Tuesday, February 23, 2021

CIGCSA February Update

Business continues for the CIGCSA BOD as we march towards spring.  Thank you to all the PRP sponsors that have pledged their support to advancing the art and science of turfgrass management through the PRP.  We value the partnerships we are building and commit to providing value in your investment.  For those vendors that have not joined yet, please take a look at our offers.  We have added new price points, including a lower entry level minimum.  You can find the details here: Intro Letter      ; PRP Selection choices (click on the hyperlinks to be redirected)

Our first event of 2021 is less than 4 weeks away!!! The March Shop Meeting will be held at Lincoln Greens Golf Course in Springfield, IL.  Please make plans to attend.  There will be both an in-person option and online/virtual option.  Register here: March Shop Meeting

We will be following all CDC protocols for those attending in-person.  Full details of these protocols will be provided before the event.  Our presenters will be both virtual and in-person as well.  This is an aggressive undertaking logistically and we hope you will support this event and show your appreciation for those that are working very hard behind the scenes to make this a reality. This efforts shows our commitment to provide members the opportunity to excel and strive in this industry through professional education and development. Please reciprocate those efforts by joining us at the meeting.

On the heels of the March Shop meeting will be the Memorial Match Play tournament.  This event is passive and will stretch throughout the summer.  Individuals will coordinate their own matches at a time and place that is convenient.  This is a great opportunity to grow your networking circles and play golf, without interrupting schedules at work or home.  

Thanks you for reading and please register for the March Shop meeting as soon as possible!

Travis Williams, CGCS
Immediate Past President, CIGCSA

Friday, January 22, 2021

January Board Meeting outcomes

The Central Illinois Golf Course Superintendent’s Association’s Board of Directors met January 21st, 2021 to carry on its mission to provide its members the opportunity to excel professionally and enhance the art and science of turfgrass management.    

The Boards focus the first month of the year has been revamping the PRP (Partner Recognition Program).  The goal of the revitalized program is to provide more value to our PRP sponsors, while providing new and fresh ways for our members to receive information.  It is the Boards goal to further communications via Twitter and email, while providing more engaging content, such as video links, bios, member profiles, and course highlights.  Please follow CIGCSA on twitter @CIGCSA . The full PRP program will be released soon.  Check emails and website for more details.

The Golf Industry Show (virtual addition) is right around the corner.  Please take a look at GCSAA/GIS’s latest updates for the “Show” here.  I promise it is much more than a Zoom meeting!  We will also participate in the Annual Meeting (also virtual) that will elect our new national GCSAA Board of Directors for 2021.  The 2020 Board, GCSAA Leadership, and staff did an outstanding job navigating our industry through an unprecedented year.  There is no “playbook” to follow for a once in a century pandemic and GCSAA lead the way early using all available resources and relationships to lead golf forward.  

The events calendar is being finalized, with the March Shop Meeting taking shape for Mid-March.  While many of our experiences in 2020 will be duly forgotten, CIGCSA stumbled on a successful event nonetheless.  Our first ever match play event took place last summer out of necessity to keep groups and gatherings to a minimum.  The match play format allowed members to gather, compete, and stay safe in small socially distanced pairings.  Feedback was positive and we will continue the match paly format in 2021.  This year’s event will take place from April- September and will honor founding and influential past members of CIGCSA. We will be calling it the Memorial Match Play, to honor those in our past who made our association what it is today and have passed away over the years.  It is a great way to keep their memories alive and continue to tell our CIGCSA story to our younger members.  Keep tabs on your emails and the website for dates and details of all our 2021 events.  

Thanks for reading.

Travis Williams, CGCS

Immediate Past President, CIGCSA

Monday, December 21, 2020

New BOD Announced; Plans for 2021 Begin

Congratulations to the newly elected 2021 Board of Directors!  A special congrats to Paul Sermersheim and Tom Sluder for being "freshman" board members. Also, congratulations to Dan Crumrine on his election as President!  We are all excited to see what the board has in store for the upcoming year.  Here is the full list of 2021 Board of Directors

The newly elected boards members met last week via Zoom to start planning for 2021. The most immediate outcome from the meeting is the opportunity to send a select few members to the Virtual GIS for FREE!!!  With only one scholarship applications this year, the Board felt it was in the best interest of the CIGCSA members to provide opportunity for education to those that may have been most effected by the pandemic in 2020.  More details will follow, but any member struggling to justify the cost of the Virtual GIS to their employer due to club or course financial performance, may be eligible for a grant to cover the cost of registration.  Financial need will be heaviest weighted factor in determining the grant recipients. 

Although there is still a fair amount of uncertainty, the board wasted no time in setting a tentative schedule of events.  Unfortunately, the annual Winter Social is held at the beginning of January and Tier 3 mitigations may still be in place at that time, preventing us from gathering indoors at a dining establishment. Therefore, the board made the decision to combine the Winter Social and GIS Happy Hour into one event during the month of February. More details will follow once it is determined the parameters the event must work within to comply with State guidelines.  Another change early in 2021 is postponing the Education Event 'Shop Meeting' until April.  The board will create in-person and virtual plans for the event.  Once again, when it is clear what the best practices will be, final plans will be announced. 

Outside the early change to the 2021 events calendar, the Board remains very optimistic that events can/will resume by May 2021, if not earlier. There was energy and excitement as the board discussed the Scholarship Fundraiser, Vendor's Day, Chapter Championship, 9- Hole event, and adding a season long Match Play to the golf event lineup.  Outside of golf events, the board also plans to host a First Green Field Trip in September or October, the Annual Meeting/Education Event in December, and social events in January and February of 2022.

Finally, the Board wants to provide our vendors an opportunity to discuss the PRP (Partner Recognition Program) for 2021.  We recognize what a difficult year 2020 was for sponsorships and hope to provide the best PRP opportunities in 2021.  The first step is finalizing the events calendar.  This will be followed by a Zoom meeting for any current or future Class AF (vendors) that would like to hear about our offers and voice their opinions to the Board.  That meeting will be held January 4th at 10AM.  It will be a virtual meeting via Zoom and be a 'open house'-still event.  Meaning, vendors are welcome to drop in, hear about opportunities and come and go as the need throughout the 2 hours.  This is a great opportunity to provide feedback to the Board, so they can continue to improve the PRP program. Vendors, please save the date for Jan. 4th. All members are welcome at the meeting to hear about the program.  A link will be emailed next week. 

Thanks for reading,

    Travis Williams, CGCS

    Immediate Past President, CIGCSA

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

November update- Annual Meeting goes Virtual; New Scholarship Award

Happy Masters week everyone!! After enjoying some incredible weather over the past week, at least the return to cooler temps coincides with the Masters.  I'll enjoy watching guilt-free, with many of my outdoor choirs completed last week. 

A couple quick updates. We sent out the notice for the Annual Meeting and the annual election ballots.  The board developed plans for both in-person and virtual formats of the meeting.  With the rise in Covid cases around the state and changes to meeting sizes, we made the decision to hold the virtual version of Annual Meeting.  The Annual Meeting will be held December 7 at 9:00 AM. There is no charge for this meeting.  Please register here: 2020 Annual Meeting 

The meeting will feature an education segment from Mike McClellan of the Mobile Weather Team, an update from CIGCSA, scholarship award announcements, and the election.  We plan to keep each segment under 30 minutes and total time under 3 hours.  It can be hard to stay focused on virtual meetings and we hope we've found a format that keeps your interests. 

We are partnering with GCSAA to help facilitate this meeting.  GCSAA did a great job holding a virtual version of the Chapter Delegates meeting in late October. A few items discussed were: changes to Certification Program, a dues increase, and the Virtual GIS.  The delegates also heard from the candidates for the 2021 Board of Directors.  This years candidates were an impressive group and GCSAA continues to raise the bar year after year.  We will provide more details on the Delegates meeting at the Annual Meeting.

As mentioned above, scholarship awards will be announced at the Annual Meeting on Dec 7.  There has been a couple emails sent with the application forms.  We will be awarding two traditional awards, similar to years past, and also a new award geared towards providing opportunities for continued education in turf sciences.  Please take a close look at these awards and provide the information to anyone you feel may qualify.  If you are unsure of meeting qualification requirements please reach out to any board member and we will help.  For full application requirements and links to applications please click on this link: http://www.ci-gcsa.com/Scholarships  

Thanks for reading!

Travis Williams, CGCS

2020 CIGCSA President

Monday, September 28, 2020

Sept Update

The board met last week to continue planning for the fall.  We received several responses to the survey asking for guidance on a October golf event and the Annual Meeting format.  Many people responded they would be interested in attending a golf event.  We are excited to announce we are headed to Champaign Country Club on Monday Oct 26.  We will have more details over the next couple weeks.  Please save the date on your calendars and join us for golf!!!

We also had positive response to hosting an Annual Meeting.  The vast majority were in favor of having an in-person gathering if possible.  We are working through several scenarios and at this time plan to host the meeting in-person.  Many things can and may change before Dec 7 and we will be prepared with options to meet the needs of our members, but also keep everyone as safe as possible. 

Annual elections will take place at the Annual Meeting. The nomination committee is requesting a call for nominations.  If you are interested in serving on the Board, please reach out to Bryan.  It is a very rewarding process and provides valuable experience and networking opportunities.  

We also finalized and approved the scholarship award application.  We will be offering two traditional scholarships and a new offering for continuing education for a CIGCSA member.  The continuing education award is geared towards people within our profession that want to enroll or continue their formal education in Turf Sciences.  

At the national level, both the Chapter Delegates and Golf Industry Show will be virtual events this year.  Chapter Delegates will meet October 20 and 21st.  Because the meeting is being held virtually, GCSAA invited two members from each chapter to attend.  This is a good opportunity for our chapter and Dan and I will represent CIGCSA.

Remember to keep October 26 and Dec 7 open on your calendars and join us at our events.  Thanks for taking the time to read our update.  Stay safe!

Travis Williams, CGCS

2020 CIGCSA Board President

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

AUG BOD Summary

Business continues to be slow due to the COVID pandemic.  The bright spot of the summer was the match-play championship.  We have had several participants sharing that they enjoyed the matches. Good luck to those still alive in the tournament!

We had hoped to squeeze in the Scholarship Fundraiser at the end of the 2020 calendar, but there isn't any indication that we can gather as a large group and hold an auction.  We've tried the online version of the auction before and it didn't pan out very well.  Fortunately, the fund account has been well supported and is self sufficient, which will allow us to still offer the scholarship awards this fall/winter.  We will regroup and plan for a 2021 fundraiser sometime in May of next year.

We have heard from members asking about the possibility of gathering for a golf event this fall.  Our intention is to provide a brief survey this month to gauge overall interest in a fall golf event.  This survey will also include a few questions about the Annual Meeting scheduled for the first part of December.  We are currently developing plans, procedures, and safety protocols for several different Annual Meeting scenarios. Your participation in the survey will really help us understand the best direction to move this fall and winter.  

Days are getting shorter and the nights cooler.  The 2021 agronomy calendar begins.  I am excited for any indication that we can put 2020 behind us.  Keep grinding guys!  

Thanks for reading,

Travis Williams, CGCS

Friday, July 31, 2020

July BOD recap and updates

The Board of Director's met on Monday via Zoom to catch up on chapter business.  The central topic of the meeting was how to proceed in the midst of the COVID pandemic.  We continue to monitor the situation and try our best to make the best decisions with the information we currently have. I'll be honest, there were a few times even the board seemed to talk in circles or contradict a previous feeling of how to proceed.  Many decisions are instinct driven right now, because none of us have any experience to fall back on the guide us through this time. We thank you for your patience this year. 

We have highlighted a few PRP members through social media and will complete our last two Platinum members in August.  We will turn to our Gold and Silver members beginning in September.  It is important to highlight our 2020 PRP sponsors, because these companies have continued their commitment to supporting local associations during a very difficult time. They also aren't receiving the same recognition at events and meetings, so I encourage you to support these PRP sponsors when making purchases. They need your support more than ever, just as we appreciate their support more than ever. Here is a link to our PRP list: 2020 PRP

From the event-side, we discussed our current match play Chapter Championship.  Many of the first round matches have been completed and we have received positive feedback from the participants.  The bracket should be completed towards the end of August and we may be able to provide a invite to all members  to support the championship matches. More information will follow if this can become a reality.

Financially we are seeing effects of COVID.  Our membership numbers are down as well as our PRP participation.  We have been able to reduce expenses and currently sit at break even for the year.  We have sufficient reserves in the account at this time.  A cushion of revenue would help carry us through this tough year and it's not too late to join/ re-join for 2020.  We recognize that we aren't providing the normal return for membership dollars, but we still hope we can have an event or education opportunity at some point in 2020. More than ever, support is needed to help CIGCSA maintain its mission to provide members the opportunity to excel professionally and enhance the art and science of turfgrass management.  

Finally, Shane Conroy of GCSAA joined to give us an update from the national perspective.  GCSAA has done a great job communicating through email, website, virtual town-halls, and directly to our BOD during this turbulent time.  Look for that communication to continue as they monitor the evolving situation headed into the fall and winter.  Obviously, national events such as the Chapter Delegates' meeting and GIS are coming into view and Shane and GCSAA are on top of it as always,.    

Thanks for reading,
  Travis Williams, Board President CIGCSA