State of the golf industry, pandemic relief and water among topics of discussion
The Cactus & Pine GCSA hosted a virtual meeting with U.S. Sen. Martha McSally (AZ-R) on August 5 to provide updates and discuss issues facing the golf industry in Arizona.
The call was set-up by Apache Sun general manager and superintendent Rory Van Poucke who currently serves on the GCSAA Government Relations Committee.
On the call were Desert Mountain director of agronomy Shawn Emerson, GCSAA Southwest field representative Jeff Jensen, Augusta Ranch Golf Club owner and PGA Professional Don Rea, Desert Mountain superintendent Marc Snyder and Van Poucke.
McSally, who served as a U.S. Congresswoman (AZ-02) from 2015-2019 before being appointed to the U.S. Senate by Governor Doug Ducey in 2019, has been an ardent supporter of the golf industry in the state and also enjoys playing the game.
Emerson and Snyder spoke at length about the difficulty of attracting new employees to their operations due in large part to the extended Federal Unemployment benefits that were part of the original CARES Act. The additional $600 weekly payment has deterred many people from seeking employment or going back to work. Emerson noted that he had approximately 35 positions he could fill if had had an available labor pool.
Jensen and Rea discussed the impact of coronavirus on both the Arizona and national golf industry as well as some of the recovery in rounds played. They noted that rounds were up nationally 14 percent in June and 29 percent in Arizona. They also discussed the importance of upcoming federal legislation that could potentially limit the coronavirus liability on employers. The Senator has been working closely with her Republican colleagues on a safe harbor provision to shield businesses from coronavirus related liability.
Lastly, Van Poucke provided Sen. McSally with updates on the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) 5th Management Plan. The plan, which is scheduled to be instituted in 2025 will oversee water use for decades to come in the state. The Cactus & Pine has been actively working with the ADWR on turf allotment calculations, reclaimed water credits and rolling flexibility accounts for courses in Actively Managed Areas (AMAs).
The virtual meeting was the latest in a series of meetings and calls that the Cactus & Pine has held this summer to promote golf in the state. The industry has a total economic contribution of $3.9 billion and contributes to over 41,000 jobs to the state.
The Cactus & Pine as well as the Southwest PGA appreciate the time and consideration from Senator McSally and wish her well in her upcoming re-election bid. Thank you for the great work you do for Arizona and the support that you provide for our industry.