Industry News

Arizona superintendent Van Poucke earns GCSAA honor

Advocacy efforts on behalf of GCSAA, Arizona and his golf course set Van Poucke apart 

Lawrence, Kan. (Jan. 10, 2017) – Rory Van Poucke, the Class A golf course superintendent at Apache Sun Golf Club in San Tan Valley, Ariz., has earned the 2017 Excellence in Government Affairs Award from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) for his passion and hard work in advocating for the golf course management profession. GCSAA annually recognizes a chapter, coalition or superintendent for outstanding advocacy or compliance efforts in government affairs.

Van Poucke, a 25-year member of GCSAA, was one of the first to join the association's Grassroots Ambassador program when it was launched in 2014. It was a way for Van Poucke to demonstrate his passion for his profession.

In his state, Van Poucke has organized annual water summits and invited Arizona federal and state legislators and regulators to help them better understand water use in the golf industry. He has even run for a seat on the Central Arizona Project board, which controls water distribution to central and southern Arizona.

In addition, he is in his second year as president of the Cactus and Pine Golf Course Superintendents Association, which covers all of Arizona and represents a state industry that delivers $3.9 billion in economic impact.

“To be involved in all that GCSAA is doing is satisfying for me,” said Van Poucke, who also serves as general manager of the facility and was the course owner, along with his father, until 2005. “From my perspective, what GCSAA is doing is important for superintendents and the entire golf industry. Only by being involved can you make a difference.”

A native of the Chicago area where his family owned a 36-hole golf facility, the 56-year-old Van Poucke admits that he has grown to enjoy advocating for the golf industry.

“It was nerve wracking at first, but it takes time to build trust and earn the respect of legislators and regulators,” said Van Poucke. “I have attended the last three National Golf Days in Washington each spring, and it’s one of the most fulfilling things I do. Getting involved has opened my eyes to all that we do, and all that we still need to do.”

Van Poucke will be formally recognized Feb. 7 at the Opening Session of the 2017 Golf Industry Show, Feb. 4-9 in Orlando. He will also be featured in an upcoming issue of GCSAA's official monthly publication, Golf Course Management magazine

“Rory Van Poucke has given us a great example of what we can do as environmental stewards when we all work together," said Rhett Evans, GCSAA chief executive officer. “I applaud him for getting involved in the community and showing how the golf industry expertly cares for our natural resources, and for promoting our golf businesses that are vital to growing the economy.”

Nominees were judged by the GCSAA Government Affairs Committee based on how their efforts best serve the interests of the golf course superintendent profession and the golf course management industry. 


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.

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.

Craig Smith, Director, Communications and Media Relations
Phone: 800-472-7878, ext. 4431 or 785-691-9197 (cell)