Industry News

Swilley wins GCSAA Grassroots Ambassador Leadership Award

Golf course superintendent honored for advocacy efforts, advancement of association priority issues and congressional outreach

Lawrence, Kan. (Sept. 30, 2019) – Ryan Swilley, golf course superintendent at Gulf Stream Golf Club in Gulf Stream, Fla., has been named a Grassroots Ambassador Leadership Award winner from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA).

Superintendent Ryan Swilley (right), with Greg Langowski, regional director for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, at Gulf Stream (Fla.) Golf Club, a 1924 Donald Ross design on the Atlantic Ocean

The Grassroots Ambassador Leadership Award, presented quarterly in partnership with The Toro Co., recognizes and honors individuals who have demonstrated growth in advocacy and advancement of the GCSAA Priority Issues Agenda through congressional outreach and relationship development with a member of Congress. Through Toro, the winners will receive a trip to take part in the 2020 National Golf Day in Washington, D.C.

“Congratulations to Ryan for being recognized for his hard work and dedication to the golf industry,” GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans said. “As a Grassroots Ambassador, he is a passionate advocate for golf in Florida and on the national level.”

The GAL Award is part of the GCSAA Grassroots Ambassadors, a program that matches superintendents with members of Congress to build strong relationships between them. More than 350 GCSAA members currently serve as ambassadors.

A 12-year member of GCSAA, Swilley became an ambassador in 2017. He also is an active member and serves as treasurer of the Palm Beach GCSA. It was a presentation at a chapter meeting that sparked his involvement in the ambassador program.

“The program appealed to me because I recognize the many challenges the golf industry faces from a legislative and regulatory perspective at each level of government,” Swilley said. “I saw this opportunity as a way to make an impact on a broader scale by honing my skills as a leader and bringing people together to tackle issues facing our industry.”

Swilley was originally paired with Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL) and had several meetings with him to discuss GCSAA’s priority issues. More recently, he has been paired with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and has already hosted Rubio’s Regional Director Greg Langowski at Gulf Stream GC.

“I took him around our property in April and discussed labor issues, environmental initiatives and regulatory issues impacting fertilizers and pesticides,” Swilley said. “He was very impressed by the many efforts being made to conserve water, protect the environment and provide a sound ecosystem for wildlife and golfers alike.”

Swilley is also a regular attendee of the National Golf Day, having attended the event the last three years to advocate on behalf of the golf industry on Capitol Hill.


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 nearly 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
Director, Marketing and Communications
Phone: 800-472-7878, ext. 3647 or 785-393-1361 (cell)