A modest $200 scholarship awarded to a promising young turfgrass student in 1955 has evolved over the past 50 years into a collaborative effort of the environmental and golf communities, dedicated to strengthening the compatibility of the game of golf with the natural environment.
That organization, The Environmental Institute for Golf, the philanthropic organization of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA), celebrated its 50th anniversary earlier this month.
The Institute started as the GCSAA Scholarship and Research Fund in 1955 to provide scholarships for turfgrass students, and fund research projects to improve playing conditions. Fifty years later, the Institute funds more than $1 million annually in environmental programs, including scientific research, education, information collection, outreach and scholarships. It is the support of many individuals, organizations and corporations that has allowed the Institute to fund programs and projects, resulting in well-managed golf courses that enhance the environmental, recreational and economic needs of their communities.
Whether it was the work of the GCSAA Scholarship and Research Fund (1955 – 1994), The GCSAA Foundation (1995 – 2002) or the current work of The Environmental Institute for Golf, innovation and advancement have guided the organization to help provide solutions for managing golf facilities.
In the past two years, more than 100 volunteers representing a myriad of environmental, regulatory and golf organizations have invested their energy and expertise in developing a roadmap for The Institute. These participants have helped identify the most important environmental issues facing the golf industry. They are:
- Water Management
- Integrated Plant Management
- Wildlife and Habitat Management
- Golf Course Location, Design and Construction
- Energy and Waste Management
It is within these five areas of focus that The Institute is directing funding from donors to support programs that provide essential solutions:
A new Web-based tool, the EDGE, is designed to provide information related to golf and the environment. It is intended for use by a variety of audiences, including superintendents, environmentalists, regulators, golf course owners, golfers and non-golfers who seek information on environmental issues related to golf facilities. The first phase of development includes existing best management practices for the five areas of focus. Future development of this tool will include the addition of case studies, success stories, research and education related to the five areas of focus. EDGE was made possible in part through a partnership grant with The Toro Foundation.
For more information about The Institute, please visit www.eifg.org