Graves earns national environmental award

August 26, 2010 in 2-year, Alumni, Awards

Dean Graves, certified golf course superintendent at Chevy Chase (Md.) Club, has been selected by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America Board of Directors to receive the 2011 GCSAA President’s Award for Environmental Stewardship.

The award will be presented during the 2011 GCSAA Education Conference at Celebrate GCSAA! presented by Syngenta, Feb. 8. Celebrate GCSAA! is hosted by GCSAA President James R. Fitzroy, CGCS. The conference (Feb. 7-11) will be held in conjunction with the Golf Industry Show (Feb. 9-10) at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.

“This is a well deserved honor for Dean,” Fitzroy said. “He has been a passionate advocate for the positive attributes of golf facilities throughout his career. Whether making positive changes at Chevy Chase Club, conducting golf course site visits, advocating for the profession, providing public testimony, or building relationships with lawmakers, Dean has been a positive force in advancing the environmental stewardship of the golf course industry.”

The GCSAA President’s Award for Environmental Stewardship was established in 1991 to recognize “an exceptional environmental contribution to the game of golf: a contribution that further exemplifies the golf course superintendent’s image as a steward of the land.”

Graves is a 30-year GCSAA member and has spent his career committed to environmental stewardship as superintendent at several Washington, D.C.-area golf facilities. He has Chevy Chase Club certified in the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program. Graves also received Audubon certification at Bethesda (Md.) Country Club, during his time as superintendent there. A past president of the Mid-Atlantic Association of Golf Course Superintendents (MAAGCS), Graves currently chairs the chapter’s Chesapeake Bay Preservation Committee.

In his 10 years at Chevy Chase Club, Graves has significantly increased the acreage dedicated to wildlife habitat, converting out of play areas of traditionally mowed turfgrass to lower maintenance vegetation mixes and instituting a bird-nesting program. In an effort to conserve water, Graves has improved the precision and control of the irrigation system at Chevy Chase Club and developed sophisticated programs to control water use throughout the course. He is also working directly with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, state agencies and golf industries to develop practical nutrient management policy as part of future regulatory demand on states within the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

The recipient of the 2003 GCSAA Excellence in Government Relations Award, Graves has built collaborative relationships with local, state and national regulators, legislators and government officials; advocating for the benefits of the golf course industry and serving as a resource to officials as they examine environmental issues related to golf course management. He has proactively worked with the EPA and its office of pesticide programs, hosting groups at Chevy Chase Club to share how golf courses are managed and show EPA scientists how their regulatory decisions affect a golf course operation.

Graves has a bachelor’s degree in agriculture/plant science from the University of Delaware, where he played college golf. He also has a two-year turf management certificate from Penn State [Dean’s son Nick also graduated from the program in 2010] and is one of only 1,700 active superintendents to earn the professional designation GCSAA Certified Golf Course Superintendent. Graves has been on the GCSAA Government Relations Committee and has served as the MAAGCS government relations director. He has also spent time on the Maryland Water Conservation Committee, Maryland Governor’s Drought Task Force, and the Maryland Association of Green Industries.

GCSAA is a leading golf organization and has as its focus golf course management. Since 1926, GCSAA has been the top professional association for the men and women who manage golf courses in the United States and worldwide. From its headquarters in Lawrence, Kan., the association provides education, information and representation to more than 20,000 members in more than 72 countries. GCSAA’s mission is to serve its members, advance their profession and enhance the enjoyment, growth and vitality of the game of golf. The association’s philanthropic organization, The Environmental Institute for Golf, works to strengthen the compatibility of golf with the natural environment through research grants, support for education programs and outreach efforts. Visit GCSAA at

GCSAA President’s Award for Environmental Stewardship past recipients