GCSAA's certification program
A complete guide to the certified golf course superintendent designation
GCSAA offers a professional certification program that enables golf course superintendents to be recognized for their high level of achievement in golf course management. The professional designation, Certified Golf Course Superintendent (CGCS), is bestowed upon those who voluntarily meet the stringent requirements.
The CGCS designation is the most widely recognized in the golf industry and the highest level of recognition that can be achieved. Approximately 25% of GCSAA Class A members are certified golf course superintendents.
What new CGCSs say about the program
"Achieving certification is equally demanding and challenging, as certification requires professionalism, detail and perseverance. Certification reinforces all facets of being a professional golf course superintendent. You will strengthen your weak areas, becoming a better superintendent. While there are numerous other benefits to achieving certification, the process alone is gratifying."
– Eric Ritter, CGCS, Wild Marsh Golf Club, Buffalo, Minn.
"Achieving GCSAA certification has long been a personal and professional goal of mine, but it had always seemed so far away. There was always something else keeping me from focusing on certification, and it seemed like there would be more time to start it tomorrow, next week or next month. Once I finally began the process, three things became very apparent: the portfolio is something I could have started at any point in my career; the whole process makes you look at yourself to see what type of superintendent and manager you are; and it is completely worth the time and effort. As with anything worthwhile in life, the certification process is not one that you go through alone. It would not have been possible for me to
attain certification without the support of my family, my friends and my fellow superintendents who have helped me throughout my career and my life. I am proud to be a newly certified superintendent and I look forward to the future."
– Keith Bennett, CGCS, Charleston Springs Golf Course South, Millstone TWP, N.J.
"My goal since joining GCSAA as a freshman at Kansas State University in 2001 was to become a golf course superintendent. It was not until more recently that I decided achieving certification would actually be a valuable endeavor. I was not too far into working on my portfolio when I realized I was already rethinking some of the areas of my operation and forced to evaluate my strengths and weaknesses a little differently. Achieving certification will undoubtedly help me become a better turfgrass manager, leader and mentor, and environmental steward."
– Sam Reznicek, CGCS, Grand Forks Country Club, Grand Forks, N.D.
"Attaining certification has been a long-term, professional goal of mine since earning a turf degree from SUNY Delhi. I was extremely fortunate to apprentice under four GCSAA certified golf course superintendents early in my career. From a personal and professional standpoint, obtaining certification status was non-negotiable. The GCSAA certification process substantiates and reinforces the essential requirements necessary to remain progressive in this industry. I believe that this designation validates the critical role of the golf course superintendent. The process demonstrates GCSAA's commitment
to the industry by promoting the importance of improvement both personally and professionally. Thank you GCSAA!"
– Matthew F. Delly, CGCS, Monroe Golf Club, Pittsford, N.Y.
"Achieving certification through GCSAA has been a professional and personal goal of mine from the beginning of my career. Becoming a certified golf course superintendent is a great opportunity to pass along the experiences and dedication required to other aspiring CGCSs. Throughout my 16-year career, I have gained knowledge in the golf course construction and maintenance industry. The certification process, specifically the electronic portfolio, strengthened that knowledge. I would have never achieved this status without some very influential mentors during my career. My mentors (Jack Archer, Shannon Easter and Carl Collins) have instilled in me the qualifications to become a successful superintendent. Their knowledge aided me in obtaining certification status, and I want to thank them and GCSAA for this opportunity. I will treasure this accomplishment and represent the association's core values and ethical standards. Thank You GCSAA!"
– Joey G. Franco, CGCS, Brookstone Country Club, Acworth, Ga.
"The valuable knowledge I've gained from the certification program will not only benefit me as a manager, but also the organization I am committed to. I now have more confidence to make sound agronomic decisions, and I understand that I have control to enhance our environment and can improve the enjoyment and growth of the game of golf. In addition to the education I've gained, I am now more familiar with my roles and responsibilities to be a true leader that my team deserves. Thanks GCSAA!"
– Ryan Wulff, CGCS, Sunriver Resort - Woodlands Course, Bend, Ore.
"From the time I began my career, becoming a certified superintendent has been a goal for me. Throughout my career, I have worked for certified superintendents who impressed upon me the value of certification. I have been eligible to work toward my certification for several years, but life and work commitments required my priority and focus. After working through this program over the past year, I can say it reinforces your strengths and abilities, while challenging you to improve in other areas. I hope as a CGCS, I am able to mentor future superintendents and impress upon them the value of the program, while utilizing the valuable tools and knowledge that I have developed through this cap-stone experience."
– Eric H. Frazier, CGCS, Willow Oaks Country Club, Richmond, Va.
"I believe in having an attitude of continuous improvement both on the golf course and professionally, and I have been fortunate to have had professional mentors and employers who have encouraged and supported this belief. Attaining a Certified Golf Course Superintendent designation from the GCSAA is a result of that support and represents the achievement of a career goal that I set for myself upon graduation from Penn State University. I am proud to be a part of the 2014 class and to be a part of the CGCS community."
– David J. Kuypers, CGCS, Cutten Field, Guelph, Ontario, Canada
"Becoming a certified superintendent has always been a dream of mine. I remember counting the years before I would be eligible to start the process when I got my first head superintendent job. Once you become a superintendent, you realize that taking the time to work on certification is sometimes easier said than done. I am here to tell all eligible Class A superintendents that you CAN find the time; and the entire process is a rewarding experience. I feel like I grew more as a superintendent during the last year (while working on my certification designation), than the last three managing our facility.”
– Rob Steger, CGCS, Saginaw Country Club, Saginaw, Mich.
"Starting in college and throughout my career, I have had the good fortune of working with great mentors who have continually challenged me to better myself. So, achieving certification through GCSAA has always been a goal of mine. The process of achieving certification was a great challenge that reinforced and tested all the knowledge and abilities I have gained in my career in all aspects related to golf course management. Thank you GCSAA for the opportunity. I am excited to have achieved certification and look forward to what the future holds."
– Andy Klein, CGCS, Falcon Lakes Golf Club, Basehor, Kan.
"Ever since I decided to pursue a career in turfgrass management, I have always had the goal of becoming a certified golf course superintendent. I have been fortunate to work for several certified superintendents who have exemplified leadership, professionalism and a commitment to success. Some of the greatest lessons involved ethics, values and responsibility – all of which the certification process commands. This program has helped me reinforce certain proficencies while strengthening others. I hope as a CGCS, I can be a mentor to future industry professionals and provide a positive influence on their careers.”
– Peter J. Rappoccio, CGCS, Concord Country Club, Concord, Mass.
"As a young, up-and-coming agronomist with a passion for golf, I wanted to be one of the best; and I knew obtaining certification would naturally be part of the process. I had the good fortune to work under Rick Owens, CGCS, for over two years after graduating with my turf degree. He was, and still is, a great mentor. Although I met the requirements and was eligible to pursue certification in 2005, I didn’t even begin to take it seriously until last year – thanks in large part to my loving wife. The process was not easy, but then nothing worthwhile in life ever is. Along the way I learned a lot, not only about my profession, but more importantly myself. Becoming a certified golf course superintendent is my greatest accomplishment professionally. Thank you GCSAA for providing the opportunity!"
– Matthew Wharton, CGCS, Carolina Golf Club, Charlotte, N.C.