There is always so much emphasis on the color green. As spring ramps up temperatures, the grass does indeed come to life bringing with it that wonderful seasonal hue we all enjoy. The Masters in its typical April timeslot adding a green jacket to the discussion. Earth Day is approaching, a day when sustainability and protecting our environment is meant to be celebrated. I am unsure if the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, or on the other side of the aisle. It is strange how politicians now can influence turf management at your facilities even more than general managers, greens committees, or owners. When did being environmentally green turn rabid and political? Where does the golf industry fit into this new “green” model?
It seems not long ago that recycling and saving water were very important. Switching lights off to save energy and utilizing electronic documents to save paper were emphasized too. Everyone seemed happy to be making improvements to our wonderful planet. The good old days. Now, fast forward 30 seconds (it seems) and using materials that even require recycling is wasteful. Every drop of water belongs to the environmentalists. Energy must be generated by wind or solar and if not, it should be banned. You must know how your power was generated or you are part of the problem.
At one point, doing the right thing to protect the environment went from a voluntary movement by the masses to a mandate by just a few. Our industry continues to see the impact of this radical activism. If the small minority of loud voices are not making the impact on society they hoped for, they channel their efforts to the political realm. Initiatives to enact their preferred changes at every level of regulation, including local, state, and federal, is now the norm.
GCSAA expanded our industry-leading government affairs in 2021 to help protect our members. Chava McKeel, Director of Government Affairs, and Bob Helland, Director of Congressional and Federal Affairs continue to advocate strongly at the federal level. GCSAA’s Manager of Government Affairs, Michael Lee, has increased efforts at the state level.
In addition to policy research and communication with members, Lee has initiated a monthly call with state lobbyists retained by GCSAA chapters and allied turf coalitions. These calls have aided in sharing of ideas and resources in hopes of minimizing duplication and streamlining advocacy efforts. With nearly 20 lobbyists on the call each month, many of the regulatory and legislative pressures our superintendent members are dealing with are discussed.
Sharing even one successful advocacy effort with other lobbyists could be the key to saving fellow superintendents from a burdensome regulation. Our members often prioritize sharing best turf practices with each other, with each tip or trick making a task easier, cheaper, or more impactful. With our state advocates now sharing their best practices, going without resources due to overregulation might get crossed off the to-do list too.