USGA continues support of GCSAA's First Green

The United States Golf Association has committed $20,000 in funding support to the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) and GCSAA’s philanthropic organization, the Environmental Institute for Golf (EIFG), for First Green, which provides hands-on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education at golf courses.

Prior to GCSAA assuming leadership of First Green in 2018, the USGA was a long-time supporter of the program, which had its origins in the state of Washington. Founded in 1997, First Green is the only STEM education and environmental outreach program that uses golf courses as learning labs. Each field trip averages 75 students who learn about golf and the environment. For most students, these “outdoor classrooms” represent their first exposure to a golf course.

Steve Kealy, the superintendent at Glendale CC in Bellevue, Wash., gives a demonstration to a group of young students at a First Green session held at Sand Point CC in Seattle. (photo by TJC)

“First Green is the first introduction to golf for many students, and so we are very fortunate to have the USGA as an ally in making it happen,” GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans said. “This program is just one of many where the USGA’s dedication to the game shows through its support of GCSAA and the superintendents we serve.”

“It’s been exciting to support the continual growth of First Green and its efforts to get kids engaged in the exciting science of golf,” said Kimberly Erusha, Ph.D., USGA managing director, Green Section. “This program is another part of GCSAA’s overall efforts to promote golf course superintendents and it’s a great way for the USGA to continue our commitment to environmental stewardship in golf.”

The USGA also financially supports GCSAA’s Best Management Practices initiative, which has a goal of establishing golf course best management practices in all 50 states by 2020. The USGA committed $800,000 to the initiative to help support an online resource that expedites and simplifies creation of golf course BMP programs at the state level.

The USGA also provided funding for the second phase of GCSAA’s Golf Course Environmental Profile, a groundbreaking project launched in 2006 to develop a comprehensive environmental profile of golf courses in the United States.

The USGA is a member of the EIFG’s Platinum Tee Club, which recognizes donors who contribute $5,000 or more annually, and has reached the Victory Club level – the highest level – in the EIFG’s Cumulative Giving Program, which includes donors who have given $1 million or more since 1987.

About GCSAA and the EIFG

The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) is a leading golf organization in the United States. Its focus is on golf course management, and since 1926 GCSAA has been the top professional association for the men and women who manage golf courses in the U.S. and worldwide. From its headquarters in Lawrence, Kan., the association provides education, information and representation to more than 18,000 members in more than 78 countries. The association’s mission is to serve its members, advance their profession and enhance the enjoyment, growth and vitality of the game of golf. Visit GCSAA at, or find them on Facebook or Twitter.

The Environmental Institute for Golf is the philanthropic organization of the GCSAA. Its mission is to foster sustainability through research, awareness, education, programs and scholarships for the benefit of golf course management professionals, golf facilities and the game. Visit EIFG at, or find them on Facebook or Twitter.