Golf course superintendents are considered by many to have one of the less-desirable jobs, for their knowledge and handiwork are right out there in plain sight -- on year-round display.
That might not be too bad if they controlled their destiny, but more often than not they are at the mercy of Mother Nature. So it is that superintendents, like certain other professionals, are noticed only when something goes wrong.
Droughts bring concern over use of water on golf courses vs. public use; environmentalists push for controls on fertilizers and pesticides; and naturalists voice concern over possible loss of wildlife habitat.
These issues, and more, were topics of discussion during a seminar conducted by representatives of the Green Section of the United States Golf Association at Woodholme Country Club last week.
Among the points made, based on data, were that research has shown most pesticides used on golf courses have a negligible effect on the environment, and those that do move through the soil are found to be well within health and safety standards. At the same time, new grasses have been developed that require less attention; and nonchemical alternatives are available.
More than 70 percent of most golf courses are rough and nonplay areas, providing acreage for wildlife. Turf absorbs rainwater, helps beat the heat (parkland is much cooler than asphalt streets) and improves the air quality.
According to Stanley Zontek, director of the Mid-Atlantic region of the Green Section, in the long run, however, "It comes down to [best management practices], for daily course maintenance today equals championship conditions of 20 years ago. And, obviously, problems arise when something is or is not done, because, after all, grass does not commit suicide."
Chris Owens, a Towson lawyer and founder of the Baltimore Chapter of the Executive Women's Golf League, was honored with one of the national organization's six regional leadership awards during the local group's spring tee-off dinner at Turf Valley Country Club last week.
National founder Nancy Oliver of West Palm Beach, Fla., was the guest speaker before a gathering of more than 300.
The 3-year-old EWGL has some 100 chapters and more than 9,000 members nationwide, with Baltimore's 400-plus membership the largest.
The new officers for the local chapter are Jacquie Burkhardt, president; Claire Bogdanski, vice president; Colleen Baum, vice president; Cathy Rubery, secretary; and Deborah Harris, treasurer.
Middle Atlantic awards
David Halle, of the Suburban Club, a past president and long-time administrator, and the late George Taylor of Worthington Valley CC, secretary for more than 30 years, are the newest members of the Middle Atlantic Golf Association's Hall of Fame.
The new president is Marty West III, of Columbia CC, the first reigning MAGA Amateur champion to hold this office at the same time.
The 1995 schedule: May 4--Senior 4-ball, Rolling Road GC; July 10--Father-Son, International T&CC; Aug. 7--Juniors, Lakewood CC; Aug. 15--Seniors, Golden Horseshoe; Sept. 6-7--Women's Amateur, Tides Inn; Sept. 28-Oct. 1--Men's Amateur, Columbia CC. The MAGA will supervise the U.S. Open sectional qualifying June 5, at Woodmont CC, and the U.S. Senior Open sectional
qualifying June 19, at Columbia CC.
Jack Emich, of Baltimore CC, the executive director of the Maryland State Golf Association, has been honored by the United States Golf Association for his 31 years of volunteer service. The USGA presented Ike Grainger awards -- named for one of its long-time volunteers still going strong at age 100 -- to 64 people with at least 25 years of volunteer work.
Ralph Bogart, of Chevy Chase, and Bill Briggs, of Washington, also were among the award recipients.