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Last Update :1/15/2009

GCSAA/Golf Digest announce 2008 Environmental Leaders in Golf

News Release
January 15, 2009
Contact: Bill Newton, GCSAA media relations manager
800-472-7878, ext. 3688 or

Environmental stewardship efforts of superintendents, facilities recognized
GCSAA/Golf Digest announce 2008 Environmental Leaders in Golf Awards

Click image to download
James J. Roney Jr
Saucon Valley Country Club
Private & Overall winner
David Phipps
Stone Creek Golf Club
Public winner
Joel Blaker, CGCS
Tahoe Mountain Club
Resort winner
Robin Sadler
Silvertip Resort
International winner

In recognition of their commitment to environmental stewardship, Saucon Valley Country Club in Bethlehem, Pa., and its Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) Class A golf course superintendent, James J. Roney Jr., have been named the overall winner of the 2008 GCSAA/Golf Digest Environmental Leaders in Golf Awards (ELGA).

"This year's winners are to be commended for their commitment to environmental stewardship on the golf course," GCSAA President David S. Downing II, CGCS, said. "They, along with their facilities, have demonstrated that golf courses can be compatible with the environment, and in many cases enhance it."

The national winners include (facility, location, chapter):

  • National Private & Overall: James J. Roney Jr., Saucon Valley Country Club, Bethlehem, Pa., Philadelphia Association of Golf Course Superintendents
  • National Public: David Phipps, Stone Creek Golf Course, Oregon City, Ore., Oregon GCSA
  • National Resort: Joel Blaker, CGCS, Tahoe Mountain Club, Truckee, Calif., Sierra Nevada GCSA
  • International: Robin Sadler, Silvertip Resort, Canmore, Alberta, Canada

Winners of the ELGA program will be featured in an upcoming issue of Golf Digest magazine and GCSAA’s Golf Course Management magazine. Syngenta Professional Products and Rain Bird Corp. - Golf Division are the presenting partners of the award.

Judges selected winners in three national categories (public, private and resort courses), and an international winner, with an overall winner selected from those four. Recognition was given to the top entry from each GCSAA affiliated chapter, and merit honors were awarded to those who did not earn national or chapter honors but deserved special recognition in the opinion of the judges.

Golf course superintendents and their courses that have been named national, chapter or merit winners will be formally recognized during the Opening Session of the 2009 GCSAA Education Conference, held in conjunction with the Golf Industry Show in New Orleans. In addition, program sponsors will make donations to The Environmental Institute for Golf, the philanthropic organization of the GCSAA, in the names of all national and chapter winners.

"Golf Digest has been an active participant in generating discussion regarding golf and its relationship with the environment," said Roger Schiffman, managing editor of Golf Digest. "We are pleased to share the good story that golf is indeed achieving positive results.”

In addition to using state-of-the-art irrigation systems with thousands of sprinkler heads to deliver pinpoint accuracy and efficient use of water; extensive recycling programs; composting of of grass clippings, leaves and other herbaceous debris; using energy-saving light bulbs; and stringent integrated pest management programs for the judicious use of golf course products; the ELGA winners went above and beyond in their environmental stewardship.

Roney, a 15-year GCSAA member, is a GCSAA Class A member and director of golf courses and grounds at Saucon Valley Country Club. He procured Growing Greener grants totaling $391,202 from the commonwealth of Pennsylvania to complete a fluvial geomorphic characterization stream assessment, trout habitat assessment and streambank restoration and stabilization plan for the 2.3 miles of Saucon Creek that flows through the country club's property. Roney completed 1,700 lineal feet of streambank restoration in 2008. Click here for more on Roney and Saucon Valley Country Club.

Phipps, a nine-year GCSAA member, is a GCSAA Class A superintendent at Stone Creek Golf Course in Oregon City, Ore. He is a three-time ELGA chapter winner and has been a merit winner as well. Stone Creek is a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary, and signage around the course is an important part of Phipps' communication process. He works with the local Audubon Society to provide annual birding and golf course tours for sixth graders. Phipps also teaches a class called "Golf course-quality lawns" to inform local residents how to properly care and cultivate their lawns using environmentally sustainable practices. The National Association of Conservative Districts is developing the program into a nationwide public outreach initiative. Click here for more on Phipps and Stone Creek Golf Course.

Blaker, a 20-year GCSAA member, is a GCSAA certified golf course superintendent and serves as director of agronomy for Tahoe Mountain Club's three golf courses in Truckee, Calif.: Coyote Moon, Old Greenwood and Gray's Crossing. He is a previous ELGA chapter and merit winner, plus his assistant at Old Greenwood Golf Course, Jonathan Moulton, was the 2007 national resort winner, and his superintendent at The Golf Club at Gray's Crossing, Mike Cornette, is a past private chapter and merit winner. Blaker has a full-time natural resource manager on staff who leads popular and well-attended weekly hikes on property trails for members to learn about the natural environment of the Sierra, as well as the cutting edge management techniques used by the golf course superintendents at Tahoe Mountain Club. Click here for more on Blaker and Tahoe Mountain Club.

Sadler, a five-year GCSAA member, is a GCSAA superintendent at Silvertip Resort in Canmore, Alberta. He has been there for 12 years, helping to build and grow-in the golf course. Silvertip is located outside of Calgary in the Central Canadian Rocky Mountains, next to Banff National Park. Situated 5,000 feet above sea level with 600 feet of elevation change on the golf course, Sadler faces many challenges growing turf in the five-month golf season at an exclusive resort with high expectations for aesthetics and playing conditions. Click here for more on Sadler and Silvertip Resort.

The Environmental Leaders in Golf Award recognizes golf course superintendents and their courses for overall course management excellence in the areas of resource conservation, water quality management, integrated pest management, wildlife/habitat management and education/outreach. In addition, these categories are judged on sustainability, criticality, originality and technology implementation/use. An independent panel of judges representing national environmental groups, turfgrass experts, university research and members of the golf community conducted the award selection.

In addition to the national winners, 14 chapter winners as well as six merit winners were selected from GCSAA’s 101 affiliated chapters.

2008 ELGA Chapter Winners

Public Facilities (facility, location, chapter)

  • Paul Grogan, CGCS, TPC Deere Run, East Moline, Ill., Iowa GCSA
  • D. Cord Ozment, CGCS, Callippe Preserve Golf Course, San Ramon, Calif., California GCSA
  • Jason Kubel, TPC Tampa Bay, Odessa, Fla., Florida West Coast GCSA
  • Robert Makowski, Bird Creek Golf Club, Port Austin, Mich., Michigan GCSA
  • Timothy P. Powers, CGCS, Crystal Springs Golf Course, Burlingame, Calif., GCSA of Northern California
  • Mark Krick, CGCS, The Homestead, Lakewood, Colo., Rocky Mountain GCSA

Private Facilities (facility, location, chapter)

  • Jeffrey Burgoyne, CGCS, The Club at Twin Eagles, Lehigh Acres, Fla., Florida GCSA
  • Dale Hahn, CGCS, TPC Summerlin, Las Vegas, Nev., Southern Nevada GCSA
  • Jim Thomas, CGCS, TPC Southwind, Memphis, Tenn., Tennessee GCSA
  • Todd E. Bunte, TPC Jasna Polana, Princeton, N.J., GCSA of New Jersey
  • Roger Stewart, TPC Twin Cities, Blaine, Minn., Minnesota GCSA
  • R. Shane Wright, CGCS, Vero Beach (Fla.) Country Club, Treasure Coast GCSA

Resort Facilities (facility, location, chapter)

  • Christopher Flynn, CGCS, Grande Pines Golf Club, Altamonte Springs, Fla, Central Florida GCSA
  • R. Jeff Plotts, TPC Scottsdale (Ariz.), Cactus and Pine GCSA

2008 ELGA Merit Winners

Public Facilities (facility, location, chapter)

  • Gary Ingram, CGCS, Metropolitan Golf Links, Oakland, Calif., GCSA of Northern California

Private Facilities (facility, location, chapter)

  • John Kulka, TPC Michigan, Dearborn, Mich., Michigan GCSA
  • Michael Brower, Minnesota Valley Country Club, Bloomington, Minn., Minnesota GCSA
  • David Davies, CGCS, TPC San Francisco Bay at Stonebrae, Union City, Calif., GCSA of Northern California

Resort Facilities (facility, location, chapter)

  • Chad Corp, The Legend, Bellaire, Mich., Michigan GCSA

International Facilities (facility, location)

  • Rodney J. Mckeown, National Service Resort and Country Club, Kranji Sanctuary, Singapore

GCSAA is a leading golf organization and has as its focus golf course management. Since 1926, GCSAA has been the top professional association for the men and women who manage golf courses in the United States and worldwide. From its headquarters in Lawrence, Kan., the association provides education, information and representation to more than 21,000 members in more than 72 countries. GCSAA’s mission is to serve its members, advance their profession and enhance the enjoyment, growth and vitality of the game of golf. Visit GCSAA at

The Environmental Institute for Golf, the philanthropic organization of GCSAA, is a collaborative effort of the environmental and golf communities, dedicated to strengthening the compatibility of golf with the natural environment. The Institute concentrates on delivering programs and services involving research, education and outreach that communicate the best management practices of environmental stewardship on the golf course. For more on The Institute, visit


For national winner information contact:

For sponsor information contact:


  • The title "CGCS" after a superintendent's name, stands for Certified Golf Course Superintendent, which recognizes the achievement of high standards of professionalism through education, testing and experience.
  • A list of past ELGA national award recipients


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