities at the Golf Industry Show
  • A personalized trophy or certificate of achievement
  • National, regional and local publicity

When are winners announced?

All applicants will receive a confirmation letter from GCSAA. Winners will be notified by December and recognized at the Golf Industry Show.