David "Treehugger" Phipps Earns Some Hardware

David Phipps doing what he does best!
Over the past 2 1/2 years (and 500 posts!) of Turfhugger I've been lucky enough to have the support of David Phipps. David is always there to lend an ear, to share his experiences and to help you find the info you need. So I was honored when David asked me to speak at the North West GCSAA Environmental Meeting back in November, was excited to see Stone Creek and proud to learn of his earning of two major industry awards this year.

Stone Creek Golf Club, there's no faking it.

Stone Creek Golf Club has been the focus of many articles and videos from the GCSAA, Golf Course Trades, GCM, Golf Course Industry Magazine, CNBC's People, Planet, Profit segment and many more. I was excited for my tour and saw the kind of things you'd expect at an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program Certified Golf Course (since 2006) like bird houses, buffer-zones, educational signage and impeccable cleanliness in the shop.

Educational signage is strategically placed to offer insight to the environmental process
But I also saw some really great examples of how David goes beyond the BMP criteria and aims to work with nature. For example he manages Stone Creek's forest edge by planting dense Cedar and Alder (nitrogen fixing) populations to provide shade to the native under-story and prevent invasive grasses from gaining ground. He's established native populations of herbaceous wetland plants where there were previously only invasives using passive succession techniques which require much less energy and resources. He's reduced energy use, become more precise with water use and is not afraid to experiment with new products and ideas. Efficiency and working with the natural system are his obvious passions.

Providing educational opportunities for the local highschool
At the one day conference there were about 70+ Superintendents, David had coordinated much of the event and had a great roster of speakers including Walt Osborne, Michael Vogt, Greg Lyman, Pat Jones and myself. I was in great company!

Home sweet home
It was here that David was presented with the Michael S. Hindahl Award. Hindahl was a friend of the Oregon Superintendents and an environmental advocate. Hindahl had a Ph.D. in Microbiology and worked for Oregon Health Science University researching AIDS. With a passion for golf and a desire to apply his skills to the industry, he helped the Oregon Superintendents pioneer its Environmental Stewardship Guidelines. Just prior to his passing in 2005, Oregon Superintendents gained national notoriety by winning the national association's Presidents Award for Environmental Stewardship for their work with the Guidelines. Since 2008 the Oregon Golf Course Superintendents Association have recognized superintendents who've shown leadership and environmental fortitude that exemplify the life of Michael S. Hindahl.

Phipps barely keeping it together while accepting the Michael S. Hindahl Award.
Thanks to Pat Jones for this photo. 
In addition, Greg Lyman of the GCSAA announced that David was selected by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America Board of Directors to receive the 2012 GCSAA President's Award for Environmental Stewardship. A huge honor, and I couldn't imagine a more deserving man for the award.

Diverse shorelines provide ample opportunity for widlife
Further to these two awards, David's efforts at Stone Creek got him nominated for a 2011 Sustainable Business Oregon Award and a whole list of awards and accolades from years past including:
  • 2012 GCSAA President's Award for Environmental Stewardship
  • GCSAA/Golf Digest “Environmental Leaders in Golf Award” National Public Winner, 2008
  • Oregon Golf Association “Superintendent of the Year”, 2008.
  • Bayer Golf Advantage, “Purple Cow Award”, spring 2008.
  • GCSAA/Golf Digest “Environmental Leaders in Golf Award”, Chapter Public Winner, 2005, 2006, 2007.
  • GCSAA/Golf Digest “Environmental Leaders in Golf Award”, Merit Public Winner, 2004.
  • Oregon Chapter of GCSAA, Richard Malpas “Distinguished Service Award”, 2000, 2007.
  • Clackamas County Soil and Water Conservation District, “Cooperator of the Year”, 2005
Perhaps the best award/reward?

In speaking with David's fellow Superintendents and friends he is clearly an inspiration to them all. He's also done an incredible job in breaking down cultural barriers by demonstrating that golf can be a way to enjoy and protect the environment. Even more importantly though, his wife Tracy, sons Adam (18) and Henry (11) are truly proud, supportive and inspired by David's accomplishments.

Phipps has two Standard Poodles, Ryder and Enzo
From all of us at Turfhugger we say great job David, nobody deserves this recognition more than you!

The following is a list of articles by or about Davids environmental efforts that have appeared here on Turfhugger.