GCSAA's certification program

A complete guide to the certified golf course superintendent designation



GCSAA offers a professional certification program that enables golf course superintendents to be recognized for their high level of achievement in golf course management. The professional designation, Certified Golf Course Superintendent (CGCS), is bestowed upon those who voluntarily meet the stringent requirements.

The CGCS designation is the most widely recognized in the golf industry and the highest level of recognition that can be achieved. Approximately 25% of GCSAA Class A members are certified golf course superintendents.


What new CGCSs say about the program

"Ever since I decided to pursue a career in turfgrass management, I have always had the goal of becoming a certified golf course superintendent. I have been fortunate to work for several certified superintendents who have exemplified leadership, professionalism and a commitment to success. Some of the greatest lessons involved ethics, values and responsibility – all of which the certification process commands. This program has helped me reinforce certain proficencies while strengthening others. I hope as a CGCS, I can be a mentor to future industry professionals and provide a positive influence on their careers.”

– Peter J. Rappoccio, CGCS, Concord Country Club, Concord, Mass.

"I joined GCSAA in 1997 and attended my first Golf Industry Show in 1999. It didn’t take long for me to recognize the significance of the CGCS designation. As a young, up-and-coming agronomist with a passion for golf, I wanted to be one of the best; and I knew obtaining certification would naturally be part of the process. I had the good fortune to work under Rick Owens, CGCS, for over two years after graduating with my turf degree. He was, and still is, a great mentor. Fast forward many years later, and work and life sometimes get in the way. Although I met the requirements and was eligible to pursue certification in 2005, I didn’t even begin to take it seriously until last year – thanks in large part to my loving wife of nearly 18 years (she has been with me from the beginning of this profession). She knew I needed a goal and something to drive me. She insisted I pursue certification, and she wouldn’t take no for an answer. She was so right. The process was not easy, but then nothing worthwhile in life ever is. Along the way I learned a lot, not only about my profession, but more importantly myself. Becoming a certified golf course superintendent is my greatest accomplishment professionally. Thank you GCSAA for providing the opportunity!"

– Matthew Wharton, CGCS, Carolina Golf Club, Charlotte, N.C.

"The certification program is a thorough study of agronomics, business, leadership, management and professionalism. Superintendents learn to assess all their education, experience and management practices throughout the entire process, which ultimately helps in improving themselves and their respective golf facilities. The certification process also demonstrates a strong commitment to professional development to employers. I have been fortunate to work around great peers, mentors and golf clubs, and earning my CGCS status is a career milestone for which I can be proud. I look forward to mentoring the next generation of superintendents as they seek the highest proficiency in our industry."

– Erin L. Stevens, CGCS, Emerald Dunes Club, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.