Be an Advocate
Investing in government relations is an important endeavor in our business. Whether we like it or not, our industry can be affected by various pieces of legislation on the federal, state, and local level. From entertainment taxes, to immigrant staffing, to fertilizer legislation, we must build relationships that allow us to be a resource for our officials at every level of government.
Nationally, GCSAA has the Grassroots Ambassadors program that matches a Class A, SM, or C member with every member of congress. The goal is to educate representatives about our industry. Locally, you may deal with water authorities or township ordinances of varying degrees. Here, the goal is still the same – build a relationship and make yourself a resource for those around you. Educate.
Even our recently completed Rounds 4 Research program is an extension of government relations. This year, we yielded over $112,500 to support turfgrass research around the country. Promoting a program like R4R shows people that we are serious about continual improvement, that we care about getting better, and that we put our money where our mouth is regarding management practices based in science.
Recently in PA, we hosted Pennsylvania Golf Day in Harrisburg. Participants from 7 golf organizations engaged in about 80 meetings with state legislators and/or their staff. We talked about golf’s economic impact in Pennsylvania – almost $2 billion annually. And we talked about the number of jobs golf creates in the state – about 30,000 with a payroll approaching $500 million. We also met with chairmen of the committees that are responsible for fertilizer and drought legislation.
In my opinion, we need to grow these initiatives. Continue to build relationships. Continue to do what you can on the local level. Your club may even be the biggest employer in the township, and that is a story worth telling. But regardless of how you do it, find a way to get engaged in government relations. Be an advocate for your industry, because nobody is going to do it for us.