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David Phipps

Northwest regional representative

A former superintendent, David spent more than 20 years in the golf course management industry before joining the GCSAA staff. He resides in Oregon City, Ore.
Tel. 800-472-7878, ext. 3608.

Field staff report

Downsizing your First Green field trip

by Dave Phipps | Dec 09, 2020

Referring to my previous blog post on hosting a First Green event during this pandemic, we must get creative on how to host a field trip while keeping safe distancing in place. My last blog described how to use technology by recording your learning lab from your computer then delivering it through the schools remote learning platform. In this blog, I would like to highlight a couple First Green events that took place “in person” here in the Northwest. 

In October, I met with Jeff Gullickson, CGCS at Kalispell Golf & Country Club in Spokane, Wash. We were originally going to video Jeff doing a learning lab without the presence of students. He took it a step further and coordinated a downsized event with a local school that had previously participated in First Green field trips.

Social distancing First Green

To reduce the exposure, there were only two learning labs, one was taught by himself and the other was taught by the teacher, who also works as Jeff’s horticulturist during the summer. The golfing activity was not included this time around. Masks were required at all times by all of the individuals as well as cleaning stations for frequent hand sanitizing. Two labs were taught and the field trip was completed in 30 minutes.


The other First Green event was hosted by Kyle Watt of Awbrey Glen Golf Club in Bend, Ore. Kyle took my idea of the learning pod and combined it with their clubs Junior Explorer Series program. Kyle had just five kids attend but as you can see from the photo, it was pretty easy to maintain distancing.  

Kyle 1

Kyle had a full agenda which started with the history of the golf club as well as a facility tour. He explained the different features of the property that his crew maintains then pointed out all of the wildlife that inhabits the golf course. He then covered the science that goes into maintaining the grass and talked about the necessary nutrients required for healthy grass. Using a soil probe and a hole cutter, he could demonstrate right in front of the kids what a soil profile was, and how water moved through it. Irrigation was a topic as well as the types of mowers that were used.

Kyle 2

As you can see, Kyle was able to pack a lot of information in a pretty short period. This was Kyle’s first, First Green event and was the perfect way to get his feet wet. He’s now looking forward to hosting another event this spring!

We can make these field trips as simple or complex as we feel comfortable. The common line here is that the kids had a blast and were able to come out to the golf course. I’ll be looking forward to assisting Kyle on some more field trips in the near future!



  • Mitchell Bryden, Class AS, Berthoud
  • Mark Cypress, Class EM, Aurora
  • Jared Dillinger, Class C, Evergreen
  • Michael Ewert, Class AFCR, Greenwood Village
  • Mitchell D Reifschneider, Class AS, Berthoud


  • Abe M Coulsey, Class C, Mountain Home


  • Jesse D Cummings, Class AS, Kamas
  • Andrew J Dunlop, Class C, Hurricane
  • Devon J Purser, Class C, Hill Afb
  • Brad Sparks, Class AF, Pleasant Grove
  • Jeff B Tracy, Class B, Ogden


  • Charles F Schauwecker, Class C, Sammamish
  • Tristan L Sowa, Class EM, Redmond


  • James J Burnside, Class EM, Jackson


  • Adam Conway, formerly (I), is now (A) at Cedaredge Golf Club in Cedaredge
  • Jason L Hinkley, formerly (B) at Heritage Eagle Bend Golf Club, is now (AF) at CPS Distributors, Inc in Denver
  • Lance Lauer, formerly (C) at Country Club at Castle Pines, is now (C) at Cherry Creek Country Club in Denver
  • Daniel G Robbins, formerly (C) at Hiwan Golf Club, is now (C) at TPC Colorado in Berthoud


  • Daniel M Frederiksen, formerly (C) at Stoneridge Golf Club, is now (C) at The Golf Club at Black Rock in Coeur D Alene
  • Christopher D Gray, formerly (A) at Elkhorn Golf Club, is now (A) at Magic Valley Bentgrass in Filer


  • Conner J Olsen, formerly (S) at Oregon State University, is now (S) at Oswego Lake Country Club in Lake Oswego
  • Corey J Underhill, formerly (C) at Palos Verdes Golf Club, is now (C) at Sunriver Resort-Meadows Course in Bend


  • Raymond H McCormick, formerly (S) at Washington State University, is now (AS) at Broadmoor Golf Club in Seattle
  • Donald B Nelson, formerly (C) at Indian Canyon Golf Course, is now (B) at Esmeralda Golf Course in Spokane
  • Dean A Owen, formerly (EM) at Inglewood Golf Club, is now (EM) at The Cedars at Dungeness in Sequim
  • Manuel J Torres, formerly (B) at Three Lakes Golf Club, is now (C) at Club at Snoqualmie Ridge in Snoqualmie

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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