Efforts to retain state control of pesticide regulations in Colorado recognized as award-worthy industry advocacy
Lawrence, Kan. (Jan. 2, 2024) – Mitchell Savage, CGCS, golf course superintendent at CommonGround Golf Course in Aurora, Colo., has earned the 2024 Excellence in Government Affairs Award from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA). Savage is being honored for his consistent advocacy efforts on numerous issues in the state of Colorado, working alongside the Colorado Golf Coalition, which consists of the Rocky Mountain GCSA, Colorado Golf Association, Colorado Section of the PGA and Mile-High Chapter of the Club Management Association of America.
The Excellence in Government Affairs Award recognizes a chapter, superintendent or coalition for outstanding advocacy or compliance efforts in government affairs. Savage will be formally honored Feb. 1 during the Government Affairs Session at the 2024 GCSAA Conference and Trade Show in Phoenix.
Savage, a 21-year GCSAA member who served on the Rocky Mountain GCSA board and previously led its government affairs committee, continues to work closely with the Colorado Golf Coalition and has been instrumental in the push to maintain uniform state-wide pesticide regulations in Colorado.
This award recognizes Savage’s proactive approach in advocating for state control of pesticide regulations and for being an influential voice in the Colorado golf industry. Having testified numerous times before state legislative committees in Denver, he always shows up fully prepared with a succinct message and several examples that support his efforts on behalf of the Colorado golf industry.
“I am incredibly honored that my peers from Rocky Mountain GCSA thought that my efforts on behalf of our association and coalition were worthy of a nomination for this award,” Savage, said. “Winning this award reaffirms that the work we are doing in the state of Colorado with our golf coalition is making a difference and hopefully serving as a model for others to follow in advocacy efforts around the country.”
A 2019 winner of GCSAA’s Grassroots Ambassador Leadership Award, Savage is paired with Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-CO) as part of the Grassroots Ambassador Program, which he joined in 2016. In his work as a Grassroots Ambassador, Savage crossed paths with Lisa Blecker, a Colorado State University faculty member who regularly hosts Pesticide Regulatory Education Program compliance and enforcement management courses for pesticide regulators. At Blecker’s request, Savage recently hosted a field trip for her class at CommonGround.
Nearly 50 state and federal pesticide compliance officers in Blecker’s course attended the three-hour golf course visit in August 2023. During the visit, Savage explained the importance of his focus on environmental stewardship and discussed his approach to managing the course at CommonGround, which sits on a piece of land that resides in two different cities under different jurisdictions.
While the local regulation of pesticides is currently preempted by state law in Colorado – similar to more than 40 states across the country – there has been numerous attempts in recent years to eliminate those laws, thereby causing a patchwork of differing regulations across the state. Whenever the issue comes up, Savage will continue his efforts to defend the golf industry.
“Our profession is doing some amazing things with advocacy, and I am excited and honored to be a part of the industry-wide efforts,” Savage said. “There will never be too many people on the team, and there is always a need for more individuals to answer the bell and stand up and advocate for the golf course management profession.”
To learn more about the Excellence in Government Affairs Award, visit www.gcsaa.org/awards.