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Colorado and Oregon state lawmakers laud golf industry economic, environmental impact

by Government Affairs Team | May 24, 2021

Earlier this month, allied golf organizations in Oregon celebrated the proclamation of May as Oregon Golf Month. On May 6, 2021, Oregon Rep. Vikki Breese Iverson (R-Prineville) joined in the celebration by presenting a golf proclamation on the Oregon House Floor. Iverson lauded the state golf industry’s 2019 direct economic impact of $1.6 billion and support of 16,500 jobs across 177 golf facilities – 82% of which are open to the public, as well as a $19.1 million charitable impact.

Iverson also recognized superintendents specifically, noting that Oregon superintendents are leaders in environmental stewardship throughout the 20,000 acres of green infrastructure state superintendents maintain.

In April, the Colorado Golf Coalition, in collaboration with the National Golf Foundation and Radius Sports Group, released the Colorado Golf Economic Impact Report. According to the report, the 2019 economic impact from golf in Colorado totaled $1.3 billion, supported more than 19,400 jobs, provided $696.5 million in wage income, and generated more than $166.5 million in state and local taxes.

In addition to a positive economic impact at the state and local level, Colorado’s golf industry provides great environmental advantages as well. In 2019, Colorado golf courses contributed to approximately 33,061 acres of greenspace including 11,855 acres of water, wetlands, and native rough. The Colorado Golf Economic Impact Report also noted ecological benefits such as filtering surface water runoff, support for wildlife and pollinator habitats, and cooling the urban heat island.

Colorado’s golf industry was recognized at the state capitol on in both the House and the Senate. On April 14, after a tribute to the state’s industry was read, House Majority Leader Rep. Daneya Esgar (D-Pueblo) added her personal feeling about golf.

“If you would have told me 10 years ago that I’d be standing in the well of the State House talking about the benefits of golf, I probably would have thought you were a little crazy,” she said. “I have always enjoyed golf, but it wasn’t until I met my wife and her family, my brother is actually a professional golf expert as well, (that) I have learned the benefits of what golf can mean to our communities. I hope, if you didn’t hear the tribute, you go and do take a look at this report. It’s more than just a sport. It truly is helpful in raising money, it’s helpful in protecting lands. Seventy-six percent of these courses are public golf courses. Pueblo County alone has three that I frequent. It’s a great Colorado sport with the amount of sunshine we have every year in this state, but (it) actually positively impacts our state in great ways as well. So thank you for your time.”