Thursday, May 05, 2011

The goodness that is Golf Day (3 of 3)

National Golf Day 2011 Report
Part 3 (of 3)
By Tim Connolly, assistant superintendent, TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm

Lobenstine joined two other Maryland superintendents in the foyer of the Rayburn House Building to help tell their story as stewards of their land and leaders in their industry. Mike Barrett, CGCS of Argyle Country Club and Teddy Blauvelt of Hampshire Greens Golf Course took a short ride in on the DC Metro to be with Lobenstine. All three work within 20 miles of downtown Washington in a part of the country that’s treaded water through the recession. All are heavily involved as board members in their GCSAA Chapter, the Mid-Atlantic Association of Golf Course Superintendents.

Blauvelt, the Education Chair for MAAGCS, manages a course with many naturalized areas which he uses as opportunities to reach out to the community. He invites scout troops out to the course to help monitor wildlife throughout the season. “They love it and even if their parents aren’t into golf, they’ll start to understand more about it.” Staying positive despite hearing so many misconceptions about golf is part of Blauvelt’s credo. “We just have to be active and I don’t want to say confrontational. We have to be responsive to the people who are putting these bills in place, and that’s what we’re doing here today.”

Mike Barrett, CGCS, has been the superintendent at the 147-acre Argyle CC for 15 years and is the Media/Public Relations Chair for MAAGCS. He’s currently working on a comprehensive recycling initiative at the club and has started the challenging process of achieving certification through Audubon International. For Barrett, We Are Golf’s mission to put a face on the game is a key point. “I tell people that the survival and success of Argyle Country Club is paramount to me. It’s how I make my living, how I support my family. I have 15 guys. That’s how they support their families. It’s how we pay our mortgage payments, it’s how we pay our healthcare costs. People lose sight of just how important golf is and how many families, not just on the golf course, inside from the kitchen staff, the accounting staff, the pro shop staff, the directors. It creates jobs.”

As Rhett Evans looked over the noisy crowd that gathered in the light-filled foyer of the Rayburn Building, he suggested that our outreach doesn’t stop here, just blocks from the White House. “When you look at politics, it’s really local. There needs to be a grass roots effort that’s compatible on all levels, so that when we come in with a unified message of what golf is, it carries a lot more weight. So if the states and the local groups could get together, and form their own “State Golf Day” and march onto their state capitals and basically take this same message to their lawmakers, just think what that would do to spread the word even that much faster. And that can be done. It just takes some folks who are motivated to pull the right people together to make that happen.”

Folks like the group of superintendents who served their profession in the nation’s capital on National Golf Day.

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