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Lobbying for Success: 'National Golf Day' Spreads Golf's Word Through DC

Thursday, 26 March 2015 12:59 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Editor's Note: In an effort to bring a diverse array of opinions and perspectives to Newsmax's A Golfer's Life, we are actively seeking contributions from industry leaders and newsmakers from the world of golf. The following column has been submitted by Steve Mona, CEO of the World Golf Foundation. Mona has been ranked as one of Golf Inc.'s "Most Powerful People in Golf" for the past 13 years, and in 2014 he placed higher on the list than Tiger Woods.

Lobbying is “the act of attempting to influence decisions made by officials in the government, most often legislators or members of regulatory agencies.”

Each day, discussions by Capitol Hill policymakers in Washington, D.C. affect the nearly $70 billion golf industry. How do we make sure Congressional leaders know the real facts about golf so they can make informed decisions regarding our industry?

Communicating on Capitol Hill

Established in 2009, the WE ARE GOLF coalition represents all segments of the game in D.C. and informs Members of Congress about golf’s annual economic impact. The U.S. golf industry supports almost two million jobs and $56 billion in annual wage income.

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In addition to the game’s overall economic impact, it’s important for federal policymakers to know that more than 10,000 facilities are open to the public (with a median $26 green fee for 18 holes), and that nine out of 10 golfers play at public courses. As one can see, the game is an accessible and affordable recreational activity for millions of people. To introduce even more players to the sport, programs like Get Golf Ready and The First Tee are available nationwide. Get Golf Ready has more than 4,500 certified facilities and The First Tee has reached more than 10.5 million young people since its inception.

Another example of golf’s positive influence regularly shared with our nation’s leaders is its charitable impact, totaling almost $4 billion annually. This covers an estimated 12,000 golf facilities, 143,000 events and 12 million participants generating an average of $26,300 per function. Golf’s annual philanthropic contributions are more than the NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB combined. Notably, funds accumulated through charity golf events primarily go to causes outside of the sport.

National Golf Day

The game has strong messaging about its human and societal benefits but getting on a Congressional agenda can be a difficult task.

For the eighth consecutive year, WE ARE GOLF is hosting “National Golf Day” on Capitol Hill. Industry stakeholders will meet with politicians on Wednesday, April 15 and discuss why the nearly 15,350 golf courses should each be regarded like any other small business in the country.

Participating organizations included the Club Managers Association of America, Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, Ladies Professional Golf Association, National Golf Course Owners Association, PGA of America, PGA TOUR and World Golf Foundation. Jack Nicklaus attended last year to speak with political leaders during a breakfast hosted by The First Tee. Specials guests for this year’s event will be announced soon.

Over the past few years, Congressional Members have become more aware of the two million Americans working in golf and how golf courses provide significant benefits to local communities. Our nation’s political leaders are more educated about the industry’s daily impact. National Golf Day has been an ideal platform to share this information during a one-day event, but also serves as a year-round platform for the industry to be in regular communication with Congress.

Tips for Influencing Local Policy

For golf club managers or industry leaders who would like to influence policymakers at the local or federal level, below are a few ideas:

• Find out if the representative in your club’s district plays golf. Do they play regularly? Apart from the Congressman or Congresswoman representing your club’s district, you may also want to research where the two U.S. Senators for your state are based.

• Talk with some of your members or customers to see if they know anyone in your region’s Congressional delegation. A personal connection or proper introduction could lead to a much stronger relationship.

• Based on what you learn, think about inviting your House Representative and / or Senator(s) to visit your club when they are home during a Congressional recess. In a written invitation to the Member, offer an opportunity to look at your facility from an economic and environmental standpoint, while also highlighting the outdoor recreation and junior programming it provides. Offer your club as an example of what the golf industry means to your district and / or state. If you learn they like to play, encourage them to come out to tee it up.

• Consider attending events that your delegation’s Members schedule in your region. It’s a good way to connect with them and their staff directly.

To help Members of Congress better understand your business, the most effective approach is to get them to visit your facility so they can talk with you, your employees and even members or customers.

Going Forward

The golf industry conducts a variety of research each year to gain deeper insights into growing the game, increasing diversity and female involvement, improving the customer experience and otherwise getting people to develop a lifelong passion for golf. Pace-of-play programs are decreasing the time needed to play the game while still providing an enjoyable recreational activity and social outlet.

The outlook for golf in the next decade is exciting. It’s important for the industry to work closely together so that golf’s interests can be effectively communicated with Congressional leaders, making sure they are aware of the game’s impact and how it continues to grow and evolve.

To join the conversation, visit the WE ARE GOLF social media hub. Use #NGD15 and @wearegolf on Twitter and Instagram to show your support for the golf industry.

About Steve Mona

Steve Mona became the World Golf Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in March 2008. In 2014, he was named to Golf Inc.'s "Most Powerful People in Golf" for the 14th consecutive year.

World Golf Foundation develops and supports initiatives that positively impact lives through the game of golf and its traditional values. Founded in 1993, The Foundation is supported by major international golf organizations and professional Tours, and provides oversight to World Golf Hall of Fame, The First Tee, GOLF 20/20 and other industry initiatives in support of its mission.

For more information, visit www.worldgolffoundation.org.

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Each day, discussions by Capitol Hill policymakers in Washington, D.C. affect the nearly $70 billion golf industry. How do we make sure Congressional leaders know the real facts about golf so they can make informed decisions regarding our industry?
national golf day, washington dc, golf, industry
Thursday, 26 March 2015 12:59 PM
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