Advocacy Toolkit

Follow these best practices and tips to strengthen advocacy at the chapter level. 

Monitoring your state and local legislation is a low-cost, low-effort way to begin getting involved in advocacy at the state and local levels. It allows chapters to be proactive rather than reactive in legislation and its positive and negative consequences for golf.

State bill status resources

Resource: Bob Searle, past president of Maine GCSA

Including an advocacy section in a chapter newsletter can help to disseminate advocacy opportunities and legislative issues that matter to your chapter members. A government affairs newsletter can help protect, enhance, and inform the membership. It can also update chapter members and other interested parties. It can provide a sense of ownership for your chapters, focus the chapter direction, and, however small or large, influence the issues at hand.

Newsletter example

Resource: Ed Nash, GCSA of Cape Cod government relations committee

Inviting an elected official, or their staff, to a chapter meeting is a great way to introduce legislators to golf’s story, and for chapter members to explain their profession and environmental stewardship, as well as the philanthropic and health benefits of golf. This is an opportunity for chapters to talk with legislators about issues that most concern them. It is important to plan carefully and follow these steps:

  • Send a written invitation.
  • Develop a schedule.
  • Share information about the group. This includes the size, what population they serve, any community or philanthropic involvement, and the kinds of specialized services they provide.
  • Send a thank you note and any photos from the event to the legislator.

Personal visits with lawmakers

Resource: Ed Nash, GCSA of Cape Cod government relations committee

Joining a coalition can benefit a chapter in numerous ways, most significantly by giving the chapter a larger platform to voice their issues. Coalitions can also bring together a wider viewpoint and strengthen a position to lawmakers. For chapters, joining a coalition can also mean a larger access to resources, whether it be administrative, legislative experience, political contacts, money, or time. If joining a coalition sounds beneficial to your chapter, also consider:

  • Driving force: what is the primary voice or the driving organization in each coalition? Does it align with your goals and interests?
  • Coalition goals: Do the short and long-term goals of the coalition align closely with the goals of the chapter? If this group accomplished everything in its mission statement, how would the chapter board and membership feel?
  • Coalition membership: Are the other members of the coalition reputable and credible organizations? How would they affect your chapter reputation?
  • Business operations: Get a thorough understanding of how business is done before joining a coalition. How do approval of printed materials or allocation of votes work?
  • Resources: What resources do you gain access to by joining (e.g., staff, lobbyist, a meeting location, etc.)? What resources will you be expected to contribute?
  • Credibility: What is the reputation of the coalition? What issues have they dealt with before, and how did they handle them?

Coalitions and alliances

Resource: Marc Connerly

Chapters that belong to a coalition

  • California GCSA
  • GCSA of Central California
  • Hi-Lo Desert GCSA
  • GCSA of Northern California
  • San Diego GCSA
  • Sierra Nevada GCSA
  • GCSA of Southern California
  • Rocky Mountain GCSA
  • Connecticut Association of GCS
  • Florida GCSA
  • Oregon GCSA
  • Philadelphia Association of GCS
  • GCSA of New Jersey
  • Hawaii GCSA
  • Maine GCSA
  • Michigan GCSA
  • Mid-Atlantic Association of GCS
  • Virginia GCSA
  • Ontario GSA
  • Southern Nevada GCSA
  • Long Island GCSA
  • Metropolitan GCSA
  • Central New York GCSA
  • Finger Lakes Association of GCS
  • Hudson Valley GCSA
  • Northeastern GCSA
  • Western New York GCSA
  • Central Ohio GCSA
  • Miami Valley GCSA
  • Northwestern Ohio GCSA
  • Northern Ohio GCSA
  • Greater Cincinnati GCSA
  • Utah GCSA
  • Western Washington GCSA

Hosting a site visit for your legislator involves preparation that is similar to inviting officials to a chapter meeting but entails slightly more preparation. Site visits are more in depth than attending chapter meetings and can offer the potential for the legislator or their staff to develop a key contact, rather than hearing from an entire constituent group.

Building relationships

Personal visits with lawmakers

Resource: Rory Van Pouke

Action alerts can be very useful if you need to mobilize your chapter quickly for urgent efforts. These are typically for vital pieces of legislation and require members to have at least some familiarity with the issues. Action alerts should be used sparingly; Three or four per year is the maximum recommended amount in order to uphold the sense of importance.

Giving testimony can feel like a daunting task but can benefit a chapter and profession immensely. As an expert in the superintendent profession, a chapter member can enlighten legislators and offer technical assistance to them while forming policy.

Testifying at hearings

Resource: Mid-Atlantic AGCS

A chapter government affairs committee can be a key aspect of elevating your advocacy presence at the state level. The purpose of a government affairs committee at the chapter level is to recommend policy to the chapter on legislative, regulatory and legal issues. A committee can analyze issues, address technical components, and educate its members on the effects of the current legislation. The committee chairperson will be responsible for planning, conducting meetings, maintaining records and information, getting action and evaluating results. GCSAA''s government affairs teams can serve as a resource for national legislative and regulatory issues and provide guidance for state issues.

Resource: Greg Pheneger

Chapter with a government affairs committee

  • Heart of America GCSA
  • Iowa GCSA
  • Minnesota GCSA
  • Michigan GCSA
  • Midwest Association of GCS
  • Eastern Shore Association of GCS
  • Greater Pittsburgh GCSA
  • Mid-Atlantic Association of GCS
  • Philadelphia Association of GCS
  • Virginia GCSA
  • Connecticut Association of GCS
  • Long Island GCSA
  • Metropolitan GCSA
  • GCSA of New England
  • Ontario GSA
  • Rhode Island GCSA
  • Rocky Mountain GCSA
  • Carolinas GCSA (South Carolina )
  • Carolinas GCSA (North Carolina)
  • Georgia GCSA
  • Cactus & Pine GCSA
  • California GCSA
  • GCSA of Central California
  • Hawaii GCSA
  • Hi-Lo Desert GCSA
  • GCSA of Northern California
  • San Diego GCSA
  • Sierra Nevada GCSA
  • GCSA of Southern California
  • Florida GCSA

A contract lobbyist can help chapters advocate through direct lobbying to legislators. Contract lobbyists are independent professionals who advocate for multiple clients and issues to legislative and executive branches of state and national government. Some state chapters keep contact lobbyists on retainer for special annual events or in case of immediate action that needs taken on an issue.

Resource: Marc Connerly

Chapters with a lobbyist

  • Central Ohio GCSA
  • Miami Valley GCSA
  • Northwestern Ohio GCSA
  • Southern Nevada GCSA
  • Northern Ohio GCSA
  • Minnesota GCSA
  • Greater Pittsburgh GCSA
  • Mid-Atlantic Association of GCS
  • Philadelphia Association of GCS
  • Virginia GCSA
  • Rocky Mountain GCSA
  • Carolinas GCSA (South Carolina)
  • Carolinas GCSA (North Carolina)
  • Georgia GCSA
  • California GCSA
  • GCSA of Central California
  • Hi-Lo Desert GCSA
  • GCSA of Northern California
  • San Diego GCSA
  • Sierra Nevada GCSA
  • GCSA of Southern California
  • Greater Cincinnati GCSA
  • Central Pennsylvania GCSA
  • Mountain and Valley GCSA
  • Northwestern Pennsylvania GCSA
  • Pocono GCSA
  • Maine GCSA
  • Utah GCSA
  • Oregon GCSA
  • Western Washington GCSA
  • Central Texas GCSA
  • Lone Star GCSA
  • North Texas GCSA
  • outh Texas GCSA
  • Texas Golf Coast Superintendents Association
  • West Texas GCSA

Hosting a state lobby day gives chapters an opportunity to influence state legislation and promote their key policy objectives. At the state level, chapters can likely attain a sit-down meeting with legislators and directly communicate the benefits or consequences for the profession relating to specific bills or regulation.

Resource: Kyle Merit

Chapters with a state lobby day

  • Central Ohio GCSA
  • Miami Valley GCSA
  • Northwestern Ohio GCSA
  • Northern Ohio GCSA
  • Greater Cincinnati GCSA
  • California GCSA
  • GCSA of Central California
  • Hi-Lo Desert GCSA
  • GCSA of Northern California
  • San Diego GCSA
  • Sierra Nevada GCSA
  • GCSA of Southern California
  • Rocky Mountain GCSA
  • Connecticut Association of GCS
  • Florida GCSA
  • Oregon GCSA
  • GCSA of New Jersey
  • Virginia GCSA
  • Ontario GSA
  • Southern Nevada GCSA
  • Long Island GCSA
  • Metropolitan GCSA
  • Central New York GCSA
  • Finger Lakes Association of GCS
  • Hudson Valley GCSA
  • Northeastern GCSA
  • Western New York GCSA
  • Minnesota GCSA
  • Carolinas GCSA (South Carolina)
  • Carolinas GCSA (North Carolina)
  • Georgia GCSA
  • Nebraska GCSA
  • Michigan GCSA