The Chicago District Golf Association Turfgrass Program was launched in 1985 with the hiring of Dr. Randy Kane. This position was created in an effort to provide CDGA member clubs a rapid onsite diagnostic service to help promote healthier turfgrass that improve playing conditions. Over time, this program evolved to include an applied research component in collaboration with other industry professionals across the Midwest. For more information about the inception of the CDGA Turfgrass Programs, click here. Dr. Kane was followed in this pursuit by Drs. Derek Settle (2006-2012) and Ed Nangle (2013-2016). In January of 2017, Dr. Jesse Benelli joined the CDGA to lead the Turfgrass Programs.
The foundation of the Turfgrass Programs is to provide research-based solutions to 400 member clubs and uses three vehicles to reach turfgrass professionals: education, research, and diagnostics. When the Association moved into the Midwest Golf House in 2001, numerous programs and services, including the Turfgrass Program, were expanded to benefit the membership. The newly constructed Sunshine Course located at Midwest Golf House was designed to facilitate turfgrass research and to provide a fun golfing experience to various youth organizations. This research site allows for collaborative research projects with other industry and academic professionals across the Midwest.
Educational Programs: Numerous educational opportunities exist for CDGA member clubs. Research findings are disseminated to member clubs through various in-person and online avenues. In-person opportunities include educational meetings at various events including numerous GCSAA chapter meetings across the Midwest. Additionally, the CDGA hosts educational opportunities each year at the Midwest Golf House. Online education includes the use of weekly scouting reports, research reports, social media, and other digital platforms.
A Directors and Club Leadership Conference is held annually in March at Medinah Country Club. This unique educational venue has a break-out session for green committee members and provides green committee chairmen and superintendents with a current overview of turfgrass science, a review of last season’s growing conditions and a "focus topic" based on current concerns.
Research: The CDGA Turfgrass Programs conducts numerous research projects to provide up-to-date solutions to member organizations. Research projects includes turfgrass disease management, turfgrass weed control, turfgrass variety evaluations, and much more. Please contact Dr. Benelli to collaborate on future research opportunities.
Diagnostic Services:The Turfgrass Program offers a diagnostic service for golf course superintendents at member clubs. Diagnostic visits continue to be the foundation of the program. To receive diagnostic assistance, contact Dr. Benelli at Jbenelli@CDGA.org or (630) 685-2307.