Industry News

GCSAA elects Barajas as president

Barajas elected president of Golf Course Superintendents Association of America

Election took place as part of the 2019 Golf Industry Show in San Diego

Lawrence, Kan. (Feb. 7, 2019) Rafael Barajas, the certified golf course superintendent (CGCS) at Boca Grove Golf & Tennis Club in Boca Raton, Fla., has been elected to a one-year term as president of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) at the association's annual meeting Feb. 7, held in conjunction with the Golf Industry Show in San Diego. He is the first Hispanic president in the association’s history.

Barajas served as vice president of the association in 2018 and has been a member of the association’s board of directors since 2012. A 33-year member of GCSAA, Barajas is also a member of the Florida GCSA, South Florida GCSA, Palm Beach GCSA, Hi-Lo Desert GCSA, Southern California GCSA and California GCSA.

Born in Mexico, Barajas’s family moved to the United States in 1978 when he was 14. Previously, he was the superintendent at Hacienda Golf Club in La Habra Heights, Calif. In addition, he served as the superintendent at Palm Desert (Calif.) Country Club, the director of golf course maintenance at Desert Lakes Golf Club in Fort Mohave, Ariz., and as a superintendent at various courses for American Golf Corp.

He has a certificate in turfgrass management from the University of California, Riverside.

“Words cannot adequately convey how honored and humbled I am to be elected the 83rd president of GCSAA,” Barajas said. “I will dedicate my full attention and my uncompromising commitment to the position.”

Other elected officers were John R. Fulling Jr., CGCS and grounds and facilities manager at Kalamazoo (Mich.) Country Club, as vice president, and Mark F. Jordan, CGCS and natural resource leader at Westfield Country Club in Westfield Center, Ohio, as secretary/treasurer.

Board members Jeff L. White, CGCS and superintendent at Indian Hills Country Club in Prairie Village, Kan., and T.A. Barker, CGCS and superintendent at Fore Lakes Golf Course in Taylorsville, Utah, were elected to serve again, while Paul L. Carter, CGCS, at Bear Trace at Harrison Bay in Harrison, Tenn., was newly elected to the board.

Kevin P. Breen, CGCS and golf course superintendent at La Rinconada Country Club in Los Gatos, Calif., and Kevin P. Sunderman, director of grounds at Isla Del Sol Yacht and Country Club in St. Petersburg, Fla., continue their service to the board with one year remaining on two-year terms. Darren J. Davis, CGCS and golf course superintendent at Olde Florida Golf Club in Naples, Fla., will serve as immediate past president, while past president Bill H. Maynard, CGCS and director of golf course maintenance operations at The Country Club of St. Albans (Mo.), retires from board service.

In addition, delegates approved a dues increase and three changes to the association’s bylaws.


2019 Golf Industry Show highlights
The GCSAA Education Conference, held in conjunction with the Golf Industry Show, is the largest educational conference in the turfgrass management industry. A total of 5,479 seminar seats were filled. In addition, thousands attended complimentary forums, sessions and panel discussions throughout the week. Subject matter included agronomics, business, environmental management, communications, leadership, technology, and personnel management. Events included a full-size replica of a maintenance facility on the trade show floor, advocacy training and free seminars on best management practices.

GIS total attendance was 11,900, which was up from 2018 and included an 11 percent increase in qualified buyers. The two-day trade show covered more than 208,650 square feet of exhibit space at the San Diego Convention Center and hosted 510 of exhibitors.

“The value of the Golf Industry Show is clear to our core audience of superintendent members and other golf course management professionals,” GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans said. “The Golf Industry Show continues to offer an education and industry experience that is unmatched. The GIS presents a vibrant opportunity for attendees to learn about the current industry issues, see the latest innovations, advance their careers and enhance the game of golf.”

The 2020 Golf Industry Show will head to Orlando, Fla., Jan. 25-30.

In other news from the Golf Industry Show:

  • Steve Gilley, superintendent at Panorama Golf Club in Conroe, Texas, won the 2019 GCSAA National Championship with a two-day total of 2-over-par 176. He went wire-to-wire on to win the event, played out on the Champions Course at the Omni La Costa Resort in Carlsbad, Calif. Full Story
  • The Kendrick B. Melrose Family Foundation donated $1 million to the Environmental Institute for Golf (EIFG), the philanthropic organization of GCSAA, to support the professional development of golf course equipment managers through creation of the Melrose Equipment Management Endowment. Full Story
  • A team from Penn State University won the annual GCSAA Collegiate Turf Bowl Competition, which was presented in partnership with John Deere Golf. Full Story

About GCSAA and the EIFG
The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) is a leading golf organization in the United States. Its focus is on golf course management, and since 1926 GCSAA has been the top professional association for the men and women who manage golf courses in the U.S. and worldwide. From its headquarters in Lawrence, Kan., the association provides education, information and representation to more than 18,000 members in more than 78 countries. The association’s mission is to serve its members, advance their profession and enhance the enjoyment, growth and vitality of the game of golf. Visit GCSAA at, or find us on Facebook or Twitter. Visit our industry-leading magazine at

The Environmental Institute for Golf is the philanthropic organization of the GCSAA. Its mission is to foster sustainability through research, awareness, education, programs and scholarships for the benefit of golf course management professionals, golf facilities and the game. Visit EIFG at, or find us on Facebook or Twitter.

Angela Hartmann
Associate Director, Communications
Phone: 800-472-7878, ext. 3647 or 785-393-1361 (cell)