Chapter Update, Part 1: Redefining The Chapter Role
Where does the greatest opportunity lie to further advance the job security and professionalism of the golf course superintendent?
Is it via the continued inspired work of individual superintendents? Not really, because: the indispensable work of the golf course superintendents collectively throughout the country already has had its meaningful impact on the national golf community and doesn’t promise the opportunity for significant future professional advancement.
Because GCSAA does not interface directly with the nation’s approximate 16,000 golf courses, it is dependent on its chapters to establish a meaningful industry-wide connection with the country’s estimated 26 million golfers…
Is it via GCSAA with its ever-expanding educational and service programming? Again, not really: because GCSAA does not directly interface with the approximate 16,000 golf courses across America, while chapters do. Fundamentally, GCSAA is to the 26 million golfers throughout the national golf community as the federal government is to the 300 million-plus citizens across the country; i.e., both institutions are dependent on regional intermediaries to establish meaningful contact with the people. For the federal government, the 50 states supported by local governments effectively fill this intermediary role.
The myriad of regional chapters should be filling the intermediary role for GCSAA. However, though well intentioned, it is becoming apparent that the 103 regional chapters that populate the country are functioning without a timely mission statement that addresses their members’ current needs. Consequently, the chapters have defaulted primarily into social forums (i.e., member gatherings, golf tournaments, modest educational forums, etc.) through the years while at the same time failing to provide: critical career enhancing, job securing programming for their members; or constituent targeted educational programming that would shed a constructive regional light on the mission of the golf course superintendent.
Consequently, the professional image of the golf course superintendent languishes; the correlation between job security and the value of the job delivered gets lost in the shuffle; compensation levels stagnate; superintendents (i.e., chapter members) are left with a discomforting feeling about themselves; and family stability suffers.
Where Does The Responsibility Lie?
Many will instinctively think that it is GCSAA’s responsibility to remedy the situation to bring substantive meaning to the chapters’ existence. I disagree and believe the problem must be solved from the grass roots level up and not from the top down because GCSAA does not have the manpower (staff or otherwise), or the prerequisite local knowledge to address the varying needs of each of 103 chapter entities – while the individual chapters do.
…the fundamental welfare of golf course superintendents’ future careers will be primarily determined by how effectively their chapters identify with and support their members’ pursuit of an optimum employment environment.
Furthermore, GCSAA is basically meeting its national “umbrella” responsibilities effectively now. This is not the problem because the fundamental welfare of golf course superintendents’ future careers will be primarily determined by how effectively their chapters identify with and support their members’ pursuit of an optimum employment environment.
Accordingly, the coming weeks’ blog messages will address the following:
* Updating chapter mission statements for today’s challenging times.
* Profiling chapter management options, including Executive Director considerations.
* Generating the necessary funding to implement new era chapter planning.
* Identifying the service spectrum that chapter members’ require today; and
* Suggested fine-tuning of GCSAA’s complementary role.
An Invitation: I will be at the Vinyl Guard Golf (sponsor of this blog) GIS booth #4023 on Wednesday and Thursday mornings (February 10th and 11th) from 11:00 AM through noon+ each day. Stop by and say hello. I look forward to meeting some of you.