Glendale Golf Superintendent Receives Two National Awards

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

News from
Glendale Country Club, Bellevue, Wash.

Glendale Country Club Superintendent
Receives Two National Achievement Awards

BELLEVUE, Wash. (Feb. 22, 2005) – Steve Kealy, superintendent of Glendale Country Club in Bellevue, was a dual award winner at the inaugural Golf Industry Show in Orlando held in mid-February. Kealy, a certified golf course superintendent and 18-year member of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA), received a 2004 Excellence in Government Relations Award and a President’s Award for Environmental Stewardship.

Both awards were presented February 11 during the general session of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) Education Conference. That event was held in conjunction with an industry trade show involving five associations and a concurrent conference of the National Golf Course Owners Association, with combined attendance of more than 20,000 industry professionals.

GCSAA’s award for Excellence in Government Relations recognized Kealy and three colleagues for outstanding efforts in compliance and advocacy. The group honored Kealy for his leadership in increasing public and lawmaker understanding of the golf industry and his efforts to enhance the industry’s image. During the 2004 session of the Washington State Legislature, his efforts helped gain passage of legislation to exempt golf courses from paying sales tax on the value of donated green fees to nonprofit groups. Each year, courses statewide donate thousands of dollars in green fees for charitable events, school golf teams, junior golf programs and other nonprofit causes, according to industry leaders.

Kealy’s second award, the President’s Award for Environmental Stewardship, cited achievements for a salmon stream rehabilitation project at Glendale Country Club that now encompasses an outreach component with local schools. Those efforts date to 1990 when Glendale joined the City of Bellevue’s stream projects (“the Stream Team”). Starting in 1997, the course’s Kelsey Creek began serving as a “nursery” for salmon eggs from the state’s Issaquah Hatchery.

Kealy and his staff placed and monitored five-gallon buckets in the stream, which serves as remote incubators for as many as 30,000 chinook salmon eggs. Because salmon, a threatened species, return to the streams where they were born to spawn as adults, the hope is that the eggs nurtured at Glendale would mean more salmon returning to Kelsey Creek as adults. Kealy expects the course will be “back to rearing again” this year.

The President’s Award (one of three presented for 2004) is not the first national attention Glendale Country Club has earned for its environmental work. The U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife awarded a $60,000 grant to Glendale to replace washed out stream banks, a project that will get under way this year.

Kealy and his staff are engaged in ongoing efforts to protect salmon. They’ve worked to replace native vegetation at the water’s edge to create buffer zones along the streams and joined with the city to create concrete structures to slow the velocity of the water. Other efforts are focused on increasing environmental awareness at schools.

Glendale and Kealy began working with Odle Middle School in Bellevue in 1997. The club underwrote expenses for a classroom salmon project, including the costs of an aquarium for the class to raise eggs and funding for a field trip to the course so students could help release the eggs. Since its work with Odle, the outreach program has expanded to include two high schools in the Bellevue School District, initially Sammamish and currently Interlake.

Kealy, who resides in North Seattle, joined Glendale in 1986 and became superintendent in 1988. He is a 1987 graduate of Washington State University (B.S., agronomy).

Superintendents from Pacific Northwest courses were well represented in the awards ceremonies at the national conference. Along with the Government Relations Awards and Environmental Leaders in Golf Awards, GCSAA recognized individuals and facilities in various categories for special achievements.

In addition to Kealy and his two awards, the region’s honorees for Environmental Leaders in Golf Awards (ELGA), which is a collaborative program of GCSAA and Golf Digest magazine included:

Oregon Golf Course Superintendents Association
President’s Award for Environmental Stewardship

John F. Anderson, The Club at Pronghorn, Sunriver, Ore.
National Private Winner

Tony Lasher, CGCS, The Resort at the Mountain, Welches, Ore.
Chapter Winner, Resort Facilities

David Phipps, Stone Creek Golf Club, Oregon City, Ore.
Merit Winner, Public Facilities

Matthew Weaver, CGCS, Classic Golf Club, Puyallup, Wash.
Merit Winner, Public Facilities

Alan L. Nielsen, CGCS, Royal Oaks Country Club, Vancouver, Wash.
Merit Winner, Private Facilities

Russell Vandehey, CGCS, Oregon Golf Club, Oregon City, Ore.
Merit Winner, Private Facilities

Ryan Bancroft, Salishan Spa and Golf Resort, Gleneden Beach, Ore.
Merit Winner, Resort Facilities

Kealy and other ELGA winners will be profiled in future issues of Golf Digest and Golf Course Management magazines.

GCSAA is the leading professional organization for the men and women who manage golf courses in the United States and worldwide. The association provides education, information and representation to more than 21,000 individual members in more than 72 countries.