WASHINGTON, D.C. -- WE ARE GOLF, a coalition of the game's leading associations and industry partners, met with dozens of Members of Congress on April 18, the fifth annual National Golf Day, to share stories and data about golf's diverse businesses, employees, tax revenue creation, tourism and charitable benefits, and environmental leadership.
Organizations participating included: PGA of America, World Golf Foundation, Club Managers Association of America, Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, National Golf Course Owners Association. Officers in attendance include:
- Joe Steranka, CEO, PGA of America
- Steve Mona, CEO, World Golf Foundation
- Jim Singerling, CEO, Club Managers Association of America
- Michael Hughes, CEO, National Golf Course Owners Association
- Rhett Evans, CEO, Golf Course Superintendents Association of America
- Peter Broome, Board Member, U.S. Golf Manufacturer Council
- Leading golf course superintendents, small business owners, manufacturers
WE ARE GOLF again brought a cast of story-tellers to Capitol Hill to discuss what golf has meant to them, and continued sharing data about golf's economic contributions to cash-strapped states around the nation. In addition, a new set of "Shared Principles on Sustainability" was unveiled -- a unified commitment from industry professionals to design, construct and manage environmentally responsible golf courses.
A day-long exhibit in the foyer of the Rayburn House Office Building featured live lessons for Members of Congress and staff from the Golf Channel's Michael Breed (host of "The Golf Fix"); a golf simulator; a Republican vs. Democrat putting challenge; photo opportunities with the Wanamaker Trophy; and an educational display illustrating golf's cutting-edge environmental stewardship.
"WE ARE GOLF was formed a few years ago in part because it had become clear that golf was misunderstood by too many of our nation's policymakers. There were longstanding perceptions of the game that simply didn't square with the facts," said Joe Steranka, CEO of the PGA of America and Board Chair of WE ARE GOLF. "That's why we set out to do a better job explaining our profound impact on communities around the country. By showcasing that impact, we are aiming to level the playing field for the thousands of small businesses that make up our industry, and their employees.
"We are very encouraged by the progress we've made in a short amount of time. It's clear to us that more members of Congress now understand that for nearly 2 million Americans, golf is more than just a game. They understand it never made sense to exclude golf -- along with massage parlors and liquor stores and tanning salons -- from tax relief legislation. They understand what golf brings to their communities. As a result, golf is no longer being excluded from important legislation.
"At $76 billion, golf is bigger than the motion picture industry. It's key to the economic vitality of many cash-strapped states and localities. 167,000 jobs in Florida. 160,000 in California. 56,000 in Georgia. 98,000 in Texas. 68,000 in North Carolina. That's an impact, and that's what we need to keep sharing with lawmakers.
"Thanks to our efforts to educate members of Congress and staff about the jobs, commerce, economic development and tax revenues golf generates, our lines of communication are open now. Our job is to keep reminding them of our impact."
About WE ARE GOLF
The nearly 2 million U.S. jobs generated by the multi-billion-dollar golf industry, and its vast economic reach, are at the core of WE ARE GOLF'S message. Given the scope and pace of federal government activity and the impact on small businesses, the golf industry can play a vital role as policymakers continue efforts to boost employment and get the nation's economy back on track. Beyond better demonstrating golf's profound economic clout, WE ARE GOLF illustrates the industry's health and wellness benefits, its unparalleled charitable giving, and its environmental sustainability initiatives.
David Marin, Podesta Group, (202) 879-9368 or firstname.lastname@example.org