WE ARE GOLF Coalition Goes to Capitol Hill

2011 Apr 13

Melissa Low
(703) 739-9500


National Golf Day Hdr 2011 

Meetings with Key Members of Congress Highlight Industry Impact on Economy, Health, Environment and Charity

WE ARE GOLF, a coalition led by five of the game's leading associations and supported by a wide range of industry partners, met with key Members of Congress as part of the 4th annual National Golf Day, to share stories and data that illustrate golf's diverse businesses and employees, the tax revenue it creates, the tourism it spawns, the charity it generates and the environmental leadership it provides. WE ARE GOLF members met with dozens of Members of Congress throughout the day, and sponsored a daylong exhibit in the Rayburn House Office Building Foyer.

The exhibit opened at 10:00 a.m. with a live lesson from PGA Professional Jim Estes, founder of the Salute Military Golf Association, to (Ret.) Sgt. Ramon Padilla, who has used the program as part of his rehabilitative therapy following wounds received in Afghanistan. House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller and Ranking Member Bob Filner attended the lesson and spoke about the inspirational nature of Estes' program.

The Foyer exhibit also included swing analysis from PGA Teaching Professional Michael Breed, host of Golf Channel's The Golf Fix, and a Republican vs. Democrat putting challenge.

Founded by the Club Managers Association of America, Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, National Golf Course Owners Association and The PGA of America, WE ARE GOLF is a broad-based coalition aimed at maximizing the industry's synergy and reducing redundancy. Its growing membership includes participation from association members, multi-course owners, manufacturers and golf facilities. First and foremost, the goal of WE ARE GOLF is to get members of Congress to understand golf's contributions to communities across the country when they're developing and advancing important legislation - just as all small businesses want.

Golf industry leaders meeting with Members of Congress included PGA of America CEO Joe Steranka; World Golf Foundation CEO Steve Mona; Jim Singerling, CEO, Club Managers Association of America; Michael Hughes, CEO, National Golf Course Owners Association; and Rhett Evans, CEO, Golf Course Superintendents Association of America.

“WE ARE GOLF is leveling the playing field for the thousands of small businesses that make up our industry,” said Mona. “National Golf Day and our meetings with key Members of Congress are a big part of that process, allowing lawmakers to hear some fascinating and diverse stories about golf's impact on individuals, families and businesses around the country.”

Steranka agreed. “We’re not asking for special treatment,” he told Members of Congress today. “We’re asking for fair and equitable treatment. Our industry employs nearly two million Americans who want to help lawmakers do the difficult job they were elected to do. We want to be a resource, and we want a seat at the table.”

The meetings featured numerous “story-tellers” - men and women from across the country for whom golf is more than just a game - including Renee Powell, PGA head professional, Clearview Golf Club, East Canton, OH; PGA Professional Jim Estes of Olney, MD, Founder, Salute Military Golf Association; (Ret.) Sgt. Ramon Padilla, Salute Military Golf Association; Jay Goughnour, owner, Raccoon Valley Golf Course, Jefferson, IA; Dan Clark, owner, Willow Creek Golf Course, West Des Moines, IA; and Vicki Miller, president, Virginia Association for Health and Physical Education.

“To me golf means everything,” said Powell, the 2003 PGA First Lady of Golf and second African-American to compete on the LPGA Tour. “It means learning incredible life lessons from incredible parents and then passing those lessons on to others. It means you can do anything in life if you set your mind to it.”

Clark and Goughnour, owners of golf courses in Iowa that were devastated by flooding in 2008, told lawmakers of their efforts to rebuild and asked the Congress to think twice before excluding golf from disaster relief legislation in the future. “I don't seek pity,” Goughnour said. “We're hearty people. We will overcome what Mother Nature has dealt us. What I do ask is that golf be given the same status as other small business. We deserve the same access to aid and recovery programs that other small businesses have received.”

Led by the Club Managers Association of America, the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, the National Golf Course Owners Association, The PGA of America and the World Golf Foundation, WE ARE GOLF is a new coalition formed to tell the true story of golf. Not just the game, but also the stories of the hardworking men and women who make it the greatest sport in the world and whose livelihoods depend on it. It is these accounts that affirm the continued health and growth of the golf industry is vital to thousands of communities across the country and instrumental in enhancing the lives of millions of Americans. By showcasing golf's diverse businesses and their employees, the tax revenues it creates, the tourism it spawns, the charity it generates, and the environmental benefits it provides, WE ARE GOLF is leveling the playing field for the thousands of small businesses that make up the industry and depend on the sport for their success.