Green Committee University

By Larry Gilhuly, director, Northwest Region
March 19, 2013

During the past 30 years, many USGA regional conferences have been attended and organized in the western United States. Occasionally, we are asked to speak in other regions of the country with the latest being a swing of three conferences in Florida. While the presentations were all excellent, one of the most exciting aspects of the meetings was the audience. Many of the superintendents attending brought with them their Green/Golf Committee, Board of Directors, general manager and golf professional. How did they accomplish this? Perhaps it was the name - Green Committee University.

The concept of Green Committee University comes from the Florida Region – John Foy, director; Todd Lowe, agronomist; and Shelly Foy, administrative assistant. The entire program ran from 8:30 a.m. to noon and consisted of presentations from Todd, John, Southeast Regional Affairs director Kathy Gordon and yours truly. However, as noted with the name of the conference, this was not a scientific convention for superintendents with a little rules of golf education on the side. Instead, the Florida contingent put together a program aimed directly at golfers. More specifically, a program aimed at the key decision makers of private, public and resort golf courses. This drew nearly 250 attendees to the three conferences with only 20 to 25 percent of the audience being golf course superintendents.

Topics included the following:

  • green speed
  • comparing golf courses and the dangers of this practice
  • cost savings versus cost cutting in  a tough economy
  • pace of play
  • golf course etiquette
  • common complaints from players and management responses
  • fundamental required programs for golf facilities in Florida.

What was the reaction from those in attendance? Based on surveys taken at each site the information was very well received. These programs are a perfect example of a good plan and organization coming together for the betterment of the entire golf industry.

So what is going on in the Northwest Region in this regard? The Denver area regional conference was completed March 20 and included similar topics and a good cross section of attendees. Next on our agenda will be the Golf Alliance of Washington meeting which will be conducted March 26 at the Environmental Services building at Chambers Bay. This program is also golfer oriented with five organizations (USGA, GCSAA, PGA, CMAA and WSGA) combining their efforts for a program focused on the areas of economic and environmental sustainability, pace of play and preparations for the 2015 U.S. Open. We also have scheduled a guided tour of Chambers Bay by architects Robert Trent Jones Jr. and Bruce Charlton. We hope to see you there.

The final list of USGA regional conferences for the year in the Northwest Region takes us to the Hawaiian Islands. In an effort to cut expenses for attendees, we are taking the conference to each of the four major islands. The program will be the same each time with the focus on topics related to the industry in Hawaii. Presentations will be made on water use, economic and environmental sustainability, the great myths of golf maintenance, pace of play, Rules of Golf and the dangers of too much sun exposure.

The Green Section offers on-site continuing education through the Turf Advisory Service. For more information and to schedule a visit to your golf facility in the Northwest Region, contact Larry Gilhuly at or Derf Soller at


Partner Links
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image

The USGA and Chevron have committed to using the game of golf to encourage students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. This commitment has led to the creation of extensive golf-focused STEM teaching tools, and has resulted in charitable contributions to support golf-related programs through Eagles for Education™

At U.S. Open Championships the Chevron STEM ZONE™ is an interactive experience highlighting the science and math behind the game of golf through a variety of hands-on exhibits and experiments.

The partnership has also produced educational materials such as the Science of Golf video series and a nationally-distributed newspaper insert which are provided to teachers as tools to enhance existing curriculum in schools. These lessons teach the science behind the USGA’s equipment testing, handicapping, and agronomy efforts.

For more interactive experiences featuring golf-focused STEM lessons, visit the partnership homepage.

Chevron image

Rolex has been a longtime supporter of the USGA and salutes the sportsmanship and great traditions unique to the game. This support includes the Rules of Golf where Rolex has partnered with the USGA to ensure golfers understand and appreciate the game.

As the official timekeeper of the USGA and its championships, they also provide clocks throughout host sites for spectator convenience.

For more information on Rolex and their celebration of the game, visit the Rolex and Golf homepage.

Rolex image

IBM has partnered with the USGA to bring the same technology, expertise, and innovation it provides to businesses all over the world to the USGA and golf's national championship.

IBM provides the information technology to develop and host the U.S. Open’s official website,, as well as the mobile apps and scoring systems for the three U.S. Open championships. These real-time technology solutions provide an enhanced experience for fans following the championship onsite and online.

For more information on IBM and the technology that powers the U.S. Open and businesses worldwide, visit

AmEx image

Lexus is committed to partnering with the USGA to deliver a best-in-class experience for the world’s best golfers by providing a fleet of courtesy luxury vehicles for all USGA Championships.

At each U.S. Open, Women’s Open and Senior Open, Lexus provides spectators with access to unique experiences ranging from the opportunity to have a picture taken with both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open trophies to autograph signings with legendary Lexus Golf Ambassadors in the Lexus Performance Drive Pavilion.

For more information on Lexus, visit

AmEx image
American Express

Together, American Express and the USGA have been providing world-class service to golf fans since 2006. By creating interactive U.S. Open experiences both onsite and online, American Express enhances the USGA’s effort to make the game more accessible and enjoyable for fans.

For more information on American Express visit

AmEx image