Superintendent honored for advocacy efforts, advancement of association priority issues and congressional outreach
LAWRENCE, Kansas – Christian Sain, golf course superintendent at the Country Club of Virginia in Richmond, Va., has been named a Grassroots Ambassador Leadership Award winner from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA).
The Grassroots Ambassador Leadership Award, presented quarterly in partnership with The Toro Co., recognizes and honors individuals who have demonstrated growth in advocacy and advancement of the GCSAA Priority Issues Agenda through congressional outreach and relationship development with a member of Congress.
Through Toro, the winners receive a trip to take part in the annual National Golf Day event in Washington, D.C.
“Christian’s commitment to advocating on behalf of the golf industry and working to change the public’s perception of the sport truly makes a difference,” GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans said. “His resolve to stay involved in the key issues surrounding the golf course superintendent profession is admirable and has not gone unnoticed. Congratulations to Christian for this merited award.”
The GAL Award is part of the Grassroots Ambassador program, which matches superintendents with members of Congress to build strong relationships between them. More than 480 GCSAA members currently serve as ambassadors representing 90% of congressional districts across the country.
A 32-year member of GCSAA, Sain joined the Grassroots Ambassador program in 2014 because of a longstanding interest in government affairs and advocacy for the golf industry. The issue that motivated him the most to get involved in the program is the H-2B seasonal visa program, which has benefited the Country Club of Virginia for more than 15 years.
“I feel proud to be doing my part in moving this crucial issue, and others, forward. I also feel grateful to be a part of an organization that is truly invested in government affairs,” Sain said. “If the golf industry is to continue overcoming policy challenges, it will be necessary to look ahead and envision what may come next. Being proactive, and not just reactive, is key.”
As a Grassroots Ambassador, Sain is paired with Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA). One of the biggest lessons he has learned is that patience and persistence are key in advocacy because high rates of staff turnover can create challenges when building relationships.
Through Sain’s involvement with the Grassroots Ambassador program, he’s also learned the importance of taking action and being well-prepared for meetings to be able to back up statements and discuss points using science and facts. This has been especially important in his efforts to change the minds of decision-makers who are non-golfers.