Public meetings: the payoff for keeping golf’s exception status
This marks the year that the majority of golf courses in Ontario must
conduct their mandatory public meetings with their respective
communities in order to comply with the regulations of the provincial
cosmetic pesticide ban which has granted golf its current exception
The meetings—at which the general public and neighbouring property owners can acquire a more informed idea of what materials and products have gone onto the golf course property over the past year—represent the means by which golf is to maintain its exception status.
Golf is currently able to apply certain products unavailable to other sectors of the turfgrass industry, i.e. lawn and landscaping, but to continue to do so means having to comply with some new rules, including the public meetings.
Some golf superintendents are a little on edge about conducting their inaugural public meetings, especially when they might have multiple neighbours whose properties are located within 100 metres of the golf course. The provincial regulations state that all neighbouring properties within the aforementioned proximity must be notified of the meetings. Some courses, particularly those situated in an urban setting, may be surrounded by scores of residential units, schools or businesses. Everyone of them must be notified.
In some respects, this creates an unlevel playing field for golf superintendents in general. The task of contacting these neighbouring property owners can be a monumental effort in itself.
On page 14, Mark Prieur, the OGSA’s representative on the IPMâ€ˆCouncil of Canada, offers his advice to those superintendents who still have questions to ask.
The graphic below, which was shared with me on Facebook, rings all too true. The perception from the masses of the role of the golf course superintendent needs to be much more of the bottom right-hand picture and a lot less of the upper right picture. Perhaps the public meetings of 2012 will go a long way toward this change in perception. As for the remaining four pictures, better communications with those individuals might help alter these perceptions.