In a matter of days, every ambassador position in the state of Michigan filled up, save for one, and that has a superintendent pending. How? The energy and commitment of GCSAA member Kyle Barton, superintendent at Tam O' Shanter Country Club in West Bloomfield, Mich.
In 2018, Barton became active in the Grassroots Ambassador program after being paired with Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). He quickly reached out to her Detroit regional office and invited one of the senator’s local staff members to visit his golf club. The result was a one-hour meeting and course tour during which Barton discussed modern day agronomic principles, best management practices and the various inputs and tools superintendents rely upon to manage a golf course. The experience was eye opening for the staff member and rewarding for Barton. He now had the advocacy bug and wanted to do more.
Barton and I frequently talked in the fall of 2018 about various advocacy topics as he continued communicating with Sen. Stabenow's office. Then, at the 2019 Golf Industry Show, Barton approached me at a reception and said, "I want to get every ambassador spot in Michigan filled by the end of March." This was music to my ears. With a population of nearly 10 million, Michigan has a sizeable Congressional delegation, including 14 House members and 2 senators.
Of the 16 total delegation members, the ambassador program had 6 spots open. Barton set to work and in less than two weeks recruited 5 new Ambassadors.
"I was so motivated by all the speakers I listened to at GIS it made me want to do more. I attended the EIFG/Grassroots Ambassadors Reception where I met and chatted with ambassadors from other states," Barton said. "We talked about how we can truly make a difference on some of the issues that have arisen and were coming our way. If we, as ambassadors, can influence even just one bill, it can have a very positive impact on the turf industry and our ability as superintendents to do our job."
Hats off to Barton and thanks to him for his positive advocacy efforts!
If you would like to become a Grassroots Ambassador or would simply like to help recruit others, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-472-7878, ext. 3612.
GCSAA manager, government affairs