Lawrence, Kansas, United States: Gary Ingram, Certified Golf Course Superintendent and Director of Agronomy at Metropolitan Golf Links, has been selected to receive the 2020 President’s Award for Environmental Stewardship by the Board of Directors of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA).
Ingram will officially receive the award during the Opening Session of the 2020 Golf Industry Show in Orlando on January 29. The Opening Session is presented in partnership with Syngenta, an Executive Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.
The GCSAA President’s Award for Environmental Stewardship was established in 1991 to recognise ‘an exceptional environmental contribution to the game of golf; a contribution that further exemplifies the golf course superintendent’s image as a steward of the land.’
“Gary Ingram’s career is a shining example of how superintendents are making the golf industry more environmentally sustainable,” said GCSAA President Rafael Barajas, CGCS. “In addition, he has brought the message of the many benefits golf courses to his community through tireless outreach efforts. He is true steward of the land and champion for the industry.”
Ingram keeps Oakland’s Metropolitan Golf Links, an 18-hole golf course that sits on a former landfill, in the public’s mind by collaborating with numerous community organisations, including the Police Athletics League, Spanish Unity Council, Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and the Oakland City Council.
Ingram, a 39-year GCSAA member, also serves on the local water district’s landscape advisory committee. Outreach to the next generation of golfers comes through Metropolitan Golf Links’ non-profit organisation, the Oakland Turfgrass Educational Initiative, which provides STEAM field trips to 200 area students each year.
“My parents were both teachers and I was always proud of how they positively affected the youth in our community,” Ingram said about his affinity for community involvement.
He added: “Through Metropolitan Golf Links, I facilitate the Oakland Turfgrass Education Initiative (OTEI). OTEI is a non-profit organisation dedicated to teaching environmental science, agronomy and using the course as a living lab for Oakland students.
“Since then, we have hosted over 2,000 students and had dozens of high school interns, some of whom have become employees at Metro. This has proven to be a great opportunity to both teach and maintain my core values of environmental stewardship and community involvement while also doing a job that I enjoy.”
The 39-year GCSAA member grew up in Berkeley, California, near Tilden Park Golf Course where he worked various jobs while he was in high school. It was both his love for the outdoors and nature as well as his stints on the Tilden Park maintenance staff that drove him to earn a degree in ornamental horticulture from Merritt College and set his career path.
“Now, after 50 years and being involved with numerous areas of the golf business, I still feel blessed to be involved with the creation of beautiful recreation facilities for our communities while enjoying the wonders of Mother Nature,” Ingram said.
Ingram’s leadership in the industry has been well-documented through the numerous awards he has received, including the national GCSAA/Golf Digest Environmental Leaders in Golf Awards in 2014 and 2018, CourseCo Superintendent of the Year, and GCSA of Northern California Superintendent of the Year.
In his 15 years at Metropolitan Golf Links, Ingram has employed an integrated pest management plan, chemical application management plan and water conservation practices such as hand watering, reduction of irrigated turf, and use of an enclosed wastewater treatment recycling system.
Ingram is also working to make Metropolitan Links a zero-waste facility. He recently served on the steering committee to create a best management practices guide for California golf courses.
“(The President’s Award) is special because it shows how golf courses and our industry can be more than recreational facilities and how they are truly community assets,” Ingram said. “But my colleagues, co-workers, and of course my family, deserve much of the credit, as they have shaped who I am and supported what I have done at Metropolitan, with OTEI, and through my career.”