On Oct. 25, Bob Helland, GCSAA director of congressional and federal affairs, spoke at the National Links Trust Symposium on Municipal Golf in Washington, D.C. He participated in a panel discussing the state of the industry, led by NGCOA Chief Executive Officer Jay Karen.
While the panel discussed the state of the industry, the focus of the symposium was on “Equity in Action.” So, Helland had a chance to discuss GCSAA’s efforts in diversity, equity and inclusion. He highlighted the First Green program and the fact that many of the field trips work with inner-city and public schools. He spoke about GCSAA’s Women’s Task Group and the association’s efforts in general to make the association and the industry welcoming to females. He also spoke about GCSAA's scholarship efforts, including the new Larry Powell Scholarship.
Karen asked about GCSAA’s advocacy efforts in Congress, and Helland spoke about the ongoing re-write of the WOTUS rule as well as the efforts to increase the number of H-2B visas available for golf. He also mentioned threats specific to municipal golf, such as legislation in the California Assembly, that would incentivize municipalities to turn their municipal golf courses into residential and commercial development.
The symposium was well-attended; there were more than 40 people in the audience, and Helland received several questions on the threats to golf in Washington. Also speaking on the panel with Helland were Vincent Johnson, director of Golf at Portland (Ore.) Parks and Recreation; and Rachel Mabee, PGA works program manager for PGA Reach at PGA of America. More information about the symposium can be found at: https://www.nationallinkstrust.org/symposium