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Time For Me to Return to GCSAA

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Dave Wilber

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It has been ten or maybe even twelve years since I have been a GCSAA member. Yesterday, that changed.

As a student, assistant and superintendent, membership to the national association made sense to me. And for 15 years of independent consultant status, I paid the dues with not a lot of joy. And one day, after a very disappointing conversation with a GCSAA board member, I decided that there wasn't a benefit to me by belonging. It was, in effect, a silent protest. And a financial decision to take the money my business had budgeted for Dues and make sure that I was a member of several local chapters. And as a way of showing even more local support, I served on two boards as an affiliate (non-superintendent) member. Several terms. Worked hard. Won several awards. Took education seriously. Every year, I would consider national membership and just didn't see why. 

On Thursday, last week, I returned from the 2019 GIS and promptly wrote a couple notes to GCSAA staff members about how to go about becoming member number 013641 again. It was easy. David Phipps, GCSAA Field Staff Northwest sent me a note, a form and some instructions. Shelia Finney got involved.   On Monday, world came from Anthony Rittof at the Emerald City that not only was I quickly reinstated, but was allowed to rejoin as a Class A member.  Didn't expect that. At all. And no, I've been to The Masters, so that wasn't a driving factor.

On Thursday, last week, I returned from the 2019 GIS and promptly wrote a couple notes to GCSAA staff members about how to go about becoming member number 013641 again. It was easy.

 I don't care to go into the past too much. Lets just say, that as a young superintendent, I was very outspoken as a voting delegate and committee member. Especially as it came to the emerging technology and online interaction areas, where I felt that GCSAA was severely short sighted. For a time, I really wanted to be on the board and then, sand kicked in my face, I didn't. And I'll leave it at that. I spent decades being sour. Probably not helpful. 

Let's look at the current and the future. The Positive. And sure, I get that I would be a member for 34 years had I not taken the sabbatical.

Currently, I see the GCSAA as strong and getting stronger. Doing really good things with Chapter Relations and identity. I don't care much about politics, but I guess you can say that we are well represented in the golf world. I mentioned field staff. When this idea first bloomed, my first interaction with someone who filled this job made no sense. But since then, my interactions with the likes of David Phipps and Jeff Jensen have been outstanding. I have watched this program bloom at the hands of Steve Randall and his staff. Working and Winning. 

I spent decades being sour. Probably not helpful. 

I have good friends and industry contacts on the board in leadership positions. Darren Davis, whom I met years ago and recognized as a real talent. Good old friend Kevin Breen. Eternal good guy Rafael Barajas.  The esteemed T.A Barker. And the list goes on and on. Great people. Giving a lot of time and attention to help. 

Dave Wilber and Jeff Whitmire, CGCS

Meeting Jeff Whitmire, CGCS for the first time at the TurfNet Beer and Pretzels Gala.

Help. A key word that I see any association needs to embrace. Maybe a better word is Service. Being in Service to members. Being there to help everyone grow. That to me is the mark of a great association. Otherwise, you just have a big old Moose Lodge. Look, if our profession doesn't get help from as many sources as possible, we run the risk of always being the second class citizens. No one really wants to hear that they need that help, but from my 30,000 foot view, golf is still in trouble.

Being there to help everyone grow. That to me is the mark of a great association. Otherwise, you just have a big old Moose Lodge.

As I walked around the convention center in San Diego, what I saw  were some very happy members. People getting educated.  People networking. People involved in trade in a good way. I saw moves to help with inclusion (I'm not gonna talk about Cheerleaders, there are strong women in our association who can do that). I saw buyers on the trade show floor doing business. And I saw leaders and contributors being recognized and awarded. Not just for the sake of mutual admiration.

So, I am proudly, once again, GCSAA Member 013641. And it makes me very very happy to offer up my credit card number to pay for that privilege. 

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I think it is really important to add to this that dues money comes out of my pocket. Always has. Someone wrote me a note and said, "What's the problem? It's a write off". So let me educate you on the plight of the small independent business person.  In order to write it off, 1. you have to make it and 2 you have to pay taxes on it. So in my case, for every dollar that I spend, I need to make 3. It took me a long time to get to understand this, but now I do. 

National Dues. Local Chapter Dues. Other professional association dues. That line item is about $1,800. And add the cost of attending meetings, seminars, volunteering, sponsoring and what not and my total float is about $10,000 a year. That's a lot for an independent consultant. That means $30K of total billing, over $2,500 a month. Thinking these things thru in my world is as necessary as any super thinking thru their line item budget as it balances with ROI and overall business plan. 

While I'm excited about being "part of things" and "building relationships" there is a cost involved. One could argue that there is also a cost not to be involved. We shall see how the ROI works. Will be good fodder for further blogging.


 

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