Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Government relations update: South Central region

Regardless of which cable news channel you pledge your allegiance, we can all agree that government regulation has a significant effect on our industry and livelihoods on a local, state and national level. Through its government relations program, GCSAA is committed to advocating on behalf of its members and the golf industry, providing members with the resources necessary to stay informed about issues impacting the golf course management profession, and engaging and assisting members in advocacy efforts.

As your field staff representative, I am working hard on these issues for you; but the real superstars of the department are Chava McKeel, associate director of government relations, and Kaelyn Seymour, government relations specialist. Both of these ladies are ready to help you by providing information or assistance with government relations issues that affect you or your course.  Both are just a phone call or email away!

So what is going on with GCSAA government relations? I’m glad you asked! Here are some of the very important issues that we are working on and some great information to keep you up to speed. For more details on these activities and much more information, visit the GCSAA Government Relations Online website at: or from the easy link on the homepage.

Government Relations Online launches
GCSAA's new Government Relations Online is now live. GCSAA members can have quick and easy access to critical and relevant advocacy and compliance information and resources in one location. Learn more about legislative and regulatory issues impacting your facility, join the GCSAA Grassroots Network and volunteer to serve as a GCSAA Grassroots Ambassador.

Government Relations Quarterly Briefing
In this quarterly briefing, McKeel, along with Robert Helland, advisor from the law firm Reed Smith, will host an online session updating members on what is going on in Congress and advocacy activities impacting the association and our members this quarter. A GCSAA field staff representative will also be on hand each quarter to talk about state government relations efforts. The briefing will be 30 minutes with a 15 minute question-and-answer period following. The next briefing is scheduled for 1 p.m., July 9.

Greens & Grassroots e-newsletter launches
Sign up to receive GCSAA's new, monthly government relations e-newsletter. Greens & Grassroots will feature important legislative and regulatory updates, federal and state bills and how GCSAA members and chapters are addressing the bills, as well as GCSAA Grassroots Network activities.

GCSAA Grassroots Network - Building our Grassroots Army
GCSAA is building its grassroots army to protect and defend the golf course management profession. Advocacy is one of the most powerful ways to impact public policy. Successful association advocacy and lobbying efforts depend upon establishing strong relationships with elected officials. Ad hoc advocacy makes it hard to build strong, long-term relationships with elected officials and have a positive impact on policy decisions.

The GCSAA Grassroots Network is a new, dedicated group of GCSAA members who want to engage in the association's government relations efforts. Being part of the GCSAA Grassroots Network allows you to:

  • Learn about legislative and regulatory issues affecting the golf course management profession
  • Learn about GCSAA's advocacy activities
  • Actively participate in the association's government relations efforts 
  • Communicate with your legislators about issues critical to the golf industry 
  • Learn about upcoming GCSAA Grassroots Network events 
  • Become part of a movement standing up for the golf course management profession and golf industry

Individuals in the GCSAA Grassroots Network also have the opportunity to serve as GCSAA Grassroots Ambassadors. GCSAA will give its Grassroots Ambassadors personalized training on building relationships with members of Congress. Please contact me ( or 817-296-9117) if you are interested in serving as an ambassador in your district.

WE ARE GOLF Returns to Capitol Hill for National Golf Day on May 21 
WE ARE GOLF, a coalition of the game’s leading associations and industry partners, returns to Capitol Hill for the seventh annual National Golf Day on Wednesday, May 21, to meet with members of Congress and discuss golf’s nearly $69 billion economy, $4 billion annual charitable impact and many environmental and fitness benefits.

Jack Nicklaus, 18-time major winner, will join golf industry executives in D.C. for The First Tee Congressional Breakfast. Golf’s leaders will meet with members of Congress throughout the day to share stories about the game’s nearly 15,000 diverse businesses, two million employees, tax revenue creation, tourism and ecological value.

“Our primary goal is to communicate to congressional members that golf is a major U.S. industry and generates almost $4 billion annually for charities – more than the MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL combined – with the majority of funds going to causes unrelated to the sport,” says Steve Mona, CEO of World Golf Foundation (WGF) and administrator of WE ARE GOLF. “The May 21 event is an ideal opportunity to bring industry stakeholders together on Capitol Hill to showcase the game’s benefits to society and explain why golf courses should be regarded like any other small business.”

Organizations participating include the Club Managers Association of America, Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA), Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), National Golf Course Owners Association, PGA of America, PGA TOUR, The First Tee, United States Golf Association, United States Golf Manufacturers Council, WGF and others.

National Golf Day will feature a day-long exhibit in the Cannon Caucus Room with live lessons for members of Congress and staff from 2012 PGA Teacher of the Year Michael Breed, host of “The Golf Fix” on Golf Channel, and LPGA Professional Dana Rader. Special exhibits and activities include a “Closest to the Pin” contest utilizing an aboutGolf simulator, the exclusive on-air provider for the Golf Channel and official licensed product of the PGA TOUR; state-of-the-art swing analysis from GolfTEC; Birdie Ball, the latest at-home training technology; and a Republican vs. Democrat “Putting Challenge.”

“We look forward to representing the two million men and women who rely on the golf industry to make a living while providing significant benefits to local communities,” says Rhett Evans, CEO of GCSAA and WE ARE GOLF coalition chairman. “When passing legislation, we want Congress to appropriately recognize the size and scope of the golf industry so we are treated similarly to other businesses.”

To join the conversation, visit the social media hub at From May 1-31, be sure to use #NGD14 and tag @wearegolf for Twitter and Instagram to show your support for the golf industry.

Action Alert: Request an extension for Clean Water Act proposed rule
The EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers has proposed a rule that would expand Clean Water Act jurisdiction to almost all waters in the United States. The rule was published in the Federal Register April 21, and there is a 90-day comment period until July 21, 2014. Please help GCSAA ask EPA and the Corps to extend the comment deadline another 90 days.