May 27, 2014
We Are Golf effort showcases game’s economic, charitable, environmental and fitness benefits
GCSAA joins golf industry on Capitol Hill for National Golf Day
WASHINGTON, D.C. - With a focus on environmental issues and proposed changes to the Clean Water Act, members and staff from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) joined with other golf leaders for the seventh annual National Golf Day on May 21.
National Golf Day is a broad industry effort under the auspice of We Are Golf - a coalition of the game's leading associations and industry partners - designed to showcase golf's nearly $70 billion economy, $4 billion annual charitable impact, environmental value to local communities and fitness benefits.
Golf's leaders met with members of Congress throughout the day to share stories about the game's almost 15,000 diverse small businesses, which employ more than 2 million people and provide $55.6 billion in annual wage income. In addition, industry executives discussed golf courses' positive influences on ecology, tax revenues and tourism.
For GCSAA, the day brought members of its Board of Directors, Government Relations Committee and select staff to Washington for more than 85 individual meetings with lawmakers and their staffs - meetings that focused as much on the broader messages of National Golf Day as on issues of specific interest to golf course superintendents and the golf course management industry.
"National Golf Day presents a unique opportunity not only for the golf industry, but also for GCSAA and its members, to make personal connections with members of Congress and to help them understand the role the game plays in the economic, environmental and charitable life of our communities," says GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans. "The opportunity to educate lawmakers on issues of importance to our members and the stewardship role superintendents play every day is one we embrace. We are proud of our association with We Are Golf and our participation in National Golf Day."
One of GCSAA's key messages to lawmakers focused on the Clean Water Act and proposed changes to how the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines "waters of the United States," a key pillar of the act. If changed, the rule could greatly expand what water bodies falls under federal jurisdiction and, ultimately, negatively impact superintendent's ability to maintain their golf courses.
"This proposed change has the potential to greatly affect almost every golf facility in the country and many maintenance practices that takes place on a golf course," says Chava McKeel, GCSAA's associate director, government relations. "Our members coming to Capitol Hill and communicating about this important issue, along with many more, sends a strong message and helps strengthen the overall position of both the profession and the association in matters of advocacy and government relations."
National Golf Day also featured a day-long exhibit in the Cannon Caucus Room with a host of golf exhibits, including a section that was dedicated to golf course maintenance and its tools manned by members of the Mid-Atlantic Association of Golf Course Superintendents, and a display featuring the soon-to-be-opened Grass Roots exhibit at the U.S. National Arboretum. In addition, live golf lessons for members of Congress and staff were provided by 2012 PGA Teacher of the Year Michael Breed, host of "The Golf Fix" on Golf Channel, and LPGA Professional Dana Rader. Other special exhibits and activities included a "Closest to the Pin" contest utilizing an aboutGolf simulator; state-of-the-art swing analysis from GolfTEC; Birdie Ball, the latest at-home training technology; and a Republican vs. Democrat "Putting Challenge."
In addition to GCSAA, organizations participating in National Golf Day included the Club Managers Association of America (CMAA), Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA), PGA of America (PGA), PGA Tour, United States Golf Association (USGA), United States Golf Manufacturers Council, World Golf Foundation and others.
"Today, we stood together in D.C. to represent the 2 million men and women whose livelihoods depend on the golf industry," says Steve Mona, CEO of World Golf Foundation and administrator of We Are Golf. "Our unified voice helps Congressional members better understand the profound influence golf has on the American economy."
Visit the social media hub at www.wearegolf.org/social-media/national-golf-day. Through May 31, be sure to use #NGD14 and tag @wearegolf on Twitter and Instagram to show your support.
About GCSAA and the EIFG
GCSAA is a leading golf organization and has as its focus golf course management. Since 1926, GCSAA has been the top professional association for the men and women who manage golf courses in the United States and worldwide. From its headquarters in Lawrence, Kan., the association provides education, information and representation to nearly 18,000 members in more than 72 countries. GCSAA's mission is to serve its members, advance their profession and enhance the enjoyment, growth and vitality of the game of golf. Find GCSAA on Facebook, follow GCSAA on Twitter, and visit GCSAA at www.gcsaa.org. The Environmental Institute for Golf is the philanthropic organization of the GCSAA, and has as its mission to foster sustainability through research, awareness, education, programs and scholarships for the benefit of golf course management professionals, golf facilities and the game. Visit www.eifg.org.
About WE ARE GOLF
WE ARE GOLF, created in 2010, is an industry coalition that communicates the economic, charitable and environmental impact of golf, as well as its health and wellness benefits and the affordability and accessibility of golf, to members of Congress, the executive branch and regulatory agencies. The goal of WE ARE GOLF is to ensure that laws and regulations that impact the golf industry are equitable and appropriate to an industry that generates nearly $70 billion in economic impact annually, employs close to 2 million Americans and generates nearly $4 billion in charitable giving each year. For more information, please visit www.wearegolf.org.