Noting a critical shortage of funding for agronomic research, the Environmental Institute for Golf announced it will roll out a national campaign this fall aimed at generating resources to address that need.
Environmental Institute for Golf to launch national golf course research program
Noting a critical shortage of funding for agronomic research, the Environmental Institute for Golf (EIFG) announced today it will roll out a national campaign this fall aimed at generating resources to address that need and help to ensure golf’s future.
The program is actually an expansion of the highly successful Rounds 4 Research campaign that was created by the Carolinas Golf Course Superintendents Association in 2009 and has generated nearly $350,000 in three years. Funds are generated by securing donated rounds of golf (defined as a foursome) by facilities and then made available to the public through an online auction. In 2010, the Carolinas GCSA expanded its effort by conducting auctions for golf course superintendent chapters in Virginia, Georgia and Texas. Proceeds were directed to universities in those states for the purpose of conducting turfgrass research.
Significant demand by other affiliated chapters of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) led the Carolinas GCSA to seek out an organization that could administer the project nationally. Organizers say taking the model beyond a handful of states and offering it nationally could go a long way to plugging a recent drain on funds for research which helps protect the health and vitality of the $76-billion industry. The EIFG is the philanthropic organization of the GCSAA that fosters the sustainable management of golf facilities.
“Rounds 4 Research is the ultimate win-win for everyone involved,” Carolinas GCSAA President Doug Lowe, CGCS, said. “It offers golfers both bargain opportunities at the same time it allows golf courses to invest in the future health of the game without actually spending a dime. As a regional chapter, we also found the exercise of working together with course owners, club managers and golf professionals, as well as our state golf associations, to be very productive. We had good relationships with these folks beforehand but we have great relationships now. Rounds 4 Research has really helped us all get on the same page for the good of the game and that has also made a big impression on people like legislators and regulators because they see golf working to be part of the solution.”
The EIFG will offer opportunities for GCSAA’s 100 affiliated chapters to participate and solicit rounds, which will be made available through the Bidding for Good online auction site (biddingforgood.com). The EIFG will distribute monies back to the participating chapters.
“There have been severe cutbacks in funding for golf course research regionally and nationally,” GCSAA President Sandy Queen, CGCS, said. “Research has been vital in developing resources that support golf course environmental management programs, which have made the game more enjoyable for golfers. The golf industry’s long-term strength is threatened by this lack of funding. A key point in this effort is this is a program designed to generate funds for chapters. It is not about building the EIFG pool of funds.”
The Carolinas GCSA had three successful years in generating funds through the auction to support its research initiatives. Among the participants was Pinehurst Resort.
“Pinehurst has seen first hand the value of research and what it means for the golf industry,” said Pinehurst Director of Golf Course Management Bob Farren, CGCS. “We were supportive of Rounds 4 Research from day one and will continue to participate in it through the EIFG. Research is the lifeblood of the golf course.”
Queen lauded the work of the Carolinas GCSA in creating the program and indicated the EIFG would not change much in the way of operations. It is anticipated that the Rounds 4 Research name will continue to be utilized. Queen did note that in his conversations with GCSAA members, allied golf association representatives and golf course owners that facilities would be supportive of this effort.
“We believe this is a critical program for the golf industry,” Queen said. “When the Carolinas chapter conducted it, they got widespread support from all aspects of the industry. This is not a golf course superintendent issue, this is a golf issue. That is why we saw strong support on the chapter level in the past. Our preliminary discussions have shown the golf industry to be supportive of the program.”