Owen Russell - Crop for Web

Message from the President

November, 2022

As I compose my final President's Message, our membership's unwavering support and strength in our 99th year humbles me deeply. Over the last year, our membership has grown by almost 100 members. We've come together in record numbers to learn and network and become better turfgrass management professionals at the OGSA conference in Blue Mountain. Our Assistants' Tournament sold out, and the 2nd annual OGSA Championship event was another resounding success.  

We've also introduced a few outreach programs to support the industry, including our inaugural First Green event and our DTM Student Co-op Meet and Greet, in partnership with the University of Guelph and the GTI, which was held in early October. This new event was a great opportunity for representatives from various clubs to connect with first- and second-year students to discuss the benefits of working at Ontario's exceptional golf courses. We were also pleased to support the U of G Turf Club's annual fundraising tournament by offering online registration support.  

This year, we donated $20,000 to the Ontario Turfgrass Research Foundation (OTRF) to support their overall funding for crucial research efforts in turf disease and pest management. This work is instrumental in helping our members achieve better, safer, and more effective turf management practices. We are proud to be part of initiatives that contribute to our industry's advancement and our members' well-being.  

As board members, we have the privilege of evaluating the awards our association bestows each year. The nominations for the Heritage Award, William Sansom Award, and Professional Development Award showcase the drive and accomplishments of our assistants, the children of our members, and the mentors who have guided our association for many years. Reading through the applications, you can't help but feel inspired by the determination to succeed that shines through. It's worth noting that the OGSA, in partnership with our industry allies, contributes over $15,000 annually to deserving recipients through our recognition programs. 

Our board of directors consistently strives to offer outstanding opportunities for our members to gather and share their experiences. Continuing this drive to improve, we review our events, send out surveys, and adjust the networking programs to meet your needs. We greatly value our industry partners and their vital role in making our events successful. With their financial support and dedication, we can offer high-quality food and beverages that enhance our gatherings. Our primary objective is to provide them with opportunities to connect with their customers in a relaxed and enjoyable environment, and our receptions serve as the perfect setting for this purpose. I want to express my sincere gratitude for their ongoing support. 

We are continually progressing in our efforts to promote and engage our membership, and we are grateful to share our success with our executive director, Courtney White, whose unwavering enthusiasm for new ideas and opportunities to grow brings our vision to life. 

Looking back on my tenure as the OGSA President, I am grateful for the chance to spend time with the individuals who have mentored me, motivated me, and become lifelong friends. It's truly an honour to be included among the esteemed presidents of the OGSA. 

I eagerly anticipate the opportunity to reunite with all of you in Niagara Falls from January 16-18, 2024, as we come together to celebrate our remarkable 100-year journey and enthusiastically embrace the future that lies ahead.   

The time and effort invested in planning our Centennial Celebration at our conference in Niagara Falls promises an extraordinary experience. Our opening night party at the Niagara Power Station will be an event you can't miss. We've extended invitations to our Past Presidents, who have paved the way for our association over the years. Additionally, we've invited leaders from other golf-related associations to join us in our celebrations. 

This year has been a record-breaking year for the OGSA and its members, and as I hand the gavel to Ian McQueen in January, I am confident that we will continue to see great things come from the OGSA. 

Respectfully Submitted, 

Owen Russell

President, OGSA
Superintendent, Markland Wood Golf Club