Will Trump Administration be good for golf?

he Golf Course Superintendents Association of America is involved in broad-based advocacy efforts that would continue no matter who is the incoming President or the majority party in Congress. But with Donald Trump winning the presidential election and the Republican party controlling Congress, GCSAA sees an opportunity to better communicate its priority agenda to Trump, a president who understands the value of the game of golf, both as a golfer and golf course owner.

On the campaign trail, Trump targeted several laws and regulations coming from the Obama Administration that could impact golf course management operations and the environment. Some of those regulations, of course, impact the use of inputs used to create healthy turfgrass and excellent playing conditions for golfers.

The pending Clean Water Rule (WOTUS) dramatically increases the federal scope of the Clean Water Act over rivers, streams, wetlands and ditches. GCSAA opposes WOTUS as it is written and wants agencies to go back to the drawing board to write a more balanced rule.

Trump’s win provides more options for that to happen. Congress could pass legislation that stops WOTUS either by killing it outright or by cutting off its funding. President Obama had threatened to veto such measures. In contrast, President Trump would likely sign them into law. Alternatively, he could choose to simply not appeal, should WOTUS be struck down in a court of law.

Myron Ebell, the man leading Trump's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) transition team, has called WOTUS "an unprecedented power grab."

"We have a lot more options available to us in the area of WOTUS going forward and that's good news," said Bob Helland, director of congressional and federal affairs at GCSAA. "Trump and his transition team have expressed many of the same concerns about WOTUS that we have."

Trump is also familiar with the H-2B Visa program that a number of golf facilities utilize, including one of his own in Florida. This could lead to a breakthrough in the red tape that makes using the program so frustrating.

In the interim, however, GCSAA continues to support measures to help cut through the red tape, including adding language to the pending Fiscal Year 17 Omnibus spending bill that renews the exemption for H-2B workers who are returning to the U.S. for temporary and specific work within a three-year period.