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Prototype Chapter Mission Statement: The Key To Members' Job Security

Jim McLoughlin


The purpose of this blog message is to demonstrate that a chapter without an effective mission statement is like an airplane flying without a navigation system. Nobody knows how to get to where they want to go; and missions fail accordingly.


What Is The Status Of Chapter Mission Statements?

Appalling, because the reality is that about half of GCSAA chapters do not have a mission statement and the mission statements of the remaining half of the chapters are too vaguely worded and miss identifying what their chapters' primary missions are and, therefore, do not serve a vital purpose.


In my 30-plus years of interacting with the 100-plus GCSAA chapters I have not come upon one chapter with an appropriate mission statement and I have reviewed them all.   


What Price Do Chapter Members Pay For This Oversight?

The worst possible price because the mission statements that are in place fail to recognize the chapters most vital responsibility: to support member superintendents in how to best secure, advance and, when necessary, recapture their careers. Without this support the vast majority of superintendents' careers are the equivalent of being deserted on an ocean island - alone.


Without this stated purpose the following unrelenting difficulties routinely invade the world of golf course superintendents and their families:


  • All the many painful ills brought about because roughly 80% of established golf course superintendents are denied the courtesy of written contract protection? (See Sept 25th blog message.)
  • These misfortunes persist because those up their chains of command are never presented with the educational opportunities to become superintendent literate.
  • Artificially shortened careers result when those up the chains of command prefer to replace proven veteran superintendents than pay them an escalating fair wage.


It might be of interest to know that the mission statements of the PGA sections and CMAA chapters are in similar states of disrepair for different reasons - all the by-product of a not-for-profit business format.


Example Of An "Ineffective" Chapter Mission Statement

Following is a live chapter mission statement that is similar in tone and scope to most of the chapter mission statements in place today:


The mission of the ABC Golf Course Superintendents Association is to provide for and enhance the recognition of the golf course superintendent as a professional and to advance the profession of the golf course superintendent through education and fellowship.



Clearly, though well intended, the above sample chapter mission statement fails to identify the chapter's prime responsibility: to provide effective career-planning counsel and outreach programming throughout its membership.


Example Of An "Effective" Model Chapter Mission Statement

In the interest of advancing the professional image of the golf course superintendent and the ethical treatment of its members, the primary function of this chapter is - in conjunction with GCSAA - to promote the career welfare and to enhance the job security of its members in all the many ways possible (see Dec 11th blog message), which is to include providing access to effective member-oriented outreach programming when necessary and the hiring of a qualified Executive Director to monitor and implement the chapter mission statement itself.


Valued secondary chapter functions include: being a responsible steward of the environment; continuing the well-respected scholarship and research programming and so on.


Lets face reality: superintendents will not be able to earn respect as a "profession" (clearly individual superintendents do earn this respect) and the job security they deserve until their chapters begin to resolve key employment issues through interaction with their members' course administrations as stated within the above model mission statement. What we have now is not a way for superintendents to live.


The Role Of The Chapter Executive Director

The primary responsibility of chapter Executive Directors, which is to support and implement their chapters' mission statements in a manner that will bring universal pride and vitality to the profession, will be addressed in detail in coming blog messages.



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