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

Thursday, May 14, 2020

May BOD recap and summer golf event

The Board of Director's met yesterday via Zoom to discuss chapter business.  I am proud of the board for being creative despite the current restrictions brought on by Covid-19.  It is obvious to me that we all want to represent our industry, CIGCSA, and our colleagues the best that we can during this difficult time. We continue to monitor the situation as it evolves and will make adjustments to the summer schedule as needed.

In the meeting, we developed a few new initiatives.  First, we will be highlighting our PRP members over our social media accounts and this blog.  Our plan is to start with our Platinum members and provide an overview of both their company and personal bios. We appreciate their partnership, especially during these hard times. Thanks to those Platinum PRP members that have provided information to Bryan.  We will send more email request to our Gold and Silver PRPs in the next couple weeks.

Secondly, we continue to have doubts about being able to gather in a group and hold our traditional meetings.  In a best case scenario, it could be August or September before large groups gather.  With that, we have develop a plan to offer golf opportunities for our members. We will be creating a new tournament for our members based on geography.  We envision 4 geographic regions: Springfield, Champaign, Peoria, and Bloomington.  Members of any classification will be grouped into one of  these regions and play two-some matches ultimately resulting in a regional champion. The 4 regional champions will play a final 4 event towards the end of the summer on a scheduled day at a single course.  Our thought is for these regional and final 4 matches to be carried out over several months.  Bryan will organize the pairings based on interest and develop a tournament bracket.  Each region will have a tournament coordinator from the Board.  It will be up to the two members scheduled to play a match to setup a time day, and course that works best for them. Our hope is to have the association pay the golf courses for the rounds.  We certainly don't want to impose during a difficult financial time for golf courses, nor put the responsibility on our members to pay their way.  Bryan will work with the golf courses directly or reimburse members for the cost of the golf.

We have a few more details to work through, but wanted to share this plan. Email Bryan if you have interest in participating. The regional coordinators will also be asking members in their area if they would like to participate.  Finally, we are sensitive to the unique circumstances of each member and the hardships they may be facing in providing membership dues during a time of reduced revenues.  With that, we will view eligibility into this tournament based on 2019 and 2020 membership classifications. In other words, if you were a member in 2019, but haven't been able to renew yet for 2020, we still welcome you to participate.

Thanks for reading,
  Travis Williams, Board President CIGCSA

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

April BOD Meeting & Check-in

COVID-19...we have been at this for over a month and what lies ahead is still uncertain.  My thoughts are with everyone during these unprecedented times.  There are so many unique situations in our industry and I encourage any of you to reach out to me or other CIGCSA members if you need anything. .

We met as a board via Zoom to continue with plans for CIGCSA in 2020.  It is hard to predict the future, but we are doing our best with the current information we have.  A few important outcomes:

  • We are extending the deadline for membership renewals until the end of May.  
  • We will make an announcement for the May Scholarship Outing as soon possible.  We are waiting for more guidance from the allied golf associations and the Governor's plans after April 30.  
As you know our April Meeting was cancelled.  I'd like to thank Brian Barnes and Oak Terrace for offering to host and our sponsors who had planned to support that event: Erb Turf, MTI and Site One.  Hopefully, we can get back there soon.  I also want to take a moment and thank all of our vendors that have continued to support us via the PRP program.  Your support is valued and I ask our members to support these partners.  We will be spotlighting each of them on social media over the next couple weeks.  Here is the reference list of this years PRPs to-date:
      Platinum- Winfield, Erb Turf, MTI, and Site One
      Gold- Helena and D & K
      Silver- Syngenta, Waupaca, PBI Gordon, Tyler Enterprises and GreensPro

Finally, I thought it would be fun to produce a video montage of our members commenting on what the closures have been like.  Here are the details:

Ideas…but improve is welcomed
  1. Why/how you are inspired by preparing the course for play
  2. What we miss…why we miss golf/golfers or preparing for golfers to play
  3. Any tongue and cheek funnies-  keep them appropriate

Video instructions 
  1. Film all of your videos landscape by turning your phone sideways before pushing record.
  2. Cell phone microphones pick up a lot of environmental noise, so try your best to pick a quiet room or place on the course that mowers or blowers aren't driving near you.
  3. After filming, go to on your phone and click “Send a file” in the middle of the page. Push the “+” button and select your video from your phone camera roll. Click Next. Click Next again to send an email. Input my email address: and your email address as the sender. Then submit. The transfer may take a few minutes depending on your Wi-Fi connection, but this allows to get the best video file rather than submitting via your personal email.
Alternative would be to use DropBox transfer.  If you are more comfortable with DropBox go ahead and try transfer with them.

For PRP vendors, if you could do the same, I would like to use them during our spotlight pieces.

Take care everyone! If you need anything please reach out to Bryan or me.  Thanks for reading.

Travis Williams, CGCS

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Orientation and Business meeting outcomes

A couple housekeeping notes:

Thanks to all that attended the GIS Happy Hour!  It was a great turnout and seemed to be a fun event for everyone.  Thanks to our sponsors of the event: MTI, Erb Turf, Burris, Winfield, SiteOne, D & K, and Waupaca!!!! Your support makes these events a success.  To our superintendent and assistant superintendent members, the PRP vendors make education, social, and golf events feasible for our group.  PLEASE support them in 2020 when making purchasing decisions.

Also, congrats again to Paul Sermersheim!  He was the recipient of our first ever GIS trip.  He took full advantage and we can't wait to hear from him about the experience! 

Board of Director's updates:

As many of you may know, Perry Green is transitioning out of Stone Creek.  Last month, he gave the Board notice that he would no longer be able to serve. Scott White accept an appointment to fill the remaining term of Perry's Secretary/Treasurer position.  Brett Oxley was appointed a Director, to fill the vacancy left by Scott's move into an officer position.  Thanks to Scott and Brett for stepping up. 

We had the good fortune to join Leann Cooper and Shane Conroy of GCSAA for a Board Orientation meeting.  Leann and Shane gave a great summary of all that is required as an affiliated chapter and an officer/director on a Board.  

    A few key takeaways were:  

  1. It is the Boards job to establish the identity of the chapter, ensure the resources are managed properly, and provide insight- practicing legal integrity.  In other words, attend business meetings and be prepared, put CICGSA Business over personal gains, and comply with all legal regulations and established By-laws.
  2. We must always remember the purpose of the association: "to advance the art and science of turfgrass management"
  3. Meet all requirements to maintain our 501c6 status with the IRS and an incorporated business in Illinois
  4. Maintain affiliation with GCSAA and keep liability coverage in good standing
  5. Continue to work towards our goals established at the Strategic Planning Session in 2019.  Here is a link to a summary of that session: 2019 Strategic Plan

Business Meeting summary:

Following the Orientation Session, we held our February business meeting. Routine business was discussed and updates given from each committee chair.  A few highlights were:
  1. PRP and membership drive is continuing, with a plan to direct call non-renewals after the March business meeting.  For PRP and membership renewal click here: CIGCSA
  2. Event Updates:
    1. The March Career Development Day is looking great! Register here: Career Development Day
    2. Our April Meeting is a joint meeting with Southern IL GCSA.  We will have Lee Miller from the Univ of Missouri before golf and a chance to watch the NCAA Championship basketball game after golf.  Book a room and make it a quick getaway before the summer grind begins!
    3. Finalized date for Scholarship: Monday May 11, 2020 at Danville CC ( a nod to James Brandt and those that started the scholarship- back to its roots)
    4. We are looking for a new sight for our Vendors' Day as Ray Actis is no longer with Lincoln Elks.  We will update a day and venue ASAP
  3. We want to engage young people to try and introduce them to the turfgrass field. 
    1. Dan Crumrine and Brett Oxley plan to host a course tour for FFA students that attend the state convention in Springfield this June.  
    2. Travis Williams and Tyler Bain are planning to host a First Green Field trip for the 2020/2021 school year.  The plan is to bring Tyler's wife's 5th grade class from Unit 5 school district in Normal, IL to Weibring Golf Club.  
    3. These two initiatives are very exciting for the Board and we hope you will consider volunteering time and resources to make them a success.
  4. Our Assistant liaison, Corey Wisher, provided an update on the committee he is forming and asked that our superintendent members encourage their assistants to participate and attend events.  We hope to host our first ever Assistants only event in 2020! SO PLEASE MAKE IT A PRIORITY TO ALLOW YOUR ASSISTANTS TO ATTEND.  They are the future of our industry!
Overall, we are developing a strong work plan for the Board in 2020.  We hope that as members you will help us by engaging and attending these events. If you plan to attend an event, please consider texting or calling a colleague to join your group or share a ride. 

Thanks for reading!


Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Reduced dues for Assistants, and other info you need to know!

A reminder to our vendors, PRP is live and available on our website I would like to thank Kyle Sherwood of Winfield and Nick Miethe/Ben Scanio of Site One for continuing as Plantinum partners in 2020!!!  Your support is much appreciated and we hope our members support you when making purchasing decisions. I would also like to thank Helena at the Gold level and Waupaca and PBI Gordon as silver level sponsors.  PBI Gordon is a new PRP sponsor for 2020, we are happy you decided to support CIGCSA.

While our Winter Social was not as well attended as in year's past, it was a good time for those that did attend.  The weather forecasters let us down and over predicted inclement weather.  Unfortunately, we are used to this in the golf business.  A special meeting was called at the winter social to vote on by-law changes.  To review the changes please refer to our previous  Blog Post. The changes were passed by the voting membership and the new dues will take effect for 2020.  The highlight of the changes is reduced Assistant dues to $50.  Remember, there is no dual membership to GCSAA for Assistants, EMs or Associate members, so please consider joining CIGCSA.  All members can renew or join for 2020 as of Jan 15, 2020.  Please log onto and renew today.

A few quick previews:

Our annual GIS Happy Hour will take place on Wednesday Jan 29th from 4-6PM at Twin Peaks on I Drive.  Stop in for as long as you would like and enjoy a cold beverage with some friends.  Thanks to the sponsors of the Happy Hour: Burris, Erb Turf, MTI, Winfield, SiteOne, D & K, and Waupaca

ITF is offering a great education lineup again this winter, with two locations in the state.  Feb 18 will be held in Chicago area and a similar lineup of speakers will present at Panther Creek CC in Springfield on Feb 19th.  Our local Peoria-area-guy Andy Morris and the ITF team put together a great event, so please support the ITF.  We will email the information or you can register here.

The Career Development Day will be held at Mt. Hawley CC on Monday March 2nd.  Nate Jordan and his committee have done a great job developing this day.  It will consist of varied educational tracks of your choice.  There's something for everyone and will only cost $30!!!!  Bring your staff, assistants, and Equipment Managers- there's something for everyone!!

Here's a video preview:

Thanks for reading

Monday, January 6, 2020

Winter Social Preview

Happy New Year!! We hope everyone enjoyed the holidays. While the warm weather may have required some time at the course, hopefully you were still able to spend some quality time with those that matter the most.  

The chapter is hosting our Winter Social this Friday at Bass Pro in Peoria.  We invite all members  to come enjoy complementary food and drinks from 6-9 PM in the Uncle Buck restaurant inside Bass Pro.  They altered their dining room this year, but we will be in the same room as in year's past.  Walk past the bar and through the doors and that's where you'll find us. Bass Pro converted the main dining room to an arcade space, so it may look a little different when you enter, but you're in the right place!

This event is always laid-back and fun, so if you haven't attended an event recently, come out and catch up with some friends and colleagues. Several members bring spouses and others have brought their kids as well. With the new arcade and bowling lanes, there is plenty to keep everyone entertained.  But don't feel like you need to bring a guest, plenty of us come solo as well.  It is always a fun event and totally free of charge, so please join us on Friday.

We will be having a special meeting to vote on a by-law change for dues changes.  Here are the details: 

  • Annual dues for Classes A, B, and C shall be $90.00 for a year or any portion thereof.
  • Annual dues for members of the class “Affiliate” shall be $150.00 for a year or any portion thereof. 
  • Annual Dues for Classes EM and Associate shall be $50.00 for a year or any portion thereof.
  • Classes AA, H, and S shall be exempt from annual dues.

Proposed Changes:
  • Annual dues for Classes A and B shall not exceed $90.00 for a year or any portion thereof.
  • Annual dues for Class C shall not exceed $50.00 for a year or any portion thereof.
  • Annual dues for members of the class “Affiliate” shall not exceed $150.00 for a year or any portion thereof. 
  • Annual Dues for Classes EM and Associate shall not exceed $50.00 for a year or any portion thereof.
  • Classes AA, H, and S shall be exempt from annual dues. 
The key changes are that we alter the word "shall be" to "shall not exceed", which allows future flexibility to our pricing structure if we decide to give group discounts, etc.  We also lowered the dues for Class C (assistants) to be in line with Equipment Manager and Associate classifications. 

Lastly, we will have CIGCSA winter caps for sale at the Winter Social.  Nate Jordan from Mt. Hawley CC did a great job putting this together and we hope you can support the association and stay warm this winter!

Thanks for reading! Please join us on Friday.

Friday, December 20, 2019

2020 PRP Released

A few housekeeping items before the holidays.

Bryan emailed the 2020 PRP to members this morning.  Links can also be found on, with a direct link to all forms by clicking here: PRP forms .

Sometimes we get asked: what is PRP?  PRP stands for Partner Recognition Program.  What it does is provide an opportunity for our affiliate members, or vendors, to support CIGCSA and receive recognition for that support.  I think it is beneficial for all to look at our PRP, not just the vendors. If you didn't click on the above links to the website? Here is a direct link: 2020 PRP Program

By viewing the PRP, members can sense the support provided by these vendors.  For example, our highest level of support is Platinum.  These vendors, through memberships, event(s) sponsorship, tee sign advertising, etc., provide at least $2500 of support to CIGCSA!!!! Gold level supports at $1500-$2499, and Silver at $750-$1499!  It provides a significant amount of revenue for CIGCSA.  We use these funds to provide education at our Annual Meeting, Spring Workshop, and the other events that provide education content.  Most speakers we host, require travel expense reimbursement and some ask for a speaking fee. Sponsorship of events also offsets food and beverage costs, facility costs, golf and prize expenses, and products for our scholarship fundraiser. Bottom line is that we are able to provide better experiences for our members, because of the PRP.


Lastly, we have our 2020 calendar roughly set.  We are waiting to confirm a few exact dates, working with courses and clubs to fit into their calendars. But here is the calendar:

Dates subject to change

Friday, January 10, 2020Winter Social Event
Wednesday, January 29, 2020GIS Happy Hour- Orlando
Monday, March 02, 2020Spring education/Shop meeting
Monday, April 06, 2020April Golf & Education Event with SIGCSA
May 2020Scholarship Fundraiser
June 1 or 8, 2020Vendor Day/Business
Monday, July 13, 2020Chapter Championship/ Business
August 10 or 17, 20209 Holer/ Business
October 2020October Volunteering Event
Monday, December 07, 2020Winter Education/Annual Meeting
Friday, January 8, 2021Winter Social Event
Wednesday, February 3, 2021GIS Happy Hour- Las Vegas

For full details, please click on this google sheets link: 2020 Schedule

Thanks for reading and Happy Holidays!!!!


P.S. Winter social is Jan 10, 2020 at Uncle Buck's in Bass Pro Shop Peoria, IL. free registration here