central plains

Randy Robinson 80x60

Randy Robinson

Central Plains regional representative

Robinson joined the GCSAA staff following six years as executive director of the Iowa Turfgrass Institute. From 2006 to 2015, he was the golf course superintendent at Ballard Golf and Country Club in Huxley, Iowa. He resides in Huxley.
Tel. 800-472-7878, ext. 3605


Field staff report

A First Green Field Trip — Consider Hosting at Your Facility!

by Steve Randall | May 11, 2018
Steve Randall Attends a First Green Field Trip

This week, I experienced my first First Green field trip. The event was held at Palos Verdes Golf Club, just south of Los Angeles in Orange Country.

For those unfamiliar, the First Green is a program bringing STEM learning (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) to the golf course. At Palos Verdes, the class included third graders from a nearby school, however the program is not limited to a certain age or grade. The effort is to get kids on the golf course to learn about how environmentally conscious efforts of golf course superintendents, to enjoy the wildlife and habitat golf courses provide, to have some fun and learn away from the classroom, and to introduce new generations to golf.

During this event, three learning lab stations were held. One focused on the putting green. Green speeds were calculated using a stimpmeter. A roller was then used and green speeds calculated again. The difference was eye-opening for both the students and chaperones! Students also took their own soil samples and had a chance to putt on the putting green.

First Green Field Trip

Another lab focused on identifying native plants and flowers, defining the difference between a male and female pine cone and planting a Shrek's Ear plant, their own "succulent".

The final lab included viewing newborn ducks in a pond and observing recently-born Western Bluebirds. The club has 12 bluebird houses at the facility. These have been instrumental in building Western Bluebird populations, as other bird species have pushed bluebirds away.

The event was hosted by Pat Gradoville, CGCS. This was the fourth year of the event.  

July 31, GCSAA will assume responsibilities of operating the First Green program. This week a transition meeting was held at headquarters to ensure the program will be successfully transferred from First Green to GCSAA.  

As an organization, we are excited to continue to build on the success of the First Green and look for innovative ways to move everything forward. While this blog is not an exhaustive piece on how to run a field trip, it is designed to give you a taste of what it could be.  

Just think, you could make a difference in a kid's life by inviting a class to visit your golf course and educate them on what makes your facility a learning lab.  At the same time,  we can introduce kids to the superintendent profession and show golf courses are environmentally friendly and necessary.

Please reach out if you have an interest in hosting.  We hope you are having a great season!

Upcoming events

Upcoming events in the region. This is not necessarily a comprehensive list. If you have an addition to make, please reach out.

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This region includes Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska and South Dakota.