Lawrence, Kansas, United States: Chris Cook, Golf Course Superintendent at Bailey Ranch Golf Club, has been named a Grassroots Ambassador Leadership (GAL) Award winner from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA).
The Grassroots Ambassador Leadership Award, presented quarterly in partnership with The Toro Company, recognises and honours individuals who have demonstrated growth in advocacy and advancement of the GCSAA Priority Issues Agenda through congressional outreach and relationship development with a member of Congress.
Through Toro, the winners will receive an all-expenses paid trip to take part in the 2021 National Golf Day in Washington, DC.
“Congratulations to Chris for his hard work and dedication to the golf industry,” GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans said. “He is a great example of how ambassadors work to educate lawmakers and their staff members on the benefits of golf, and that is making a difference.”
The GAL Award is part of the GCSAA Grassroots Ambassadors programme, which pairs GCSAA members with members of Congress to build strong relationships between them. More than 450 GCSAA members currently serve as ambassadors.
“While it is true that a major focus of being a Grassroots Ambassador is voicing GCSAA’s position on policy and petitioning for support, the fact remains that a lot of the people we are reaching out to do not understand golf and certainly aren’t in the golf course management industry,” said Cook, a 17-year member of GCSAA.
“Because superintendents are so knowledgeable and adept at what we do, we often forget that people who don’t do this for a living have no concept of the ins and outs that go into managing a golf course – especially the science-based decision making.”
Cook has been paired with Republican Senator Jim Inhofe since 2015 and has worked hard to create a relationship with the Senator and his staff and educate them on key golf issues. At first, he met with Congressional field staff in Oklahoma, but eventually Inhofe came to Bailey Ranch where the two discussed golf, policy and advocacy. Cook has also participated in previous National Golf Day events.
“To advocate for our industry most effectively we must first educate legislators and staffers on what a golf course superintendent is, exactly,” Cook said. “Education has allowed me to provide legislators with a clear understanding of the work performed by men and women in the golf course management industry and why they are deserving of Congressional support.”