Mid-Atlantic and Eastern Shore chapters lead the development of statewide best management practices with grants from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America
Lawrence, Kan. (June 6, 2017) – Valuable collaborative effort by members of the Mid-Atlantic Association of Golf Course Superintendents and the Eastern Shore Association of Golf Course Superintendents will soon pay off with the August 2017 publication of best management practices (BMPs) for Maryland golf courses.
The two associations each received $7,500 BMP grants and were among the nine chapters that received grants totaling $67,000 from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) and funded through the EIFG in part by the PGA Tour and the USGA. GCSAA’s goal is to have all 50 states offer established BMPs by 2020.
Chris Harriman, MAAGCS past president, says the chapter’s board decided about three years ago to apply for the first available BMP grant from GCSAA.
“Virginia had just completed its BMPs, so we knew it was going to be our next project,” said the 18-year GCSAA member and superintendent at Cattail Creek Country Club in Glenwood, Md. “The BMP initiative was obviously a good idea, especially when considering that a few Maryland counties have looked at banning pesticides. We’ve already worked hard to keep golf courses exempt and communicate the benefits of the green spaces we manage, so the BMPs would further endorse that.”
Once the grants were awarded, the process kicked off with a committee consisting of two professors from University of Maryland, Joseph Roberts and Tom Turner, and an experienced group of Maryland superintendents: Harriman; Tom Tipton, 12-year GCSAA member at Prospect Bay Country Club in Queen Anne; Dean Graves, CGCS, 37-year GCSAA member at Chevy Chase Club in Darnestown; and Jon Lobenstine, director of agronomy at Montgomery County Golf in Mount Airy and an 18-year member. The Eastern Shore chapter soon came on board and collaborated throughout the process.
“The end result is Maryland BMPs from both associations working together,” said Harriman. “We also gained support and contributions from the Maryland State Golf Association, the Mid-Atlantic PGA and the Maryland Association of Golf Course Owners.”
He says it initially took about six months to create state BMPs, and following the launch of GCSAA’s easy-to-use BMP Planning Guide and Template in early 2017, it took only two months to incorporate the BMPs and Maryland laws and specifications into the national template.
The Maryland chapters worked with Stacey Kingsbury, project coordinator for Virginia and New York BMPs, to lead them through the process and transfer all the information to an interactive website for review. Members plan to review the BMPs each winter and make adjustments as needed.
Harriman advises his busy colleagues in other states to hire a project manager to coordinate efforts in an accurate and timely manner. He also reminds them to stay diligent with timelines and to start gathering as many pictures as possible. Most importantly, he recommends chapters take advantage of GCSAA support and resources.
“The grants really paid for the entire process,” he said. “It made our decision easy to execute the project, and we could not ignore that the help was out there.”
GCSAA’s BMP Planning Guide and Template is available online at gcsaa.org and is funded and supported by the U.S. Golf Association (USGA). The BMP grant program provides funding through the EIFG to chapters for developing new guides, updating existing guides or for verification programs.