The First Green
program has been with GCSAA for a few years now. It was slow to gain traction in Southeast region with only a handful of field trips over that time period. It looked like 2020 would be a banner year in the region for field trips and then along came the pandemic. I'm happy to report that things are picking up in my region. We had three field trips in just 30 days between May 22 and June 19 this year. Each of the three events was in a different state with events in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, as well. I hope to see that trend continue into the second half of 2021 and into 2022.
Getting started is easier than you probably think. Just commit to the idea of hosting a field trip and let Leann Cooper or myself know about your interest. We'll help put all the pieces together with you from there. We are seeing more field trips from groups other than schools now and that opens up many more options for you to consider. First Tee groups, Girl and Boy Scout groups, children's camps, as well as schools are all options. We now have class lessons suitable for 5th grade students all the way up to high school seniors, so don't let the age of the children be a hurdle. In fact, two of my most recent field trips had students from 8 years old to 16 years old. We can cater our lesson plans to each age group within the attendees.
We like to get the staff members at your facility involved as well. Equipment managers, assistant superintendents and other staff make excellent lab instructors, as we've seen over the years. The events are fun to be a part of and go a long way in telling our story to a community. The children generally ask plenty of good questions and are curious to know about golf and our profession. You will also get good questions and feedback from the teachers, parents, and other invited guests at each field trip. It's always rewarding to have a teacher come up to you at the end of an event and say, "I had no idea you did all of this on a golf course". That is the moment you realize the power of the program!
I would like to say thank you to the following members who have helped with the past three events in my region. First, at Sunset Hills Golf Course in Charlotte thanks go out to Mike Pilo and Dan Ellis for all of their help. Next, thanks go out to Don Garrett, CGCS, his wife Cathy and daughter Mary Kate at the Walker Course in Clemson for all of their help. Finally, thanks go out to superintendent Russ Miller at Sugar Creek Golf Course in Atlanta and GCSAA Board Member Paul Carter, CGCS, for doing an excellent job teaching their labs.
Give it a try, I think you'll be happy you did!