My name is Randy Brehmer, CGCS and I am the Director of Grounds at The Fort Golf Resort in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Fort Golf Resort is an 18 hole golf course that is part of a 2000 acre property that was formerly The Fort Harrison Military Base. In 1996, the base was decommissioned and the property was acquired by the State of Indiana to become a State Park. The golf course was part of the acquisition as well. The property was turned over to The Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Pete Dye volunteered to redesign and rebuild the golf course. I started in January of 1997 and we opened the golf in August of 1997. The golf course sites on 240 acres of rolling and wooded acreage surrounded by a heavily wooded state park.
We are partnering with Crestview Elementary School which is part of The Lawrence School Corporation. Lawrence schools are the local schools that surround the golf course. We are working with the fourth grade class which consists of 3 classes and approximately 130 students.
We have done 2 field trips with them so far. Our first was in the fall of 2018 and our second in the fall of 2019. Our 2020 field trip is scheduled for September.
I decided to get involved with the First Green program after attending an introductory workshop and field trip at the Golf Industry Show in Orlando in 2016. I was very impressed with the targets and objectives of the program. I came back and discussed the program with our management team and received immediate approval to get started.
When we set up our first program, I solicited help from a number of fellow superintendents, local distributor representatives, and my employer, The Department of Natural Resources. We have developed a great partnership and we are very fortunate to have the assistance of so many people. Some of the superintendents that assist me have gone on to host their own field trips or are planning one. A local vendor stepped forward to cover the cost of bus transportation for the students and helps with the field trip. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources naturalists bring in a group of large birds for one of our stations for the kids to see up close. Our Park Naturalist does a station on local wildlife and habitats. Our golf shop staff is very involved and our hotel and restaurant staff get involved as well.
I think the team that we have assembled has done really great things with our first two field trips. Seeing kids on the golf course that may never have the opportunity to be on a golf course is great. Seeing a handicapped young lady in a wheelchair helped to stand and hit a golf ball is very rewarding. Seeing the kid’s eyes when a bald eagle opens its wings ten feet away from them is incredible. Watching kids work in teams to measure the square footage of a putting surface and then doing the math calculations is great. The best part is just having the kids on the golf course so they can see what we do every day.
Working Towards a STEM Certified School
The Lawrence School Corporation is working to get all of their schools STEM Certified. I was asked to be a contributing partner for Crestview Elementary. I have been asked to provide more information about our Field Trip Program and other programs like the Audubon Schools Program. I have been able to sit in on one development session so far to learn more about what is totally required for the certification program. Our field trip has been added to the fall curriculum block for the fourth grade class and is a part of the math, science, and environmental block. My staff and I will be installing nesting boxes and a bat house at the school this spring as well so the kids can watch and monitor the bird activities.
We are fortunate to have the partnership with Crestview Elementary. I am also very lucky to have the support and assistance from my fellow superintendents, salespeople, and our staff.
L. Randall Brehmer, CGCS