2019 News Releases

Brandriet wins GCSAA Grassroots Ambassador Leadership Award

by Feb 27, 2019 | Sarah Huerter

Golf course superintendent honored for advocacy efforts, advancement of association priority issues and congressional outreach.

Lawrence, Kan. (Feb. 26, 2019) – Greg Brandriet, certified golf course superintendent (CGCS) at Elkhorn Ridge Golf Club in Spearfish, S.D., has been named a Grassroots Ambassador Leadership Award winner from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA).

The Grassroots Ambassador Leadership Award, presented quarterly in partnership with The Toro Co., recognizes and honors individuals who have demonstrated growth in advocacy and advancement of the GCSAA Priority Issues Agenda through congressional outreach and relationship development with a member of Congress. Through Toro, the winners will receive a trip to take part in the 2019 National Golf Day in Washington, D.C. 

“Advocacy efforts are truly making a difference in the public perception of golf,” GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans said. “We are fortunate to have highly engaged members like Greg who work with members of Congress to bring the issues that affect golf to their attention. Congratulations to him on this recognition.”

The GAL Award is part of the GCSAA Grassroots Ambassadors, a program that matches superintendents with members of Congress to build strong relationships with them. Nearly 350 GCSAA members currently serve as ambassadors. 

A 10-year member of GCSAA, Brandriet became involved in advocating for his profession out of a personal interest in politics and to meet like-minded individuals who promote the economic and social benefits of the golf industry. He became an ambassador in 2016 and attended National Golf Day in 2017 and 2018.  

“Every opportunity to advocate for the golf industry has given me an opportunity to hone our message and to improve my leadership and communication skills,” Brandriet said. “Advocating for our industry is important to provide an accurate narrative to the public in an age where golf is sometimes viewed as a burden on the environment and a limited-access activity, when really the opposite is true.”

In his role as an ambassador, Brandriet is paired with Sen. John Thune (R-SD), who serves as Senate Majority Whip. Brandriet first connected with Thune’s local staff in 2017, and Thune’s Washington office has reached out to Brandriet on key issues affecting the golf industry, such as the H-2B Visa program. In addition, Brandriet met with Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) when the senator visited Elkhorn Ridge.

“Senator Rounds was at our facility speaking to another group but recalled our meeting at NGD 2017 and offered continued support for our objectives,” Brandriet said. “Both senators have been very receptive to our message and are already promoting a few of our key policy issues.”

Brandriet has also spoken to local environmental groups about GCSAA’s best management practices initiative and the association’s goal of having state-specific BMP guidelines in all 50 states by 2020.