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GCSAA revamps certification program to meet needs of modern golf course superintendents

by Oct 19, 2021 | Angela Hartmann

Certified Golf Course Superintendent is bestowed up those who have demonstrated a high degree of knowledge in their profession

Lawrence, Kan. (Oct. 19, 2021) – Fifty years after creating the first certification program to give golf course superintendents validation for their education and experience, the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) has recently modernized the Certified Golf Course Superintendent (CGCS) program to keep the high standards intact while reducing the amount of time necessary to complete the program.

The integrity of the program, which has been developed by members, academia and industry with psychometricians, remains while the process itself has been streamlined. The required superintendent competencies for a Certified Golf Course Superintendent have been updated, as well as the exam. Care has been taken to ensure competencies previously tested through the portfolio requirement are now effectively evaluated through either the written exam or attesting process. A new attesting rubric will provide enhanced consistency in grading. Eligible candidates can now complete the current steps (communication and leadership requirements, attesting of the golf course and the online exam) in any order that best fits their schedules. In addition, those who successfully complete GCSAA’s Assistant Superintendent Certificate Series (ASCS) Principles of Golf Course Leadership and Communications certificate can now apply that work toward obtaining their CGCS designation later in their careers.

“CGCS has been widely recognized as the pinnacle designation in the industry for half of a century,” GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans said. “It seems fitting that in the year we celebrate the program’s 50th anniversary that we also launch its latest iteration, which recognizes the time commitment challenges that so many superintendents are facing today. We are continually looking for ways to improve the program and increase its value to our members, their facilities and the game of golf.”

GCSAA’s certification program began in June 1971 as a way to acknowledge those who advanced their knowledge base through continuing education. Since the program started, 3,348 superintendents have earned the CGCS designation. Once certified, superintendents must renew their certification every five years. GCSAA Past President Palmer Maples Jr., CGCS, of Kansas City, Mo., and Charles Baskin, CGCS, of Ponce Inlet, Fla., are the longest-tenured living certified superintendents, having both first earned certification in the program’s inaugural year.    

To be eligible for beginning the certification program, an individual must either be a current GCSAA Class A member or meet those same requirements, and complete the application form. Once the application has been approved, the individual then has one year to complete all steps of the certification process.

For more information about the GCSAA’s CGCS program, visit www.gcsaa.org/cgcs.