National Golf Day Invades DC
WE ARE GOLF. That is the sentiment that echoed throughout Capitol Hill on April 21 as members of the We Are Golf coalition gathered in support of the game we all love. Included in the day's activities were meetings with congressmen and senators (and/or their staffers), golf exhibits on display in the Cannon House building, and media activity that included an appearance by Jack Nicklaus. What a great way to spread the good word about golf's value apart from its intrinsic entertainment advantages.
So what was discussed in our meetings with America's legislators? Well, how about the direct economic impact of golf across the U.S.? It's almost 70 BILLION dollars per year. Or how about the fact that golf employs 2 million American people? Another great example is charitable initiatives. Golf donates more to charity (almost 4 BILLION dollars annually) than the NFL, NHL and MLB combined. Yes, that's right, COMBINED. The list goes on. How about our environmental stewardship and value as community green spaces? Or the value of golf for physical activity - 1,300 calories are burned playing 18 holes, and that's if you take a cart! Do yourself and your industry a favor and commit these stats to memory for the next time you encounter a cynical golf critic.
Specific to GCSAA's agenda during the day's meetings, we spoke to our lawmakers about the proposed language changes to Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS), found within the Clean Water Act. To summarize, the proposed changes are very vague in language and open to interpretation. If the changes are approved, this could mean the EPA has jurisdiction over an area that has flowing water at any point throughout the year. In other words, if you get a 3-inch rain storm, and have runoff flowing across 7 fairway, that then becomes the EPA's jurisdiction. So what does that mean? It means costly permits and susceptibility to huge fines - up to $37,000 per day. We believe the EPA is overstepping its boundaries with these suggested amendments, and we want to stop it. To learn more and request an extension to the comment period for these proposed changes, please visit GCSAA's Government Relations portal. Believe me, this is a BIG deal, and we all need to keep an eye on this issue.
All in all, I would say National Golf Day was a great success. This initiative speaks to advocacy in the highest light, and I believe we can take this model and use it on a state level. Some have already started to do so, and those of us who haven't should be excited to follow their lead. For more about the National Golf Day initiative, the day's activities, or about the We Are Golf Coalition, please check out the website referenced above. For relevant twitter feed, check out #NGD14.
Special thanks to GCSAA's government relations team led by Chava McKeel, who did so much to make this day happen, including setting up dozens of meetings with legislator's offices. Likewise, I'd like to thank my trusty fellas from the Mid-Atlantic GCSA, who manned an extensive turfgrass exhibit throughout the day, complete with different types of sod, irrigation equipment, soil probes and profilers, and even a digital prism to get a close up look at the green-height bentgrass. Lastly, thanks to all the people who made the day possible and all who participated. Afterall, WE ARE GOLF!