Golf course superintendent honored for advocacy efforts, advancement of association priority issues and congressional outreach
Kan. (Aug. 18, 2020) – Gregory Pheneger, director of golf course
management at John’s Island Club in Vero Beach, Fla., has been named the 2020
Q1 Grassroots Ambassador Leadership Award winner from the Golf Course
Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA).
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 2021 National
Golf Day in Washington, D.C.
are grateful for Greg’s continuous activism for the industry over so many years,”
GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans said. “His hard work is helping grow the game of golf and
improve the perception of golf course management in Florida and around the
country. Congratulations to him on this recognition.”
GAL Award is part of the GCSAA Grassroots Ambassadors program, which matches
superintendents with members of Congress to build strong relationships between
them. More than 431 GCSAA members currently serve as ambassadors.
member of GCSAA, Pheneger became an ambassador when the program was introduced
in 2014. In his role as an ambassador, Pheneger is currently paired with Sen. Rick
Scott (R-FL) and works closely with the Senator’s southeast Florida district
director, Ryan Hnatick.
Scott was elected to the senate in 2016, Hnatick came to Vero
Beach and toured the West Course at John’s Island Club.
“We discussed H-2B visas which our club uses
to supplement our staff every winter, the great environmental benefits of golf
and our capital spending on the course and facilities,” said Pheneger. “I have
spoken to Hnatick concerning H-2B visa issues and the President’s Executive
Order. Every issue that I have presented has been well received and he has
passed up the ladder in D.C.”
Pheneger was part of the Florida Golf Course
Superintendents Association Board of Directors that pushed to hire a lobbyist
in the ‘90s and was in the first small group of superintendents to lobby in
Tallahassee, Fla. He continues to lobby each year, with a larger group of turf
professionals from lawn care, sod production and fertilizer industries.
He has also served on the GCSAA Government
Relations Committee the first year it met in Washington, D.C.
“I have become the go to person at my club on
many governmental, national and local issues,” said Pheneger. “The Grassroots
Ambassador Program is one of best programs that GCSAA has to offer. We have
attempted to emulate the program in the state and get one person from each
county to contact their local officials.”
Pheneger hopes to continue working with the
program in the future.