Golf leader going international

World Golf Foundation hires superintendents’ CEO

September 27, 2007


Three Questions with ... Steve Mona, longtime leader of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America

Steve Mona, longtime leader of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, is leaving the domestic post in Lawrence for an an international job: as leader of the World Golf Foundation.

Steve Mona named new CEO for 'World Golf Foundation'

The top administrator for a Lawrence-based association is leaving town for an international post. Enlarge video

The leader of Lawrence-based Golf Course Superintendents Association of America is leaving for another job with global influence.

After 14 years as the association's top administrator, Steve Mona was introduced Wednesday as chief executive officer of the World Golf Foundation, an organization charged with uniting the international golf industry and upholding the game's traditions and values.

PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem made the announcement at the Presidents Cup, the golf showcase pitting America's top professional golfers - including Tiger Woods - against an international team at Royal Montreal Golf Club in Montreal, Quebec.

Among Mona's first responsibilities will be starting an anti-doping office, to which golf's leading organizations - including the PGA, European and LPGA tours - will turn for technical advice and information about common standards for preserving the integrity of the game.

"Tim half-jokingly said to me, 'You'll have to become an expert on doping,'" Mona said, during a phone interview from Montreal. "We're going to be advising tours on what they should and shouldn't be doing, and so that's a pretty heavy responsibility. ...

"And the whole image of the game is at stake with this issue, because there are those of us in golf - and I'm one of them - that feel that golf's an honorable game played by honorable people. I personally don't think the use of these substances is a problem in golf, and I'll stand by that statement, but yet we have to prove that, without a shadow of a doubt, and that's what we intend to do through this drug testing."

Mona's role will be about more than addressing questions about performance-enhancing drugs. The foundation, a nonprofit organization formed in 1994, already oversees:

¢ The First Tee program, which promotes character development and values for young people through golf instruction.

¢ The World Golf Hall of Fame, a complex in St. Augustine, Fla.

¢ Golf 20/20, an ongoing effort to expand the number and diversity of people playing golf worldwide.

In past years, the foundation has had revenues of more than $37 million. The current staff numbers just under 100.

When Mona came to Lawrence in 1993 to lead the superintendents association, the organization had 72 employees operating on a $12 million budget and working on behalf of 13,300 members.

The association now has a $20 million budget, 120 employees and more than 20,000 members in the U.S. and abroad - superintendents and other professionals who work in an industry responsible for the maintenance and condition of the golf courses themselves.

All but a dozen of the association's employees work out of a headquarters building at 1421 Research Park Drive in western Lawrence. While the association previously entertained offers to move elsewhere - including the World Golf Village in St. Augustine - Mona said Wednesday that he would not "poach" any employees or otherwise push for the association to relocate.

Instead, Mona plans to remain working with the association for up to six months, as the organization seeks another CEO to continue the "unprecedented growth" enjoyed during Mona's leadership, said Ricky Heine, the association's president.


ramsrevenge 10 years, 8 months ago

How hard is it to mow grass? That's all those guys do, and most don't really do it that well. They need an association with 120 employeees?!!! What are all those people doing. I don't know much about this place but to me sounds like a waste.

GSCAA? More like IMGTIA, I Mow Grass That's It Association.

Oh, Congratulations Mr. Mona!

snake_eyes 10 years, 8 months ago

What is it that GCSAA does again? If it's an organization where members get together to talk about mowing grass then Immigration Services might want to check them out. Something fishy could be going on there...

Spades 10 years, 8 months ago

Not quite as simple as 'mowing the lawn.' Golf courses take hundreds of hours per week to keep in shape, let along tournament shape. Attendants who take care of any type of athletic surface, whether it's a baseball field, football field or golf course, are master gardeners. Golf courses are especially tricky, due to the different types of grass used on the greens, fairways and rough. There are different cuts and lengths the grass must be. Most of these course specialists are also educated chemists, determining which fertilizers are needed for the conditions of the course, depending on the weather conditions, times of year. They also care for the other plants on the courses... the foliage, trees. There are different types of sand used in the bunkers. They also have to worry about drainage of the land, how much rain will destroy the course. What about watering/sprinklers... where is the water needed? How much is needed? Greens take different amounts of water than a fairway or rough. They work with course designers... where do we need to dig to slope this green, or dog-leg the fairway. Simple minds believe it's lawn care, or mowing a lawn. Do not underestimate the knowledge of these people. I would welcome them to come to my house and teach me how to care for a lawn, but they have much more important things to do than simple 'lawn care.' Incredible job getting the courses ready for the year, especially the Tour Championships, which were deluged by rain the week prior. Or the Open, which was record high temps. Simple lawn mowers...

short_one 10 years, 8 months ago

Why do some of you care? None of these organizations are tax-supported so who cares what goes on? Also, like it or not, golf is a multi-billion dollar industry--the money earned by people working for the golf industry pays a lot of taxes and buys a lot of consumer goods. So for one, get over yourself.

ljb 10 years, 8 months ago

All I can say is kudo's to any company in Lawrence that is able to employ 120 people above minimum wage!

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