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Best management practices established for New England golf courses

by Jan 19, 2021 | Kate Hiebert

Golf course superintendents lead the development of regional best management practices with grants from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America

Lawrence, Kan. (Jan. 19, 2021) – A collaborative effort by golf course superintendents in five New England states has resulted in the established best management practices manuals for golf courses in Maine, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont.

The effort was part of an initiative by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) to establish BMPs in all 50 states by the end of 2020, which has been accomplished.

The New England BMPs were developed in part by using the BMP Planning Guide and Template created by the GCSAA and funded and supported by the USGA. Each of the five states then published their own state manual based off of the regional work.

The New England project received $45,000 in BMP grants that GCSAA funded through the association’s Environmental Institute for Golf (EIFG) in part by the PGA Tour. The BMP grant program provides funding through the EIFG to chapters for developing new guides, updating existing guides or for verification programs.

The BMPs provide guidance in key areas including water quality management, pesticide management, nutrient management and pollinator protection.

Robert Searle, superintendent at Abenakee Club in Biddeford Pool, Maine, and served on the BMP steering committee, said it made sense for the states to work together citing their shared weather patterns and interactions with the University of Rhode Island, University of Massachusetts and University of Connecticut turfgrass programs.

"All of the states rely on the same universities for our turfgrass research," Searle said. "And working together, we now have something in writing that shows what we do is science based to prove our environmental stewardship as professional land managers."

In addition to Searle, others who served on the New England Steering Committee include Peter Gorman, technical representative for Atlantic Golf & Turf from Newington, Conn.; Rick Lawlor, CGCS, retired superintendent from Sandwich, Maine; Peter Rappoccio, CGCS, superintendent at Concord (Mass.) Country Club; Dave Ousterhout, superintendent at Concord (N.H.) Country Club Drew Cummins, branch manager for T&O Sales from Sterling, Mass. Kevin Komer, CGCS, director of agronomy at The Mountain Course at Spruce Peak in Stowe, Vt.; John Inguaguiato, Ph.D, assistant professor of turfgrass pathology at University of Connecticut; Mary Owen, Extension turf specialist, University of Massachusetts; Kevin Doyle, GCSAA northeast regional field staff representative; and Jim Skorulski, senior agronomist, USGA.

To read the New England state BMP manuals and to learn more about GCSAA’s BMP program, visit