Leaders From Environmental and Golf Communities to Convene

Nearly 50 individuals representing environmental and golf interests will gather in Lawrence, Kan., July 29-31, to participate in a strategic planning session for The Environmental Institute for Golf (EIFG), formerly The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) Foundation.

The exercise is designed to bring together individuals to identify and discuss topical areas of focus that should be addressed by The Institute in the future. The desired outcomes of the session are to:

* Identify the broad issues that intersect the environment with golf
* Determine how to best frame and address environmental issues surrounding golf
* Develop an initial set of creative ideas for action
* Develop an ongoing method of communication and interaction with this group, as well as broader groups of stakeholders
* Define the collaborative process and prioritize next logical steps for The Institute

Jeffrey Cufaude, founding partner of Idea Architects based in Indianapolis, Ind., will serve as the facilitator for the activities to be hosted at GCSAA headquarters. Registrants submitted in advance their ideas outlining the important issues that should be discussed and their purported vision for The Institute.

"From the onset, we have said The Institute will be a collaborative effort focusing on education, research, information collection and outreach," said Joe Black, retired president of Western Golf Properties and chair of The Institute board of trustees. "This is not a one and done exercise. It is the start of a process that will ultimately establish the direction The Institute will take."

Black noted, however, that much has already been accomplished through the collaboration of the environmental and golf communities. He offered the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary for Golf Courses Program, the Michigan Turfgrass Environmental Stewardship Program, the Golf and the Environment Initiative facilitated by the Center for Resource Management and research programs supported by the USGA and GCSAA.

"I don't know of many industries that have been as proactive as golf has been in ensuring that its practices are compatible with the environment," Black said. "We will harness that momentum and address the subjects that emanate from the planning session. Ultimately we hope to see behavioral change through the development and implementation of best management practices."

Among those attending will be officials from Great White Shark Enterprises, a multi-national corporation headed by PGA Tour professional Greg Norman primarily focused around golf and the golf lifestyle. Norman is a trustee with The Institute and will chair its advisory council. In addition, representatives from the United States Golf Association, the Environmental Protection Agency, golf course superintendents, golf course architects, Center for Resource Management, Audubon International, Committed to Green Foundation and Arbor Day Foundation.

"This is a talented, diverse and committed group of individuals," Black said. "I am confident that we will engage in a well-thought out and comprehensive discussion."

Black also indicated that outcomes of the session would be shared with the public shortly after its completion.

The Environmental Institute for Golf, the philanthropic arm of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA), is a collaborative effort of the environmental and golf communities, dedicated to strengthening the compatibility of golf with the natural environment. In January 2003, The Institute evolved from The GCSAA Foundation, originally established in 1955, with a new name, mission and focus. The Institute concentrates on delivering programs and services involving information collection, research, education and outreach that communicate the best management practices of environmental stewardship on the golf course. Visit www.gcsaa.org/about/foundation/foundation.asp for more information about The Institute.

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