Waste and refuse management has become an exceedingly complex subject in recent years, growing exponentially depending on the enormity of the course and facility. Gone are the days of throwing refuse on a pile out back or parking a retired item behind the maintenance shed for Mother Nature to reclaim.
The need for practical strategies to deal with these issues is the editorial reason why we reached out to retired all-star superintendent Anthony Williams to author this month’s cover story. And who better to pen this piece? Over a three decade turf career, Anthony’s accolades include the GCSAA’s President’s Award for Environmental Stewardship (2010) and the overall winner of the GCSAA and Golf Digest Environmental Leaders in Golf Awards in 2006. In addition, he was twice a winner in the chapter category. In 2012, he published “The Environmental Stewardship Toolkit,” a collection of best practices for the environmental management of golf courses.
But that resume doesn’t reflect one important fact – Anthony’s passion for this topic. I had the pleasure of experiencing his enthusiasm firsthand at the recent Syngenta Business Institute, an exclusive, invitation-only educational program held annually at Wake Forest University. Think of SBI as a crash-course superintendent MBA.
At SBI, Anthony told me about the initiatives he and his crew accomplished during his tenure as director of grounds at Stone Mountain Golf Club by Marriott in Stone Mountain, Ga. He concluded with one striking revelation. What they accomplished wasn’t impossible to achieve, and any superintendent could duplicate these same programs and initiatives. His point: Any action is positive action.
There is one thing Anthony left out, though. Not only should these practices be shared with colleagues throughout the industry, but even more importantly they need to be shared with the communities you call home. Become your facility’s, your profession’s, your industry’s most powerful advocate by sharing with those around you those things you do that make you a valuable steward of the environment. Chemical applications are just a small part of what goes on in the day-to-day maintenance and management of a golf facility. In fact, many would be surprised to learn about the sustainable practices happening between the first tee and the 18th green.