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Carolinas Golf Association Collaborates with USGA to Support Greenkeeper Apprentice Program


In 1979, the Carolinas Golf Foundation (CGF) gave its first grants totaling $15,050.  Those recipients were Catawba Valley Community College, Clemson University, Mississippi State, NC State, and Texas A&M, and every dollar of these grants was used to support turfgrass research. 


In 1982, the Carolinas Golf Association (CGA) hired its first agronomist, Dr. Carl Blake, to assist CGA member clubs with turf issues.


45 years, five agronomists, and $3.2 million later, the CGA and CGF continue to support turfgrass and golfing initiatives across the Carolinas.


So, it seemed fitting that the CGA said yes to a USGA partnership to help sustain the Greenkeeper Apprentice Program (GAP).  GAP is not only a clever acronym but a powerful program that assists with bridging the “gap” to train and gain more educated golf course labor.


GAP began in 2023 when the USGA partnered with Sandhills Community College (Pinehurst, NC) and local golf courses to establish a pilot program. GAP provided a full-turf curriculum and removed traditional barriers to education like cost.  With its first-year accomplishments, GAP sought a few groups, including the CGA, to help augment its turfgrass resume and continue providing students with a stronger base for a lifelong career in golf.


“What is neat for us is that the CGA has been a big turfgrass enthusiast since 1977,” stated Jack Nance, Executive Director.  “Through our 45 years of turfgrass research grants, scholarship donations, staff agronomists and now the GAP alliance, our mission of supporting golf courses from the ground up continues.”


After all, without golf courses, we would have no golfers, golf neighborhoods,  or country club amenities that surround those golf courses.  It all begins with the golf course.


The CGA will be donating $20,000 annually for five years to help ensure that the program stays viable through 2029.


In addition, a new program at Horry-Georgetown Technical College in the Myrtle Beach area and a hybrid-learning opportunity will be established and funded. The extensive commitment will provide tuition-free learning for all students, no matter their location, for one year, along with paid on-the-job training positions at partner golf courses for up to 200 apprentices.


Ultimately, the goal is to see similar programs across the United States.  The CGA is proud to be a part of this inventive and long-term program.


About the Carolinas Golf Association (CGA)

The CGA is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit educational organization founded in 1909 to promote and protect the game of golf in the Carolinas by providing competitions, education, support, and benefits to golf clubs and golfers. The CGA is one of the largest golf associations in the country, with over 700 member clubs represented by over 200,000 individuals.

The CGA annually conducts 48 championships and five team match competitions for men, women, juniors, and seniors. It also runs over 150 One-Day (net and gross) events and qualifying for USGA national championships. The CGA serves golf in the Carolinas with numerous programs such as: the USGA Handicap System; tournament management software and support; course measuring and course/slope ratings; agronomy consultation; answers about the Rules of Golf, Rules of Amateur Status, and Handicapping; Carolinas Golf Magazine; Interclub series; Tarheel Youth Golf Association; Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame; expense assistance for USGA Junior and Girls' Junior qualifiers from the Carolinas; and the Carolinas Golf Foundation (CGF). The CGF has distributed over $3,000,000 since 1977 to benefit Carolinas' golf initiatives, including junior, women and adaptive programs.

For more information about the Carolinas Golf Association, follow @cgagolf1909 on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and TikTok, or visit our website



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