California Superintendent Wins Top Award from Environmental Leaders in Golf

Tim Powers, the superintendent at Crystal Springs Golf Course in Burlingame, Calif., has been selected as the 2011 overall winner of the prestigious Environmental Leaders in Golf Award (ELGA).

Presented in conjunction with Golf Digest, the ELGA is the highest honor awarded by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America. As the overall contest winner, Powers was chosen over four individual category winners: National Public, National Private, National Resort, and International.

A 24-year GCSAA member, Powers previously won nine ELGA Chapter and Merit awards in addition to an array of other industry and environmental honors. This is his first National Overall award, and the second for CourseCo, a golf course management company that runs Crystal Springs; the firm operates 21 public golf facilities from Southern California to Washington State. No other golf management company has been so honored.

"It's part of the mission statement," said Powers said of CourseCo's philosophy. "And something I was told from the first day I was interviewed."

Built in 1924 and located in the West Bay hills some 15 miles south of San Francisco, Crystal Springs sits within a 32,000-acre wildlife refuge overlooking the massive natural reservoir that provides much of the drinking water for the Bay Area. It is part of a select group of courses to be fully Audubon Certified, and as part of a state game preserve is home to an abundance of wildlife, including small herds of deer, which regularly graze and travel throughout the course. Powers has been superintendent at Crystal Springs since 2001.

"Even among our superb cadre of superintendents, Tim stands out," said CourseCo's CEO, Tom Isaak. "He exemplifies and models best practices in sustainable golf management, and proves continuously that doing so is not at odds with turf grass quality, nor is it budget dependent. CourseCo is extremely proud of his work at Crystal Springs."

Powers lives on the property (the only home on the site) and shares a keen interest in capturing on film the unique setting with many golfers. "I see people bring out cameras all the time," said Powers. "I always have a camera with me on the course, because I never know when I'm going to have the opportunity to catch wildlife, fog, deer, sunrise, sunset, spider webs, or whatever. My Christmas card every year is a picture I've taken on the golf course."

ELGA winners are chosen by an independent panel comprised of turf grass experts, university researchers, national environmental groups, and members of the golf industry. Winners are honored as role models for going above and beyond in their environmental stewardship.

"This golf course really is my yard," said Powers. "And that's the way we treat it." Powers and the other ELGA honorees will officially receive their awards at this week's Golf Industry Show in Las Vegas.

For more information about CourseCo, visit