First Green Canadian Update

by Stan Kazymerchyk, WCTA First Green Coordinator

First Green and Western Canada Turfgrass Association have an MOU in place for First Green program delivery  in Canada. WCTA hosted the Canadian inaugural event at a Vancouver private club, Vancouver Golf Club in 2014 followed by a public course event in 2015 at Redwoods Golf Course.

Show and Tell - Larry Gilhuly of the USGA talks about golf course maintenance tools to a group of grade 8 students at a First Green event held at the Redwoods Golf Course in Langley, BC.  Image credit Jerry Rousseau.

In 2016, we developed and hosted the first ever Sportsfield event at Township of Langley near Vancouver.  This was a huge success, showing how easily adaptable First Green can be for Sportsfield Managers. First Green staff attended our WCTA Turf Conference this Spring to stir up further interest.

I noticed a trend this year that Turf Managers were excited about doing FG for the first time but seemed intimidated by how to plan an event, with a perception that they needed either Seattle staff or myself to set it all up.  If this were the case, it would be especially difficult if they don't live near Vancouver or Seattle.  To help, I developed a draft set of "First Green organizational worksheets" to simplify the event organization process. These are a set of  self-guided, step by step forms which a host team completes in sequence.

I gave these worksheets a trial run in a November 2017 presentation to the Manitoba Golf Superintendents Association Conference in Winnipeg. Attendees were guided through filling out the worksheets in teams, finding the whole process quite easy. The MGSA is now committed to enacting at least one First Green event for 2018. First Green leaders and I will soon meet to polish these worksheets into a format accessible to all on the First Green and WCTA websites. Stay tuned for the release of these, likely early 2018.

We shall further test the worksheets at more Canadian First Green exposure coming soon. In January 2018, I shall be presenting to the Ottawa Valley Turfgrass Association and mid-February sees another presentation at the WCTA Conference in Richmond, BC.  First Green will then get keynote exposure at the Ontario Turfgrass Symposium in Guelph late February. Further BC exposure may target local BC Golf Superintendent meetings throughout the year and perhaps BC Sportsfield managers.