TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – For the third consecutive year, golf industry representatives met with state legislators in Tallahassee to celebrate Florida Golf Day.
Attendees at the Feb. 13 event included The PGA of America (North Florida and South Florida Sections); Club Managers Association of America (Florida Chapter); Florida Golf Course Superintendents Association; Florida State Golf Association; Florida State University PGA Golf Management Program; Florida Turfgrass Association; Golf Channel; LPGA; National Golf Course Owners Association; PGA Tour; The First Tee; USGA Green Section; World Golf Foundation; and World Golf Hall of Fame.
The objective of Florida Golf Day is to communicate the economic, human and environmental impact of golf in Florida. Based on a 2007 study commissioned by GOLF 20/20 and conducted by SRI International, the state’s direct golf economic impact is approximately $7.5 billion a year, supporting more than 167,000 jobs and $4.7 billion in annual wage income. Florida is home to more than 1,100 public and private golf course facilities, the most of any state in America. In addition, Florida’s golf industry has a charitable impact of $312 million annually, raised through local outings and contributions from professional golf events.
Rich Smith, executive director of the North Florida PGA Section, and Geoff Lofstead, executive director of the South Florida PGA Section, represented the PGA in targeted informational meetings. Smith and Lofstead participated in a business roundtable that included State Rep. Ed Hooper, Chair, Transportation & Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee; and Sen. Nancy C. Detert, Chair, Senate Commerce Committee.
Industry leaders spoke about their various roles within golf as well as legislative issues that could have ramifications on the game. State legislators shared their personal connections to golf and provided insight into the legislative session ahead. Golf education programs were highlighted by the presence of the Florida State University PGA Golf Management Program. In addition to meetings in the Capitol, a putting green and hitting bay were set up in the Capitol courtyard, where free lessons were provided by PGA Professional Brad Brewer.
Florida hosted the PGA Merchandise Show and Golf Industry Show in Orlando earlier this year with thousands of attendees and exhibitors. In total, the state will host 17 professional golf tournaments in 2014: six PGA Tour, three Champions Tour, one Web.com Tour, one LPGA Tour, one Legends Tour and five Symetra Tour events.