• Featured Courses

2020 Calendar


31 • Mon
Virtual—Details in the works
As many as six area golf courses, geographically diverse from one another, will each host up to six fivesome (or foursomes if restrictions remain). Each Fivesome will record their scores and we will dish out prizes accordingly. As you would expect, this will include a registration fee, though much less than in years’ past. All of the results and other information will be provided online immediately after play.


Druids Glen Golf Course


1, 16–17 • Tue, Wed–Thu
Washington Turf and Landscape Show
Recertification and Professional Development (Dec. 1—Online)
This year, we will hold the Washington Turf and Landscape Show online, allowing our members to earn both WSDA pesticide recertification credits and GCSAA education points by providing 10 pesticide talks and four professional development talks.  Each talk will be prerecorded, and available online to all registrants between December 1 and December 18.  There will be a mechanism in place, required by both the WSDA and GCSAA, to record who is watching and for how long in order for viewers to receive full credit.

Pre-License Pesticide Education (Dec. 16 & 17—Online testing conducted by Becky Maguire)
The plan is to have Becky Maguire return to conduct the training and administer the testing online, but to do so in a live format to provide for essential Q&A.

More Calendar Items

Recent Jobs

Spray Technician
Columbia Edgewater Country Club
Portland, OR

Second Assistant Superintendent
The Plateau Club
Sammamish, WA

Golf Course Equipment Manager/Mechanic
Bear Creek Country Club
Woodinville, WA

Assistant Golf Course Superintendent
Druids Glen Golf Course
Kent, WA

Equipment Manager
Meridian Valley Country Club
Kent, WA

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Rounds 4 Research Auction Set for July 20–26

Placeholder imageRounds 4 Research is an excellent way to meet two objectives at once. Raised proceeds for turf management research, and support the ongoing continuing education efforts of our local chapter.

The Rounds 4 Research program was designed to address a critical shortage in turfgrass research funding by auctioning donated rounds of golf online. The program is administered by the Environmental Institute for Golf, the philanthropic organization of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America.

Rounds 4 Research allows GCSAA chapters and turfgrass foundations to participate as fundraising partners with the vast majority of proceeds going back to those organizations. In this way, these organizations can direct the proceeds to specific projects that will have the most significant impact in their local areas.

Please consider asking your course to donate a round or more, it’s easy to register your donation via this link. The proceeds will go to two causes, both important to all of us at the WWGCSA.

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COVID-19 Mask Requirements

Effective Friday June 26, the Governor is mandating that all Washington State residents wear masks when out in public. The Golf Alliance of Washington encourages all stakeholders in the golf industry to comply with all laws and regulations of the State while the GAW always stands ready to help our member constituents interpret what it all means, though the Governor’s June 26 order seems very clear.

As stated in the Order, “a statewide order requires individuals to wear a face covering in indoor public spaces such as stores, offices and restaurants. The order also requires face coverings outdoors when you can't stay 6 feet apart from others.” The order has some exceptions, including “ . . . people with certain disabilities or health conditions, and . . . you do not need to wear one when you are outdoors and people are far apart.”

How does this affect workers on Golf Course maintenance crews? Very simply, if you cannot or simply do not avoid being six feet apart from each other, then you should be wearing a mask. Clear situations where this will happen include when meeting with your colleagues indoors, or riding with colleagues on equipment. A practical response to the questions that may arise as to “when do I have to wear a mask” is to always have a mask in your possession, and if you find yourself approaching within six feet of someone else, put it on. If you’re in doubt as to whether a situation requires a mask, put it on. And to provide ultimate safety and respect toward others, on your team, co-workers in other departments, and your customers, the best practice is to simply where a mask at all times from the time you leave your car to go to work to when you return to go home.

This is not a political question. This is a health and safety question. Masks are not normal. They are not more comfortable to wear than not wearing them at all. Seeing people in masks can be disconcerting. But in an environment where we want to increase social and economic activity, which will (and has) increased the risk of spreading the Coronavirus, if we all wear masks we will slow the rate of spread. Yes, there are disagreements over how effective masks really are, but it is widely accepted that they do help. And, at least for now, it is the law of our state. The state’s expectation for non-healthcare workers is that their masks be either a scarf-like face covering, a bandana, or a cloth face mask.

So, similar to our colleagues in pro shops and clubhouses, and businesses across the state, we want to be part of the solution and play our part. For the safety of you and others, wear a mask, stay six apart, and wash your hands routinely. And for those that struggle with the idea of wearing a mask at all times, and wonder when it’s ok to not wear it, if you are in doubt . . . always have a mask handy, and put it on.

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The 10 Commandments of Successful Managers

Being a successful Superintendent requires a much broader range of skills than most people would realize. Even most, if not all, members of your own golf course. A successful Superintendent must be a scientist, a teacher, a recruiter, a manager, a laborer, an enthusiast, an advocate, a leader and more… and must apply these traits with an Eveready-battery-like work ethic. The GCSAA, of course, recognizes this and in the not too distant past printed the following in its newsletter. It was titled “The Ten Commandments of Successful Golf Course Superintendents,” but it is applicable to managers and leaders in any industry:

  1. Communicate Well
  2. Hold People Accountable
  3. Find Balance
  4. Plan and Organize, then Execute the Plan
  5. Embrace Humility
  6. Hone your skill set—Be on top of Best Practices
  7. Cultivate Work Ethic
  8. Engage with Customers, Employees and Vendors
  9. Delegate
  10. Mind the Details

These concepts never get old, and are always good reminders to have at the ready.

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Golf Restart Phase 2, Update 1

There have been a lot of changes in how golf courses are allowed to operate as we navigate through different counties that are observing different phases, and in some cases the guidelines of each phase have been amended. The golf industry has been very fortunate, as the Governor’s office has been willing to consider that the activities surrounding golf enabled restrictions on the courses themselves to be lessened more quickly than most other activities.

Within the region that the WWGCSA serves, which is roughly those areas bounded by the Columbia River, the Pacific Ocean and our border with Canada, here is the county-by-county phased status as of the morning of June 11:

Phase 1 Counties

Phase 1.5 Counties
Chelan, King

Phase 2 Counties
Clallum, Clark, Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, Island, Jefferson, Kitsap, Kittitas, Klickitat, Lewis, Mason, Okanogan, Pacific, Pierce, San Juan, Skagit, Skamania, Snohomish, Thurston, Whatcom

Counties in Phase 1.5 are permitted to operate their golf courses in the same manner as those in Phase 2. It is important to remember to differentiate between the operation of the golf course, and the other operations on site, specifically the clubhouse. Golf Shops and Club lounges, bars and restaurants are subject to the retail and restaurant restrictions of their county’s designated phase.

To help understand your specific restrictions are today, and how they’ve changed since the implementation of the State’s Stay Home/Stay Healthy orders, please refer to this link. You may have seen what Phase 2 meant for golf in mid-May, but just in the last week Phase 2 for golf was updated to permit players from different households share the same power cart.

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Followup and Review of Update WA State COVID-19/Golf Operating Procedures

Friday night (May 15) we distributed the updated guidelines from the Governor which include a provision to allow the playing of foursomes even if your County is still in Phase 1 of the state’s “Phased Approach” to re-opening businesses and activities. In fact, the Governor’s office distributed three documents Friday night, but to avoid confusion, we distributed only the most critical document to you first. Below are links to all three documents, plus an attempt to explain what the documents are and how they are different from each other:

A memo from the Governor to Golf Stake Holders to confirm that the documents that were to follow are to take precedent over previously distributed orders.

Phase 1 Clarifications to COVID-19 Requirements and Recommendations. This is the document WWGCSA members received the evening of May 15. This document updates five different sections from the previous requirements governing Phase 1, most, if not all of which, you should be familiar with:

  1. Section 3 now allows non-related foursomes.
  2. Section 4 now allows household members to share a power cart.
  3. Section 10 clarifies rules pertaining to driving ranges and practice areas.
  4. Section 12 now allows certain on-course garbage receptacles.
  5. Section 25 clarifies that certain outdoor instruction is permitted.

Phase 2 COVID-19 Requirements and Recommendations. This is being sent out now because some counties (those with population less than 75,000 and no new cases in the last 3 weeks) have already been approved by the Governor to allow all businesses and activities to operate according to Phase 2 of the state’s “Phased Approach”; this document provides more detail that is specific to golf operations once their County is designated as being in Phase 2:

  1. Section 3 now allows unrestricted golf groups.
  2. Section 15 requires the use of social media to disseminate Phase 2 guidance.
  3. Section 25 adds new language concerning practice facilities.
  4. Section 26 adds new language concerning guest supplies.
  5. Section 27 now allows in-clubhouse pro shops to operate in accordance with this document and standalone pro shops to operate in accordance with Phase 2 Curbside Retail Guidance.
  6. Section 28 now allows food service to operate in accordance with Phase 2 Restaurant and Tavern Guidance.
  7. Section 29 now allows for limited caddying.
  8. Section 30 now allows for limited use of locker rooms.
  9. Section 31 now allows junior golf events to resume with under five attendees.
  10. Section 32 now allows for curbside club service.
  11. Section 33 now permits tournaments to resume without giving rise to gatherings.

It is important to emphasize that the Phase 2 document only applies to you if your golf course is contained within one of the nine counties that the Governor has approved to move to Phase 2. We will devote more space and time to exploring the Phase 2 document at a later date, but please note that there is a conflict in language between Section 23 and Section 28 of the Phase 2 document. For clarity, Section 28 prevails (ie, Section 23 is not relevant in Phase 2). The Golf Alliance will work with the Governor’s office to eliminate any confusion in language as we move from document to document and Phase to Phase.

As always, if you have any questions, please let me know – you can reach me best via email at bill.ackerley@wwgcsa.org.

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Some Modifications To Golf Operations’ Phase 1 Rules

The Governor’s office has relayed to Golf Alliance of Washington four updated rules for Golf Operations during Phase 1 of the state’s phased roll out of re-opening the state’s economy and out-of-home activities. I hope you are well. These amendments are effective immediately:

We are rescinding the prohibition of on-course waste receptacles. We are now allowing such receptacles, but only if lids are removed. This way, golfers will not make physical contact with the bins, and courses will no longer have to deal with excessive littering.

We are modifying the “one rider per power cart” rule. We are now allowing members of the same household to ride together. This amendment brings the rule in line with others that allow members of the same household to travel together.

Standalone driving ranges, attached driving ranges, and practice areas meeting the same standards that apply to golf courses are permitted to operate.

Golf Instruction is permitted as long as the instructor and student follow the safety measures set forth in the Golf Phase 1 Requirements.

You may have read about these before from the Golf Alliance, but now these practices have been officially documented and confirmed by the Governor’s office. If it is helpful, you can access the formal letter here.

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COVID-19: As Of May 11, GCSAA Recommends Keeping The Lids Off Garbage Cans

Concern has been expressed by Superintendents and Club Managers over the removal of garbage cans from golf courses and related areas available to their customers. Originally, a Back2Golf playbook developed by the National Alliance of Golf Associations advocated such a measure. But it has been found that this strategy has been difficult to manage and garbage has piled up in places that may cause safety and health issues to both players and maintainers of the golf courses alike.

The most recent Back2Golf Operations Playbook advocates that the best practice is to merely remove the lids from available receptacles to avoid players dealing with the related touch points. It might also be advantageous to use garbage can liners as well, though this tactic is not stated in the Playbook. It’s important to note that this guideline differs from Governor Inslee’s most recent COVID-19 Requirements and Recommendations. However, the Golf Alliance of Washington is encouraging the staff to update the order to reflect the most recent GCSAA guidelines. We encourage WWGCSA member Superintendents to use their best judgment when adapting these guidelines to what they are experiencing at their respective golf courses.

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Some Modest Changes To Golf Rules From The Governor's Office

While the Alliance of Golf Associations continues to push for Washington State to allow foursome play, some changes to the golf rules, however modest, were approved on Friday, May 8th:

  1. People from the same household can share a cart.
  2. Golf courses in counties that have been approved for Phase 2 can have foursomes. Governor’s office is going to announce the detailed plans for those counties on Monday. Those counties are Columbia, Garfield, Ferry, Lincoln, and Pend Oreille.

Note the following related information:

  • Regarding point #1: Previously, one adult and one minor could share a cart.
  • Regarding point #2: Phase 2 allows for all “outdoor activities which involve fewer than five people from outside your household.” You should also note that the five counties moved into Phase 2 are all east of the Cascade Range Divide and have experienced less than ten cases of COVID-19, and zero COVID-19 deaths to date.
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Jim Myers To Join Carol Rau for WWGCSA Virtual Spring Meeting

Jim Myers is scheduled to join Carol Rau as a speaker at our upcoming Virtual Spring Meeting, to be held online Thursday, May 14 at 11 a.m.

Jim is a 2-time former past president of the WWGCSA. Now an honorary WWGCSA member, Jim is currently the Superintendent at Columbia Edgewater Country. In the past Jim has been the Superintendent at Plateau Club in the Seattle area, and the Vail Golf Club in Vail Colorado. A lover of the game, Jim has played golf on five continents and over 20 different countries, and put together rounds for former Presidents of the United States. In his storied career, he’s gone through the process of seeking opportunities enough times to know that you have to have a goal in mind and be ready to grind. Patience is the key, as it usually takes longer to reach your goal than you think it should. Jim will talk on how persistence is the key to professional growth in the world of Golf Course Superintendents.

Ryan Semritc, President of the WWGCSA, will join Jim and Carol for a roundtable session to wrap up the online meeting. Be sure to catch Ryan, Jim, and Carol Rau by registering here.

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Golf Courses, COVID-19 and The State of Washington

Superintendents had to move fast. Back in the beginning of March, the Governor was ordering people to avoid gathering in group sizes that became smaller and smaller. Restaurants were being told to limit their offerings to To-Go orders, large companies were encouraging their employees to work from home if possible. NBC National News was describing Seattle, the metropolitan area of which was originally regarded the epicenter of the virus’s entry into the United States, as a ghost town.

In the golf world, clubhouses were closing, pro shops stopped selling, PGA Professionals stopped teaching, but the golf courses themselves remained open. Quickly, Superintendents devised creative ways to keep golf courses and their crews safe while the rest of the world was shutting down. Cups were turned upside down, or raised above ground level, or eliminated altogether; rakes and water bottles were removed. Golf carts were being sanitized from user to user, and limited in their use. Leaders at golf clubs and within industry associations were gathering their collective minds to address what golf’s response should be, as almost every other industry in our economy was being negatively impacted by orders from the government to shut off business activity—to simply stay home in order to stay healthy, in order to mitigate the spread of a difficult to imagine pandemic.

The Golf Alliance of Washington, comprised of the leadership of the Associations of Superintendents, PGA Professionals, Club Managers and the Golfers themselves walked the fine line between promoting golf as a safe and healthy activity amidst concerns of the spread of disease, and strongly advocating that golf remain open during a time of mass closure elsewhere. The tightrope between promotion and advocacy was out of respect for uncertainty amongst golf leaders, government officials and the public themselves as to whether it was right to have people walking golf courses when so many others were sheltered in place. The verdict became clear when State Parks and the Department of the Interior closed off their open spaces and trails when too many people were not treating the importance of social distancing diligently enough. Golf courses were soon to follow.

Many employees associated with golf were either laid off, furloughed or told to simply stay home. Like every other business in the state, and many around the country, paying the bills was going to become challenging, especially for public courses that didn’t have the benefit of membership dues as an ongoing stream of cash flow. Nonetheless, the continued maintenance of golf courses was deemed “essential” by the state. So, greens crews continued working. Not all crew members were retained, as some courses reduced their maintenance crew to merely meet the standard of minimum maintenance. Seasonal hiring was delayed. Others had their hours reduced as Superintendents managed to keep their entire team working, albeit with reduced hours and in staggered shifts—so as to minimize the number of non-household encounters individual crew members would have to deal with.

Still others, while perhaps violating the spirit of “essential maintenance,” kept their entire crews working full-time while taking advantage of open golf courses to complete projects that were on their to do list, but would otherwise require a much longer period of time to get completed. In addition to some long-term cost efficiencies, there was an element of safety, due to a lack of golfers, in mind as these projects were continued.

As you might expect, there are elements of irony in the circumstance of the time. Crews were happy that their jobs were not as negatively impacted as other course employees, yet wondered if those who weren’t working but still getting paid might be getting an unexpected benefit that golf crew employees missed out on. It might seem reasonable to maintain safe distancing while maintaining a course, even when doing some project work, yet there was at least one entire crew that had to quarantine itself for two weeks because a co-worker had contracted the virus. More than one Superintendent was known to comment that working on the course without having to dodge the golfers was the most carefree time he’d spent on his job. But after a while, the lack of satisfaction of seeing the crews’ efforts not enjoyed by golfers, and the uncertainty created by wondering how long the business of golf could survive with little or no revenue, led to a yearning for a return to some sort of normal.

As of May 5, golf courses are hosting golfers again, only with more restrictions than even before the courses closed in the first place. Still no food service, no pro shop help—the clubhouses are closed. Rakes are still missing. Golfers are encouraged to bring their own water and pack out their own garbage, as bottled water and garbage cans are missing from the courses for now. Perhaps the most telling restriction is limiting groups to household members plus one non-household player. For public courses, this is difficult to manage when only online transactions are advised, and tee times are being booked in advance. As a result, if you go to the website of a public course to reserve a tee time, the online system will only let you book twosomes. There are exceptions to this, as Tribal courses are subject to Federal guidelines which do not prevent the offering of foursomes. At many private courses, the twosome issue is still a challenge. Optics matter, so threesomes and foursomes, while permitted within households, are being closely monitored. For some clubs, twosomes are the only option. For others, groups of more than two are limited to mid-afternoon or later.

Superintendents are split on this issue. Perhaps not 50/50, but split nonetheless. On one side, limiting play to twosomes is deemed to unnecessarily limit revenue and enjoyment of the game without quantifiable health benefits. The counter argument is that opening golf courses is intended to be a safe outdoor option, alongside hiking and fishing, it’s not about the game or business when so many others are being deprived. Limiting play to twosomes mitigates the unwanted gathering of players in the parking lot, in the practice areas, on the tees and on the course itself.

One thing is for certain, the twosome issue has created an incredible sense of urgency for golfers seeking tee times once courses are open. Demand is outpacing supply. Courses are reporting that within just a few hours after opening phone lines on Monday the 4th they are filling up their tee sheets for the entire week of May 5 thru May 10. Private clubs are limiting how many times an individual member can play over seven days, so as to provide more opportunity to everyone. And, despite the worries that limiting to twosomes might make it financially infeasible for public courses to even open, some operators are reporting that the demand has been so high, that even with twosomes they are describing their early business as “robust.”

The opening has put some added stress on Superintendents and their crews, as they roll with the return of golfers. Many golfers have been walking courses in the wake of closures, noting how beautiful they are as crews keep them maintained without the scars of divots and cart tracks. As courses open, expectations are high that the courses will be pristine, tournament-caliber, at least for a short while. Superintendents know this expectation, and have been ramping up their crews and operations accordingly for the last week.

So what happens now? We are in Phase 1 of Governor Inslee’s four-phased approach to re-opening the state’s economy. It’s valuable to note, that of the few changes related to outdoor activities that Phase 1 relaxed, golf is the only one that contributes to an increase in economic activity. The current expectation is that this Phase will last thru the end of May, with little chance of ending sooner than May 25. The Governor says he is relying on data that he is reviewing in three-week cycles. The hope would be that every three weeks, the findings of that data improves enough to allow the state’s business activity to move on to the next Phase. The twosome issue should go away in Phase 2, as recreation will be allowed to involve up to 5 people who are not of the same household. Also, by Phase 2, Clubhouse lounges and dining rooms can reopen, limiting their capacity to 50% of normal, and providing tables to serve 5 or fewer patrons. Pro Shops can re-open, albeit with certain restrictions commensurate with other retail operations. The operation of the golf course, as it relates to minimizing touch points, will be reviewed from phase to phase as well.

But some things will be with us for the foreseeable future. An adherence to safe social distancing for certain. This will be hard, as handshakes, hugs, and even kisses are part of our social fabric. But we will be mindful of distancing nonetheless, as some of us will be more, perhaps even much more, sensitive to watching their personal space than others. And all of us, as friends and colleagues, will have to be respectful of that. The virus will not be gone. The “curve” will have flattened and be on a downward trend, but there is a real fear of a resurgence of the virus as we relax social distancing and allow larger gatherings. For that reason, the government will be asking businesses, including golf courses, to keep track of who comes and goes from their establishment. The process may seem intrusive, because relative to our norms it is intrusive, but the objective is to be better prepared if, or perhaps when, the curve turns back upward. As some of us contract the virus even as restrictions are eased, as is likely to happen; by keeping track of our encounters we can more readily test those who may be at risk faster and perhaps even quarantine them sooner—and thereby not strain our healthcare system to the extent we did during the first round of the virus.

Like many who were asked to stay on the job, when most everyone else was subject to closing, Superintendents had to be nimble and adjust the way they operated in order to keep their teams safe while continuing to keep their golf courses healthy. As we re-open, with not too much warning, Superintendents are being asked to shift gears again, to provide golfers with a quality product and experience while managing their teams and their golf course within the new norms. New modes of staffing, re-purposed equipment, and adjusted standards of operation are the norm today. The only thing we know is that Supers will be asked to move fast again. Until an effective vaccine to protect against COVID-19 comes available in abundance, the current new norm will likely not be normal for very long.

Be safe and stay healthy.

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WWGCSA Spring Meeting Goes Virtual

Carol Rau, a Certified Professional in Human Resources with over twenty years of experience in recruiting, career coaching, résumé building, public speaking and Human Resources consulting, has accepted our invitation to be the keynote speaker to our 2020 Spring Meeting, to be held online via webinar May 14 at 11 a.m. Carol was originally scheduled to headline our Spring Meeting at Tacoma Country & Golf Club back in March, but the event was postponed amid the current COVID-19 pandemic. Her online talk will be followed by a roundtable discussion featuring WWGCSA members.

Carol will offer insights as a Career Consultant, Speaker, and Writer with winning strategies in resume building, interview preparation, portfolio consulting, and career coaching for professionals in the golf industry. Since 2005, she has provided career consulting services for GCSAA and its members including resume and cover letter building, interview preparation, portfolio consulting, and career coaching. Rau founded Career Advantage in 2003 and thrives on assisting golf industry professionals to stand out among job candidates, conduct winning job searches, and ultimately advance their careers.

We hope you’ll support the WWGCSA’s efforts to continue bringing professional education, despite these restrictive times. You can register for the event here. All registrants will be sent a link to the online event shortly before May 14. We looking forward to seeing you . . . er, in some form or fashion anyway.

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Alliance of National Golf Associations Create Back2Golf Operations Playbook

An alliance of golf associations, including the GCSAA, USGA and PGA of America, came together to create the Back2Golf Operations Playbook

The operational underpinnings of the plan were developed from the White House and CDC Guidelines for Opening Up America Again plan, and include a three-phased approach to golf. This document has been shared with Governor Inslee’s office and serves as a reference for weekly talking points between the Golf Alliance of Washington and the governor’s staff. As you will note, two topical elements in phase one of the Playbook were treated more cautiously by the Governor: the Playbook provides for foursomes and members of the same household to ride together in carts; the Governor’s recent order limits play to no more than two players from different households, and only adult in a power cart. As we have reported previously, the Golf Alliance of Washington will continue to raise these issues as part of our weekly requests for review.

The Playbook is intended to be helpful to Superintendents, their crews and overall golf operations become confident about what is expected of them to safe, and what to prepare for as we roll through the different phases of reopening golf and the economy at large.

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Golf to Reopen May 5, But With Significant Restrictions

Governor Inslee announced that golf courses may open for business on May 5, but it won’t be business as usual. The governor’s office reached out to the Golf Alliance of Washington, which includes our Western Washington and Inland Empire Superintendent Associations plus Washington Golf (the golfers), the PNW PGA (Golf Professionals), and the Evergreen Chapter of CMAA (Club Managers) to seek our guidance as to how courses could open while maintaining safe social distancing guidelines. While the first unraveling of the restrictions weren’t as expansive as the Golf Alliance had recommended (for example, the Alliance advocated for foursomes, but the governor wasn’t convinced that could be done safely), we are very appreciative of the governor’s office for looking at the data, and being willing to open up golf when so many businesses are not yet able to open up at all.

Some significant requirements upon opening are:

  1. No cash transactions, preferably only online transactions
  2. Play in twosomes, unless up to four players are all from the same household
  3. Restrict use of practice areas to those with tee times less 30 minutes away
  4. No golf course can begin operations until they can meet the requirements of the governor’s order.
  5. The restrictions on golf operations will be re-assessed on a weekly basis.

You can find all the details in the COVID-19 Golfing Restart Requirements.

Be sure to read all of this information with the executive teams at your respective clubs or organizations to ensure that you can operate within the requirements. You can reach me at bill.ackerley@wwgcsa.org if you have any questions.

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The Golf Alliance of Washington Encourages State Officials to Open Golf Courses in First Wave of Post-Order Allowable Activities

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Please click here to read the letter.

GCSAA Disaster Relief Fund Available To Those Impacted By COVID-19

Many GCSAA members have had their lives impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The GCSAA Disaster Relief Fund is now providing financial assistance to those affected by the crisis. 

GCSAA will provide up to $500 to members who have experienced the loss of their jobs, layoffs or have been unable to work due to the effects of COVID-19. Funds can be used for items such as, but not limited, to groceries, medication, fuel, personal bills and childcare.

Any GCSAA member is eligible for this assistance, excluding the Friend of the Golf Course Superintendent classification.

  • Assistance will be processed on a first-come, first served basis. Members must contact GCSAA at 800-472-7878 or email mbrhelp@gcsaa.org.
  • Members are also welcome to submit names of GCSAA members they may know who need assistance.

GCSAA's goal is to provide financial assistance as quickly as possible.

Donations made to the fund are an opportunity for those in the golf industry to directly assist their peers and are tax deductible. The fund is administered through GCSAA's philanthropic organization, the Environmental Institute for Golf. You can donate today here or by texting Disaster to 785-693-2593 and following the link in the response. 

Click here for more information.

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GCSAA Action Alert—Tell Congress to Support 501(c)(7) Organizations

Please see an Action Alert forwarded from the GCSAA.  It asks that golf courses and clubs reach out to their Congressman to point out the apparent inequity of omitting businesses organized as 501c7 from the benefits provided in the recent CARES Act.


Congress recently passed the $2 trillion CARES Act to support businesses, working individuals, and families struggling to deal with the fallout of COVID-19. While the golf industry was not specifically excluded from the bill, clubs that are organized as a 501(c)(7) - and the employees who work for them - do not currently qualify for some benefits included in the bill, specifically the Paycheck Protection Program.  

Congress is expected to take up additional legislation in the coming days to fix issues such as this that may have been overlooked in the CARES Act. Although not all golf courses are organized as a 501(c)(7), many are, and the overall strength of the golf industry relies upon fair treatment for all facilities. Use the action alert below to tell your members of Congress to include 501(c)(7) organizations in the Paycheck Protection Program. Also, please reach out to congressional contacts you’ve established as an Ambassador. You can use this alert as talking points.   

If your club is, in fact, organized as a 501(c)(7), we encourage you to personalize your message by including details, such as your club name and number of employees impacted by the club's current exclusion from PPP. 

Action Alert: Tell Congress to Support 501(c)(7) Organizations 

Thank you, 
GCSAA Government Affairs

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Governor Extends Stay Home—Stay Healthy to May 4th

Just so you have it at your fingertips if necessary, please find Governor Inslee’s proclamation 20-25.1, extending his Stay Home – Stay Healthy order to May 4, 2020. The original emergency proclamation (20-25) was set to expire April 6 (non-essential business closures were to expire April 8).

I hope this finds you safe and well.

Definition of Minimum Golf Course Maintenance

Click here to read a one-page document from the GCSAA and USGA outlining what they maintain constitutes minimum golf course maintenance. You may find this helpful to lean on if you are ever queried by either your management, crew or local community as to what guide you use to determine your own level of minimum maintenance.

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The State's Position on Golf

As I mentioned in a previous email, the WWGCSA had submitted a form of inquiry with the state to clarify its position on golf. Please see the state’s response below, in summary:

All golf operations are to be closed
Essential maintenance is permitted

The verbatim response:

Thank you for your inquiry. Under Proclamation 20-25, neither the operation nor enjoyment of a golf course qualifies as an essential business or activity. Only minimum basic operations, as described in (3)(d) of the Proclamation, are permitted. Course maintenance is also permitted insofar as it prevents imminent damage to the fairways, greens, and other outdoor amenities.

Please know that we take this decision very seriously. Nonetheless, we believe that the best way to control the spread of COVID-19 is to temporarily limit interaction as much as possible. This is not an indictment on the importance of golf, nor is it permanent.

We have clarity.

I hope this finds you well.

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Seeking Clarification from Governor's Office

The Golf Alliance of WA has submitted this form as part of our attempt to get clarification from the Governor’s office on issues related to the Golf Industry. The WWGCSA Board believes it would be helpful if more our membership and constituents also completed and submitted the form to give us the best chance of getting clarity. If you would do so, and share the link with your general managers, we think that could be very helpful. It doesn’t take long, and to make it easier for you and also foster consistency in the tone of our request, I have provided you a copy of how I filled out the form here.

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Update on Proclamation

Here is what the WWGCSA and the Golf Alliance of Washington has learned from the current “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” proclamation by Governor Inslee.

Play on Golf Courses —Given the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order made by Governor Inslee on March 23rd, Washington Golf in collaboration with the Golf Alliance of Washington immediately sent a letter to the Governor’s office asking for clarification on whether golf courses could stay open and are intended to be available for use as outdoor exercise. As of 1:00 p.m. on 3/25, we are still one of 3,000 requests for clarification they have been working through. We have been informed that they are developing a comprehensive document to all the requests and we may not see anything for another 24 hours.

We will continue to seek clarification and let you know. However, based on the recent announcements from Washington State Parks and Department of Natural Resources, it would be difficult to say courses are authorized to operate without clarity from the Governor’s office. As of right now, it’s a judgement call each golf course is going to have to make on their own. Look for a follow up email once we receive communication from the Governor. We will support the Governor’s decision as we fight this virus; we just seek clarity to his order.

Maintenance of Golf Courses
Section 3 of the Proclamation states:

To implement this mandate, I hereby order that, effective midnight on March 25, 2020, all non-essential businesses in Washington State are prohibited from conducting all activities and operations except minimum basic operations . . .

For purposes of this Proclamation, minimum basic operations are the minimum activities necessary to maintain the value of the business’ inventory, preserve the condition of the business’ physical plant and equipment, ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits, facilitate employees of the business being able to continue to work remotely from their residences, and related functions.

We believe this information should provide the necessary cover for courses to at least take care of their grounds per the wording “maintain the value of the business’ inventory [and] preserve the condition of the business’ physical plant and equipment . . .”

These are incredibly uncertain times for everyone. The Western WA Golf Course Superintendents’ Association wishes everyone to be safe and stay healthy. We will keep you posted as we learn more.

May this find you safe and well,
Bill Ackerley
Executive Director

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Governor's Proclamation

Click here to read the Governor’s “proclamation,” which is a different document than his “order” that was sent previously. Despite being much shorter than the order, it actually addresses the issue of “maintenance” though not in the category of golf maintenance specifically: 

See section 3, second paragraph:

To implement this mandate, I hereby order that, effective midnight on March 25, 2020, all non-essential businesses in Washington State are prohibited from conducting all activities and operations except minimum basic operations.

Then see section 3.d.:

 For purposes of this Proclamation, minimum basic operations are the minimum activities necessary to maintain the value of the business’ inventory, preserve the condition of the business’ physical plant and equipment, ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits, facilitate employees of the business being able to continue to work remotely from their residences, and related functions.

While clarification or even a designation related to ongoing maintenance from the Governor’s office would be valuable, your WWGCSA believes this information should provide the necessary cover for courses to at least take care of their grounds so as to “maintain the value of the business’ inventory [and] preserve the condition of the business’ physical plant and equipment . . . ”

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Seeking Clarity on Executive Order

After much discussion amongst fellow associations of the Golf Alliance of Washington, with input from each of our national organizations, this letter is being delivered to the Governor’s office seeking a response on two items:

We seek clarity of whether his Executive Order forces the closing of golf courses for the purpose of outdoor exercise.

If courses are to close, we seek that golf course maintenance be designated an essential business activity.

Please note that we are not advocating one way or the other as to whether golf courses should remain open, we are merely seeking clarification as to whether golf courses are meant to be included as “outdoor exercise,” a phrase used in the Governor’s Executive Order that did not provide any more detail. We are, however, advocating that if the courses are to be closed, that golf course maintenance be designated as an essential business activity, for reasons articulated in the letter. For your benefit, the 14-page Executive Order itself as presented on the Governor’s website can be read here.

We will let you know as soon as we hear a response.

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What Superintendents Are Doing To Manage Social Distancing On Their Golf Courses

Eliminating things golfers will likely touch:

  • Near the clubhouse: communal push carts, airhose nozzles, handheld shoe brushes, cups on the practice green (ask players to use tees or coins as targets)
  • On the course: Rakes, divot bottles, ballwashers, water jugs, and flag sticks (but leave the cups at normal height, challenge players to hit to the middle of the green).

Closing the following areas:

  • Practice ranges
  • Practice greens
  • Water Fountains

Changing the following things:

  • At least one Superintendent “removed the cups from our putting green, filled in the holes and placed rope stakes on the green to give something for golfers to putt to (similar to what is done at Bandon Dunes).”
  • Some Superintendents have raised the cups on the course’s green by an inch, or simply flip the cups upside down
  • Most all have covered ball washers in some way, at times with trash bags and tape, or perhaps removed them altogether.
  • Bathrooms: sanitize the inside and outside handles, as we all as the seats in a Sani-can by using a bleach solution 2-4x a day
  • Any doors not already closed for the time being should be propped open
  • Provide players with sanitized towels that are exchangeable at the turn.
  • Allow only one rider per power cart, unless riders are spouses—and disinfect
  • Greg Matz of Inglewood did something different:
    • Placeholder image Here was one thing we came up with the for the cup. A 4” circle of AstroTurf with a hole cut in the middle to slide down the flagstick. We set it about ½” deep in the cup so the ball can roll in, but nobody has to reach in the cup or touch the flagstick. Started on Tuesday, and a member had a hole in one on the first day! We like it better than leaving the cup 1” up to deflect balls.

Do you have another idea, please send it our way to share.

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Update on “Recreational Facilities” Definition

(View enlarged image)

All, Thank you for your patience, but at least for now we have clarity as it relates to use of our golf courses (not to be confused with our clubhouses). It’s not easy to find, but the governor’s website now has provided more detailed guidance as it relates to Washington State’s policy on Social Distancing, with specific reference to Golf Courses. See the ALLOWED box, middle column below: You can find the summary by clicking here.

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Be safe and healthy.

Dear WWGCSA Member,

Last night, Governor Inslee announced that he will sign a statewide emergency proclamation today to temporarily shutdown “restaurants, bars, and entertainment and recreational facilities.”

The WWGCSA has been reaching out this morning to as many resources as possible as to what “recreational facilities” means. Thus far, we do not have a clear answer as to whether golf courses are intended to be a part of that category. The feedback we are receiving is that while golf courses are listed under the category of Recreational Facilities per the state’s Department of Revenue code, they may not be what the governor intended per his decree. The general belief is that he is targeting indoor facilities and gatherings of 50 or more. But we don’t know for sure.

We are working with the Washington Golf Alliance (WA Golf, CMAA, PNGA, WWPGA) to get a clear answer. As soon as we have one, we will let you know.

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Both the OGCSA/WWGCSA Service Project and WWGCSA Fivesome Postponed

All, amidst the multitude of other impacts that the current health crisis has placed on events both inside and outside our region, I have two more to announce.

Our service project that we conduct in concert with the Oregon Golf Course Superintendents’ Association, originally scheduled to be held at the Children’s Course in Gladstone, Oregon this coming Thursday (March 18) has been postponed to a later date, yet to be determined. This event was to be the second in two years jointly served by our two chapters. Despite the natural disappointment expressed by those at the Children’s course, all involved agree that this is the right decision at this time.

Also, one of the WWGCSA’s largest events of the year, the Fivesome, originally scheduled to be held at Overlake Golf & Country Club Thursday May 7 will be postponed to a later date, likely sometime in late summer or early fall. As soon as there is consensus as to when it is prudent to put on large gatherings again in our region, we will inform as to the venue and date that we are able to secure for the 2020 WWGCSA Fivesome.

By this point, most all of us have been impacted by COVID-19 and/or the measures in place to attempt to combat it. The WWGCSA supports our respective leaders in this effort, and wish you and those important to you safe and healthy wishes as you grapple with these unusual times.

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WWGCSA Cancels Spring Meeting As Our Region Grapples With The COVID-19 Virus

Given the health fears that have emerged over the last few weeks, especially in our region and emphasized by Governor Inslee’s declaration today about group gatherings, the Western Washington Golf Course Superintendent’s Association has decided to cancel our Spring Meeting on March 24, scheduled to be held at Tacoma Country and Golf Club.

In consultation with Board President Ryan Semritc and other Board members, we felt it was best that, as an Association, we should support both our governmental leadership and the advice of expert health professionals in doing the right thing—as the rest of the world and our immediate community grapples with slowing down the impact of the COVID-19 virus. We hope to find a way to return to Tacoma Country & Golf Club in the not too distant future. At this time, there are no plans to change any of the rest of our scheduled events, but we will continue to monitor things and let you know if any other plans change. In the meantime, the WWGCSA wishes for you and your loved ones to be safe and healthy.

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Oregon and Washington Golf Course Superintendents To Help Get Children's Course Ready For Spring

A collection of as many as 60 Golf Course Superintendents from the states of Oregon and Washington are gathering at the Children’s Course in Gladstone,OR to provide volunteer labor and equipment to help get the course ready for the upcoming Spring and Summer Seasons. The Service Project will be held on Thursday, March 19, between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m.

The effort is a collaboration of the Oregon Golf Course Superintendents Association (OGCSA) and the Western Washington Golf Course Superintendents Association (WWGCSA). Each is a regional chapter of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA). This is the second annual joint service project between the two GCSAA Chapters. Last year, a group of Superintendents from both Associations made the trip to American Lake Veterans Course to help Randy Moen and his team get their course ready for the upcoming season.

The Children’s Course is a place where every child is provided the opportunity to pursue a pathway to personal success through building a strong mind and learning lessons for life through the game of golf. Since 1996 the mission of the Children’s Course has been to provide every child an opportunity for personal success. Founder, Duncan Campbell, envisioned using golf to provide positive youth development by focusing on instilling integrity and making people of rich character. The belief is that the game of golf affords a holistic learning experience that teaches interpersonal skills, sportsmanship, etiquette, self-control, mental discipline as well as physical skills. Students learn to be responsible and develop a sense of judgment as they evaluate actions and their consequences.

Getting the course ready for Spring with the help of the Golf Course Superintendents, who greatly admire the mission that the Children’s Course serves, is symbolic of the appreciation that all adult citizens have for opportunities to advance the learning of our young people through outdoor activities.

If you would like to help in the effort, while representing the WWGCSA, your participation would be greatly appreciated. You can register through this link.

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WWGCSA Invites Carol Rau, Certified HR Professional, To Speak At March 24 Spring Meeting

It’s difficult to focus on doing what is necessary on your current job, while also staying on top of making sure you are well-positioned, and well prepared, for whatever is next. Whether what’s next is part of a designed path, an unforeseen opportunity, or an unfortunate setback. For this reason, it’s important to be up to speed about how opportunities in our industry are being marketed, evaluated and fulfilled in today’s landscape. To help with all of this, the WWGCSA has invited Carol Rau, a Certified Professional in Human Resources with over twenty years of experience in recruiting, career coaching, resume building, public speaking and Human Resources consulting, to our 2020 Spring Meeting at Tacoma Country & Golf Club (Tue March 24th).

Carol will offer insights as a Career Consultant, Speaker, and Writer with winning strategies in resume building, interview preparation, portfolio consulting, and career coaching for professionals in the golf industry. Since 2005, she has provided career consulting services for GCSAA and its members including resume and cover letter building, interview preparation, portfolio consulting, and career coaching. Rau founded Career Advantage in 2003 and thrives on assisting golf industry professionals to stand out among job candidates, conduct winning job searches, and ultimately advance their careers.

She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Communications from the University of Kansas where she was a member of the Women’s Golf Team. Carol has served on several Boards of Directors in the Lawrence, Kansas community including her local club as former President and Greens Chair. She enjoys golfing and cheering for the Jayhawks with her husband and two sons.

Come here Carol speak to your career needs and aspirations. Join us at the Spring Meeting by registering here. We look forward to seeing you, Tuesday, March 24 at Tacoma Country & Golf Club

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Randy Moen Named 2020 Recipient of Paul Backman Memorial Distinguished Service Award

Randy Moen had spent most of his adult career as a Union Sheetmetal/HVAC worker. But in 2007 he started volunteering at American Lake Veterans Golf Course. Back then, the course had only 9 holes and was having difficulty finding the resources to be maintained well. Randy reflects that that’s when “I decided to put a little more effort into the appearance of this beautiful course.”

Randy became the Superintendent at American Lake Veterans Golf Course in 2014. At about the same time, Jack Nicklaus donated the design work which led to the development of the course’s back 9 in 2015.

The ALVGC website explains that the course exists solely because of dedicated volunteers. Combined with the gift of golf legend Jack Nicklaus, the nation’s only golf course designed for the rehabilitation of wounded and disabled veterans now offers our deserving veterans a first class, entirely ADA-accessible, 18-hole golf course.

Randy believes that “with Nicklaus’ gift, the help of 40 eager grounds volunteers, and an awesome mechanic named Bob Funseth (who has volunteered at American Lake for 20 years) we have made ALVGC into a premier golf course. In 2019, we had over 36,000 rounds played.”

Of course, it’s more than that. Randy’s infectious attitude and enthusiasm has made it easy for the WWGCSA and others to rally behind his, and his large crew of volunteers, efforts to make the American Lake course a special one. Randy has overseen dramatic change as well as an influx of outside help to assist in the transformation. The result has included a significant upgrade in the facility to be fully accessible to veterans of all physical abilities, which included the March 2019 installation of Power Tees, which assists veterans’ ability to more easily take advantage of the driving range.

In recognition of his contributions to the ongoing development of the American Lake Veterans Golf Course, its contribution to the lives of our veterans, and the collective contribution that his efforts and the Course itself brings to the reputation of the game of golf, the WWGCSA is proud to present its 2020 Paul Backman Memorial Distinguished Service Award to Randy Moen.

As you would expect, Randy recognizes that he and the course have received a lot of help saying, “We could not do this without the continued support from the GCSAA, the WWGCSA, the OGCSA, Washington Rock, Turfstar Western Equipment (Toro), Ventrac and all of our great, wonderful, unselfish supporters. Thank you all for contributing to this Paul Backman Memorial Distinguished Service Award and the recognition. This award means the world to me! Thank you.”

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On the Move

Jeremy Roth . . .
. . . is the new Golf Superintendent at Washington National Golf Club as of the month of June. Jeremy was previously the Superintendent at Willows Run.

Justin Jones . . .
 . . . has been promoted to the position of Superintendent at Broadmoor Golf Club as of the month of May. Justin will continue to serve with Sean McDonough who has taken on some additional roles at Broadmoor. Justin was previously the Assistant Superintendent at Broadmoor.

Steven LaMont . . .
 . . . is the new Assistant Superintendent at Rainier Country Club as of late February 2020. Steven was previously the Spray Tech at Inglewood Golf Club.

Kyle Daviscourt . . .
 . . . is the new Spray Tech at Inglewood Golf Club as of March 2020. Previously was part of the crew at Broadmoor Golf Club.

Michael Snyder . . .
 . . . is the new Golf Course Superintendent at the Cedars at Dungeness in Sequim as of October 14 2019. Previously, Michael was the Superintendent at Sunland Golf & Country Club, also in Sequim, for the last four years.

Abel Anderson . . .
 . . . is the new Golf Course Superintendent at Gold Mountain Golf Club as of March 2019. Previous to this, he spent 7 years as Golf Course Superintendent at Bear Mountain Golf Club in Chelan, Washington.

Marcus Harness . . .
. . . is the new Golf Course Superintendent at Sand Point Country Club. Starting at the end of August, he will be replacing Craig Sampson (CGCS) who is retiring after 30 years with the club. This off-season, Sand Point will be undergoing a full course renovation as part of its Master Plan developed by architect David McLay Kidd. Marcus has worked at multiple clubs in the area, but was most recently the Golf Course Superintendent at Sahalee Country Club under Tom Huesgen, Director of Golf Course Operations.

Ryan Rosevear . . .
. . . is the new Superintendent at Foster Golf Links. Ryan was promoted to that position on June 3 of this year after two years of grooming for the position. Curt Chandler retired after 15 years of service. Ryan previously worked for Sam Sprague at Rainier Golf & CC as an assistant superintendent.

Michael Anderson . . .
. . . is the new Equipment Manager at Foster Golf Links. Michael was formerly at Chambers Bay.

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