Founder of Eco
Turf Consulting peddles nearly 3,400 miles over 51 days
Eco Turf Consulting Founder Ken Benoit, CGCS, recently
completed a journey across America on bicycle to promote the development and
adoption of BMPs.
A 26-year member of GCSAA, Benoit resides in Bedford, NY.
and served over two decades as a golf course superintendent including a stint
as President of the Metropolitan GCSA. His firm, Econ Turf Consulting, specializes in
the implementation of BMPs, assisting golf facilities in developing a
customized approach to course management and maintenance.
Benoit began his journey August 14 in Greenwich, Conn. and
peddled his way across America arriving at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Bandon,
OR. on October 3. The journey
encompassed 51 days (36 days of actual riding) with Benoit riding 3,397
Benoit’s love of cycling, golf and the environment, along
with GCSAA’s goal of having BMPS in 50 states by the end of 2020 led him to
using a bike trip as a platform to promote BMPs. Benoit has served as a
consultant on BMPs for 14 individual states.
“I named my tour the “Connect To Protect Tour” as a nod to
connecting with superintendents in a way which would hopefully inform of the
importance of BMPs and their relationship to protecting the environment,
particularly as it relates to water conservation and quality, pollinator and
wildlife habitat,” said Benoit.
Benoit took a northern route through 13 states, stopping
along the way at 14 golf facilities to consult and assist with their BMPs:
Fairview Country Club – Greenwich, CT.
Bedford Golf & Tennis Club- Bedford, NY.
Centre Hills Country Club – State College, PA.
Muirfield Village Golf Club – Dublin, OH.
Brickyard Crossing – Indianapolis, IN.
Mt. Hawley Country Club – Peoria, IL.
Finkbine Golf Club – Iowa City, IA.
The Prairie Club – Valentine, NE.
Fossil Island Golf Club – Kemmerer, WY.
Hillcrest Country Club- Boise, ID.
Silvies Valley Ranch- Seneca, OR.
Sunset Bay Golf Club- Coos Bay, OR.
Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, Bandon, OR.
In addition to meeting with superintendents, some of
Benoit’s favorite memories of the trip included crossing the Continental
Divide, seeing the Tetons for the first time, spending a night in a teepee on
the North Platte River and having the chance to meet up with his sisters in
Columbus, OH. and Coos Bay, OR.
Benoit’s journey was both mentally and physically
demanding. “Each day of riding presents
mental challenges,” said Benoit. “Riding 100
miles per day was challenging mentally but also motivating in another sense.Before the
start of my tour, I stated my intention to average 100 miles per day and was
determined to keep to that goal. Throughout the ride I had moments when I
wanted to stop short of 100 miles but it was personally important for me to
stick to that goal, which served as a major source of motivation to keep
pedaling on days when I had a strong desire to stop short.”
“I faced many small and not so small physical challenges
along the way,” said Benoit. “Saddle
sores, a head cold, nerve damage to my hands from the pressure point on the
handlebars and most critically, an Achilles issue that I thought could end or
at least delay my trip.”
“The most important lesson I learned
was really a reminder of what we all know but often lose sight of…it’s
important to put effort into the things which we feel are important,” stated
Benoit. “I realized that, anything
important in my life, requires a connection in order to protect it.”
As we approach the end of a very difficult year for most of us,
Ken’s journey across the country served as an inspiration for me and many other
GCSAA members during a very turbulent time.
“When I embarked on my tour I was feeling down about where we were
at as a country. It seemed obvious to me that we were deeply divided, and
not in a way which allowed for acceptance of personal expression, but in a way
that seemed closed minded and harmful,” said Benoit. “What I discovered
while riding across the country and making myself open to having conversation
with the people I ran into, is that the United States is a pure representation
of its people. Meaning there is good and bad in all of us just like there
is good and bad throughout the country. But, after spending a lot of time
speaking with fellow Americans across the country I discovered, overwhelmingly,
that the vast majority of Americans are good and caring people who want what’s
best for the country.”
Thanks to Ken for sharing some insights on his amazing journey and
l hope it serves as some inspiration as we lead into what is sure to be a
better and brighter 2021.