News & Articles

  • 08 Apr 2021 6:40 AM | John MacKenzie

    A letter to the MGCSA BOD from Dr. Frank Plachecki  Interim Dean, Academic Affairs:

    Dear Minnesota Golf Course Superintendents Association,

    As you would imagine, Covid has caused great damage to our college.  Enrollments are down significantly, and the budget is in bad shape.  We are working an aggressive strategy to return to financial sustainability.

    Enrollments for the Turf program, and other programs as well, have been low for several years running.  Our leadership team, in partnership with the budget committee, has made recommendations to suspend ( put on pause ) these programs until we have the funds to properly invest in them.

    Turf is one of these targeted programs.

    Current students will finish, and students who are near finishing from previous years will receive the opportunity to finish. 

    Marlin and Travis are re-designing the program to include an on-line component to boost enrollments.  And of course any ideas you might have are always needed.

    Thank you for your leadership and support of our college.

  • 07 Feb 2021 6:43 AM | John MacKenzie

    “We have a Bill.”  Following a decade of promoting irrigation assurances in exchange for enhanced efficiency, conservation and drought management planning, both the House and Senate have bills moving to committee and, hopefully, onto the floor for passage.  The MGCSA needs your help to move the Bills into Law.

    The two Bills, SF228 and HF 629, have similar language: redefining the (6) sixth priority, irrigating golf courses that implement best management practices as part of a commissioner-approved plan for conserving water and using water efficiently; and creating a (7) seventh priority, nonessential uses.  Furthermore, if the governor declares a water emergency: (b) The restrictions must limit lawn sprinkling, vehicle washing, golf course and park irrigation, and other nonessential uses, and have appropriate penalties for failure to comply with the restrictions.  Underlined verbiage denotes the change in law and crossed out, eliminates the passage.  Golf courses are currently considered “nonessential" water users.

    Both Bills have been passed to Committee for review.  Your immediate support is critical.  The first hearing is next Tuesday in both the House and Senate.

    It means: if made into Law, the DNR Commissioner must create a format that provides irrigation water assurances to golf courses that follow and implement DNR guidelines for irrigation efficiency, water conservation and drought management planning in exchange for access to limited irrigation water during times of drought.  It isn’t a mandate and only participating courses will have assurances.  Non-participating courses would fall into the non-essential category and run the risk of having their permit suspended completely, disrupting the courses business model.  Furthermore, the Bill removes golf courses from the restriction list should the governor declare an emergency. 

    Now, more than ever, if you want to create a pathway for irrigation water assurances, you need to become an active advocate.  The MGCSA is making it easy to do.  

    The Capitol Campus is closed for in-person business. In order to get the message to your specific representatives and senators, the MGCSA has created a resource page on the Member’s Only website page explaining where you can download a message to share via email requesting support.  Please log in and look at all the materials available on the Member’s Only Resource page.  The template can be modified based on your relationship with your legislator.  The site also contains all of the MGCSA BMP Packets.  Links to these materials will be embedded in the suggested email letter of request for their edification.  

    Over a decade ago, the MGCSA began the process of protecting access to irrigation water on golf courses.  In the process several Best Management Practice manuals were created with support and recognition from the GCSAA, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, the University of Minnesota, the Board of Water and Soil Resources and the Legislative Subcommittee on Minnesota Water Policy.  The MGCSA has attended countless hearings and provided testimony multiple times on behalf of environmental stewardship and irrigation efficiency on the golf course.  For five years the MGCSA has led the Minnesota Golf Industry through hosting an annual Day on The Hill legislative “meet and greet” opportunity that has been attended by many of our members.  Together, our hard work is paying off.

    The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is taking our efforts seriously and have submitted to all golf courses with water appropriation permits a survey detailing conservation and efficiency efforts.  This may be the backbone of the program created through legislative mandate.  If you haven’t done so yet please complete the DNR survey that was delivered with your annual permit paperwork.

    With three months left in the 2021 legislative session we need to move quickly.  Please utilize the templates and materials available on the MGCSA.org website Member’s Only page.  Please call you legislator if you know them personally.  Please pursue a snail-mail campaign by mailing your legislator a professional letter requesting support.  Please take that phone call from your representative or senator and discuss your concerns regarding water stewardship.

    This initiative may take time to attain passage into law and implementation.  Be persistent, be consistent and be an advocate in protecting your livelihood.

    Thank You,

    Scott Thayer

    President MGCSA

  • 07 Feb 2021 6:12 AM | John MacKenzie

    In January of 2021 the Minnesota Golf Course Superintendent Association conducted a survey of 241 Class A, B and Facility members requested compensation information.  Over a three week period 132 responses were tabulated.  Here are the results:

    2021 MGCSA Compensation Survey.pdf

  • 26 Jan 2021 2:42 PM | John MacKenzie

    We Are Proud to announce that we are teaming up with the MGCSA at the highest level with the Platinum Sponsorship.

    Like the joy of sinking a 30-foot putt, SiteOne Landscaping Supply® is very excited to announce its partnership with the Minnesota Golf Course Superintendents Association (MGCSA) for the 2021 season.

    “The entire SiteOne Golf Team is excited about this partnership,” said Craig Hendrickson, pitured on the left, Outside Sales with SiteOne. “It’s important to support the association and its members. MGCSA take golf course maintenance to the next level and we’re glad to be a resource to help membership and the development it provides.”

    SiteOne knows the challenges Minnesota Golf Course Superintendents face and works to treat each course uniquely with decades of golf industry experience. To show their sincerity to the effort, SiteOne upped its game.

    “We wanted to convey to the MCGSA how deep our commitment to this partnership runs,” said Brandon Young, pictured to the right, Outside Sales with SiteOne. “We secured a Platinum sponsorship with MCGSA. To be at this echelon is not only an honor for our company, but it allows us to partner with MGCSA at the highest level.” Additionally, SiteOne formed an association with Hedberg, a company well-known in Minnesota for landscaping and masonry excellence.

    “We are already building plans that match the things SiteOne offers to places they will do the greatest good,” said SiteOne Branch Manager Will Riedel, on left. “For instance, we are very excited to be there to assist the MGCSA when they sponsor educational events, golf events, provide financial and product support to the University of Minnesota research facility and all the other avenues that work to get the MGCSA members together.” SiteOne knows the importance of the U of MN Research Facility and what a great asset it is to the MGCSA Golf Superintendents.

    SiteOne is no beginner in the golf industry game. Their Golf Team has partnered with over twenty top golf brands to provide the products needed across the irrigation, lighting, outdoor living and hardscape, turf maintenance, landscape supply, nursery, tools, and equipment and accessories categories. What SiteOne has in its bag proves they know the challenges golf course maintenance faces.

    Andrew Carnegie once said, “Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. It is the fuel that allows common people to obtain uncommon results.” There is nothing common about the MCGSA nor the excitement SiteOne feels now that they are part of the team. This pairing between the name of the MGCSA and the resources of SiteOne, promises results far from ordinary.

  • 13 Jan 2021 2:29 PM | John MacKenzie

    The PLAYERS Championship Volunteer Opportunity

    As with everything in the world, COVID has also drastically altered the number of volunteers available to support the Players Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.  The typical number of volunteers that the PLAYERS Championship has been decimated due to international travel restrictions. I am looking to put together a group of industry volunteers to assist in tournament needs.  Obviously, another plus is missing out of the cold and snow of early March in Minnesota! 

    An invitation from Kevin Malloy, Superintendent at Austin Country Club, Austin, MN.

    Time of commitment: 11 days. Leave Minnesota March 5th and arrive back Monday, March 15th.


    -Depart for Ponte Vedra Beach via van on Friday March 5th around noon from the metro area, Minnesota and arrive around midday on Saturday March 6th

    -Room (single room accommodations!) and Board provided once we arrive in Florida

    -Two shifts per day (morning and afternoon) Sunday March 7th through Sunday March 14th.

    -Great opportunity to meet nationwide industry people, and experience golf at a major championship level

    -Following completion of Sunday morning shift, we will depart back to Minnesota and be home by Monday morning

    -Money for Van rental/gas is the only cost which will be under $200

    -Limited spots available so don’t wait!!

    For more information visit this link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeaVhIJnezRN2IU4OwVCj9sSL46b6ZzpDqRHWzOwrRgNQwDAw/viewform?gxids=7628

    Or contact Kevin Malloy at kjmalloy@austincountryclub.net

  • 04 Jan 2021 9:03 AM | John MacKenzie

    By Warren Ryan, MGA

    EDINA, Minn. (Dec. 31, 2020) – On behalf of its allied golf associations and its member golf clubs across the state, the Minnesota Golf Association recently conducted a bench-marking facility rounds study to validate the increase in golf participation attributed to COVID-19 and restrictions on other forms of outdoor recreational activities in place for much of 2020.

    Golf facilities in Minnesota reported that rounds were up an average of 29.7 percent.

    The MGA surveyed 358 golf facilities around the state, with 89 facilities reporting rounds over the last three years in the following categories: municipal, (26.4 percent reporting); private, (79 percent); public daily fee, (22.2 percent); and resort, (40 percent).

    “At the time of Governor Tim Walz’s initial Stay at Home order issued in March, we felt that playing golf satisfied all the concerns relative to social distancing and curbing the spread of the COVID virus,” said Tom Ryan, MGA executive director and COO, adding, “As it turned out, golf was one of the few sports or activities that all Minnesotans could safely participate in throughout the summer, and the findings reported here reflect that.”

    Prior to the pandemic, from 2018 to 2019, Minnesota golf facilities saw a modest increase in golf rounds of 1.8 percent; this year, golf rounds surged by an average of 29.7 percent across all facility types.

    Public daily-fee facilities saw, on average, 28,394 rounds in 2020 – 30.5 percent more rounds than were reported in 2019; municipal facilities, 32,589 rounds, a 29.2 percent increase; private clubs, 24,162 rounds, a 34.9 percent increase; and resort courses, 27,392 rounds, a 14.3 percent increase.  

    To put the local surge in perspective, golf rounds in the U.S. were up 13.1 percent, less than half the Minnesota overall average.

    “Playing golf checked all the boxes and met each and every social distancing protocol. It was outdoors, it was both a physically and mentally healthful activity, and it gave thousands of kids and their families something to do together,” explained Ryan.
     Golf Datatech's National Golf Rounds Played Report (November 2020). 

  • 06 Dec 2020 6:44 AM | John MacKenzie

    DNR is working with golf courses to track water use efficiency

    By Carmelita Nelson, Water Conservation Specialist, Minnesota DNR

    Irrigation scheduling… Soil moisture testing… Irrigation sprinkler head maintenance…Stormwater reuse...

    These are some of the ways golf courses are improving the efficiency of their irrigation systems.

    Beginning in October 2020, golf course irrigators will start reporting the water efficiency measures they are implementing along with the annual amount of water they have used. This web-based “Water Conservation Reporting System” will complement the water use reporting system currently in place.

    Minnesota is the first state in the nation to measure water conservation on a statewide basis. For the past three years, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has been working with cities, commercial, industrial and institutional water users to create a web-based system that allows them to report their water conservation and efficiency measures. We now want to partner with golf courses, nurseries and agricultural irrigators in this effort to do the same for them.

    Initially, the DNR created a list of irrigation conservation measures from best practices recommended by the Minnesota Golf Course Superintendents Association, the University of Minnesota, and other irrigation guidelines. Irrigation experts and partners then reviewed and refined the questions. The DNR will use the refined list to create a web-based reporting system. A training video will be available to explain how to complete the new Water Conservation Reporting system.

    The goal in gathering this data is to measure water conservation actions, track success and encourage efficiency. Ensuring sustainable use of waters, reducing losses and waste of water is everybody’s responsibility. The data will be aggregated, summarized and used in various legislative reports, conference presentations and other outreach with partners.

    Golf courses will continue to report their monthly water use totals to the DNR through the existing Minnesota Permitting and Reporting System (MPARS) and pay the annual water use fee. Once this is completed, there will be a link taking water users to the Water Conservation Reporting system.

    For additional information please see the DNR water conservation reporting system webpage or contact Carmelita Nelson, DNR water conservation specialist, at 651-259-5034 or carmelita.nelson@state.mn.us.

  • 05 Nov 2020 8:04 AM | John MacKenzie

    5 Benefits From Northern Green Going Virtual

    Posted by Northern Green

    Even in an industry where every year is different, 2020 has been exceptional. Despite our hope to hold an in-person event in January, Northern Green is going online. How are you dealing with that news? Are you grieving the opportunities you’ll miss by not being face-to-face with your green industry friends and business partners? Or maybe you’re relieved that you won’t have to decide whether to travel in these strange times, whether to shake hands or not, wear a mask or not, or make a myriad of other decisions that were once much easier. Or maybe you feel a little of both.

    Let’s face it: change can be tough. Even good change. It can involve denial, anger, bargaining and depression before you finally reach acceptance. But sometimes, when we’re lucky, change simply makes life better.

    That’s the case when it comes to this year’s Northern Green event. Here are five ways that you will benefit from Northern Green going digital, and becoming more accessible than ever before.

    1. More is better when it comes to your team. By going digital, we’re making it even more affordable for you to give more of your team access to Northern Green. That makes it easier, more effective and more efficient to create real positive change and growth based on what you learn at the event. You’ll be able to inspire buy-in for new ideas you want to put to work in your company by participating in sessions as a team, and you can build a plan to make it happen together with the employees who will execute it.
    2. More is better, times two when it comes to education. Three paths are better than one. When you’re in-person at Northern Green, you must choose between educational sessions that run at the same time throughout the event. When you attend Northern Green Virtual, you can experience one session during the scheduled time, then circle back to attend the other two sessions in your spare time later that day, in your pajamas that night, or anytime that’s convenient for you.
    3. More is better when it comes to best practice sharing. We’ve always believed in the power of industry professionals learning from each other, and Northern Green has always attracted the industry’s best. With the tools available to us in this digital environment, attendees will have the opportunity to share what is working and not working in their businesses with each other. They’ll be able to use the chat and Q&A features during the education sessions, participate in coffee chat discussions on the topics that matter most to them and to their employees, and learn from each other.
    4. More is better with all your vendors in one place at one time. The Northern Green experience will remain the same in that it offers excellent content, relevant resources, exhibits and networking opportunities, but the medium has evolved for enhanced online interaction. We miss face to face and are sure you do too! So, we made sure that you will be able to visit with vendors online using either video or text chat. Whatever your preference, you won’t want to miss learning about all the new products and services available from vendors in 2021! It’s a one stop online shopping experience to kick off 2021.
    5. You’re in charge. Northern Green Virtual will provide the opportunity for you and your team to take advantage of the training, tools and professional connections the event provides. We encourage you to create an education plan for yourself and your employees. All those who participate get the chance for professional development, and the resulting growth will benefit your organization and customers too.

    In the meantime, as we work to finalize this year’s educational line-up, we’re also working on a guide to Northern Green Virtual that will help you make the most of the education, people, tools and technology it will offer. We can’t wait to join you for the best education yet at Northern Green Virtual, January 11-14, 2021!

  • 21 Oct 2020 3:05 PM | John MacKenzie
    • In an effort to make the Distinguished Service Award meaningful to the recipient and the Association, the 2018 Awards Committee created the following set of guidelines. Any member can be nominated, but greatest consideration will be given to those who have distinguished themselves supporting the Minnesota Golf Course Superintendents Association.

      Date for submission is December 15th.  The required point total necessary to be considered for the MGCSA Distinguished Service Award can be a combination of any of the

      following. The minimum number of points necessary for the DSA Award is 25.

      The Minnesota Golf Hall of Fame nominee must have previously attained the MGCSA DSA

      Award and fulfilled an additional 15 points beyond those previously ac- quired. DSA recipients prior to the establishment of the new criteria will require 15 additional points in any category based on Committee suggestion.

      The Board of Directors and Awards Committee will be responsible for final decisions.

                  Terms on the MGCSA BOD = 2 points per term, including officer position, 4 maximum
                  Officer Position = 1 point per office elected
                  Audubon Certification and re-certification = 2 points, 4  maximum
                  ESI Award = 2 points maximum
                  Support of the University of MN research plots = 2 points, 4 maximum
                  Support of the GCSAA committee members = 2 points, 4  maximum
                  GCSAA, MTGF and Allied BOD or committee role = 1 point/year, 3 maximum
                  MGCSA Membership =1 point per decade
                  Certification 2 points then= 1 per renewal, 5 maximum
                  MGCSA event participation = 2 maximum
                  Civic Community Service points =1 point for each position 3 maximum
                  Mentor potential = 1 point per professional through Class A or B, 3 maximum
                  Any MGCSA, GCSAA or industry Presentations =1 per presentation, 4 maximum
                  Any MGCSA, GCSAA or industry articles written =1 per article, 3 maximum
                  Completion of any MGCSA Environmental Initiative Packet = 3 points per packet
                  Contribution to golf that can’t be anticipated = 5 points maximum
                  *** The Committee can assign any number of points to those individuals who do not have access to this point system due to placement in our industry. For example, educators and affiliate members.

    Please provide your nomination to the Awards Committee through jack@ mgcsa.org. Include a list of nominee accomplishments and statement of recommendation. The award will be presented at the Annual Meeting during the Service Award presentation.

  • 20 Oct 2020 6:15 AM | John MacKenzie

    Cool-Season Golf Edition is set for January 11th – April 2nd, 2021. 

     Any investment in quality continuing education opportunities benefits employees and employers alike. The 2021 Great Lakes School of Turfgrass Science: Cool-Season Golf Edition is designed to help meet the continuing education needs of any individual or organization. This 12-week program aims to provide participants with thorough and practical continuing education in turfgrass management. The course is directed by 12 turfgrass scientists and educators from 5 Land-Grant Universities and other organizations. We are very pleased to be offering this on the Greenkeeper University platform this year. 

    Turfgrasses are a resource in our urban community environments and best management practices are aligned with environmental, economic & societal priorities. The Great Lakes School of Turfgrass Science provides participants with the science-based principles needed to effectively manage turf for recreation, sport, aesthetics and environmental protection. The Great Lakes School of Turfgrass Science is a quality training opportunity for: 

    - Practitioners that establish and maintain turfgrass for golf courses 

    - Technical representatives from industry (suppliers of equipment, plant protectants, fertilizer, etc.) 

    - Those new to the industry - wanting to get trained and off to a great start 

    - Those with experience in the industry - to review/update their knowledge and practices 

    Students will have access to the course and materials at their convenience during the 12-week period via moodle class management system. The fee for the course is $550, which includes supplemental materials and a certificate after successful completion of the program. Visit this link to register: greenkeeperapp.com 

    Early registration is encouraged and pre-registration is required. 

    For Further Information: Contact Sam Bauer. Email: sam@bauerturf.com Phone: 904-271-0250. 

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