Great Lakes

Shane Conroy Head Shot

Shane Conroy

Great Lakes regional representative

A former assistant golf course superintendent, Shane joined the GCSAA staff in 2015. He resides in Chicago, Ill.
Tel: 800.472.7878, ext. 3635

Field staff report


by Shane Conroy | Feb 29, 2024

The Northern Ohio GCSA officially wrapped up its centennial year celebration at the 2024 GCSAA Conference and Tradeshow (CTS) earlier this month. Founded in 1923 at Youngstown Country Club, then superintendent Col. John Morley led a group of superintendents in the area and formed what was then called the Cleveland District Greenkeepers Association, which was is original chapter of superintendents in the country.

1998 NOGCSA president and 49-year retired GCSAA member Bill Prest said “It all started with us. We are the first local superintendent association in the country. We were innovators. How could you not be proud of being from where it all started?”

From where it all started, it has certainly grown. From that small group who gathered in May of 1923 to form the NOGCSA, it now features hundreds of members who attend events throughout the year.

NOGCSA president in 2022, John Pustai says “What he (Morley) did to start all of this was quite an undertaking. The amount of time Morley put into getting this thing (NOGCSA) off the ground, and the national (GCSAA), the travel he did, could not be easy. Back then, you couldn’t hop on a plane and be in Chicago in 45 minutes. He traveled to New York, Pennsylvania, Indiana … all of it to get people on board.”

John even worked at the same facility as Morley, Bass Lake Resort, later known as Chardon Lakes Golf Course in Chardon, Ohio.

The association Morley help establish has created a sense of pride with the members who are a part of it over 100 years later.

“I think he’d be happy. Proud. His goal was to get everybody on the same page and help each other.” Says NOGCSA past president Mark Figurella, 28-year GCSAA member.

Past GCSAA president Mark Jordan, CGCS adds “It wasn’t about him. It was about others, improving others, and be the best we can. It’s cool to be part of the lineage.”

Jordan adds “I think he’d be proud, not only of Northern Ohio, but for all of us. That model he created is a long-term model, a brotherhood and sisterhood, for all of us.”

The yearlong celebration really kicked off at the 2023 CTS where the NOGCSA donated a Col. John Morley portrait to GCSAA. The portrait was presented by NOGCSA members to the GCSAA board and CEO Rhett Evans. Four more events followed throughout the year, which included the Centennial Gala Celebration at Westwood Country Club which was hosted by 43-year Class A member David Webner and where Rhett Evans served as keynote speaker.

What a great place to be recognized one more time, as the chapter was awarded a commemorative centennial plaque by GCSAA at the 2024 GCSAA CTS in Phoenix, Ariz. NOGCSA members were invited to take part in the celebration and gathered as the plaque was accepted on behalf of the entire NOGCSA membership by past president Mark Figurella.

Once again, congratulations to the entire NOGCSA membership on being the first chapter to achieve this great accomplishment. I look forward to the next century.  

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