By: Chad Kurz, Senior Director
The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) recently assumed leadership of First Green, the only STEM education and environmental outreach program that uses golf courses as hands-on learning labs for middle and high school students. While First Green’s sparkling new website and contemporary logo will immediately catch attention (more on those later), the official unveiling took months of thoughtful planning and careful deliberation between the GCSAA, the incumbent First Green team, and Buffalo.Agency. In this two-part series, take a look behind-the-scenes of our collective re-imagining for this revolutionary program.
Part 1 | Part 2
A New Website, from the Ground Up
While the logo refinements took center stage, our web team worked tirelessly to set up the foundational elements for First Green’s new digital home. WordPress serves as the CMS for the site, providing flexibility, front- and back-end ease of use, and adaptability to evolve over time as First Green continues to grow. Beyond the CMS, several key technology integrations and functionality requirements deliver a site that not only looks beautiful, but also allow the site to expand its utility – field trip registrations, newsletter sign-ups, donations, event calendars, user-generated content, and more.
Visually, we emphasized bold, hi-res imagery that brings the experience of attending a First Green field trip to life. From the picturesque backdrops that each course provides to students’ inquisitive expressions as they study soil samples, we chose photography that draws visitors into the site to learn more about the benefits of the program.
Thanks to a streamlined navigation and site architecture, those user journeys – specifically tailored for each audience – now deliver visitors to the content most meaningful to them; supply lists for golf course superintendents, curriculum for teachers, volunteer information for parents, or donation opportunities for potential sponsors, or Friends of First Green. Paired with more succinct copy – migrated from the old site as well as generated anew – we reimagined the entire user experience to put the program, its benefits, and the key role that GCSAA membership plays, front and center. But don’t take our word for it, check it out for yourself:
Immediately before, during and since launch, Buffalo has helped ensure a smooth transition, trained GCSAA staff on WordPress, and offered content ideas to populate the new site with the latest First Green updates. What’s more, the new brand has highlighted for GCSAA an opportunity to further enhance some of its other programs.
Partners, not Clients
Last but certainly not least, we’d be remiss not to recognize the GCSAA project team. Change of this magnitude can be nerve-wracking, intimidating and any number of other scary adjectives. Yet the team was forthcoming, committed to the process, and open to new ideas; we can’t overstate how critical that level of engagement is from a partner.
We hope they learned and grew as much from this experience as we have, and we thank the entire organization for entrusting Buffalo to take this transformative journey with them.