Arizona Speaker of the House Rusty Bowers spoke with members of Arizona’s allied golf associations on Aug. 17. Bowers, who represents Arizona District 25, is a staunch supporter of the Arizona golf industry, clearly recognizing its economic value to the state as well as the recreation opportunities it provides both residents and visitors.
Representing the golf industry on the call were Desert Mountain Director of Agronomy Shawn Emerson; Ping Golf Corporate Counsel Dawn Grove; GCSAA Southwest Field Representative Jeff Jensen: Troon Golf Manager of Environmental Science Bri Kenny; GCSAA Manager, Government Affairs Michael Lee; Grayhawk Golf Club Superintendent Ernie Pock; Desert Mountain Superintendent Marc Snyder; Apache Sun Superintendent and General Manager Rory Van Poucke; and Cactus & Pine GCSA President and Whispering Rock Superintendent Mark Woodward, CGCS.
The call focused on the economic impact of the golf industry in Arizona and what effect the current coronavirus pandemic and impending water crisis will have on the game.
Emerson, Pock and Snyder spoke to the games $3.- billion economic contribution and more than 41,000 direct and indirect jobs. Pock highlighted the economic difficulties that the pandemic has placed on Arizona’s daily fee courses (including cancellation of the NCAA Golf Championships this past May) and noted concerns that courses have with revenue during the upcoming fall season due to travel restrictions and reduced non-resident play during what would normally be a very busy time of year.
Grove discussed the impact on sales and manufacturing at Ping, which is headquartered in Phoenix. Ping had to shut down their custom club fitting operations during the pandemic and, along with the big box retail shutdown, the pandemic had a draconian effect on golf manufacturing and hard/soft good sales nationwide.
Woodward discussed the efforts of the Arizona Golf Alliance and the upcoming efforts to update the 2014 Economic Impact Study that was headed up by the Cactus & Pine GCSA.
Jensen, Lee and Van Poucke spoke on environmental and water issues facing golf in the state. Van Poucke thanked Bowers for his letter to the Arizona Department of Water Resources supporting golf course water allocations in the Fourth Management Plan as well as discussing the newly created Water Conservation Task Force which will assist in overseeing golf course water policy in the state. Jensen and Lee discussed GCSAA’s BMP initiatives as well as concerns about Colorado River allotments to Arizona should the levels at Lake Mead drop below 1,075 feet.
Bowers shared his insights on the importance of the upcoming election both federally and at the state level as well as providing some ideas on how the game can further promote itself to Arizona’s policymakers. The Arizona golf industry truly appreciates the Speaker’s time, insight and consideration of the golf industry in Arizona.
For more information on resources in Arizona including the Economic Impact Study, Arizona BMP and Water Conservation Task Force, visit the Cactus & Pine GCSA website.