Golf Industry Coalition Returns to Capitol Hill for National Golf Day

An organization called We Are Golf met on Tuesday with members of Congress in Washington, D.C., during the sixth annual National Golf Day to share stories and new data about the game's diverse businesses, employees, tax revenue creation, tourism and charitable benefits, and environmental leadership.

The coalition of the game's leading associations and industry partners brought several dignitaries to Capitol Hill to discuss what golf has meant to them. Reports about golf's economic contributions to cash-strapped states around the nation were shared with influential policymakers.

"Our primary goal is to communicate to Congressional members that golf is a $68.8-billion-per-year industry and generates almost $4 billion annually for charities, the majority of which is donated to causes unrelated to the sport," said Steve Mona, CEO of World Golf Foundation (WGF) and administrator of We Are Golf.

"Today's event highlighted our six-year-long initiative that has brought industry stakeholders, large and small, to Capitol Hill to describe how the game affects their lives and should be regarded like any other small business."

Participating organizations included the Club Managers Association of America (CMAA), Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA), Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA), PGA of America, PGA Tour and WGF. Some industry leaders in attendance included:

Peter Broome, Chairman, United States Golf Manufacturers Council
Rhett Evans, CEO, GCSAA
Nancy Henderson, Executive Director of Teaching and Club Professionals, LPGA
Michael Hughes, CEO, NGCOA
Steve Mona, CEO, WGF
Joe Ogilvie, current PGA Tour player
Jim Singerling, CEO, CMAA
Derek Sprague, Vice President, PGA of America
Leading golf course superintendents, small business owners, manufacturers and related entities

National Golf Day featured a day-long exhibit in the Rayburn Foyer 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 featured an aboutGolf simulator with a "Closest to the Pin" contest; swing analysis from GolfTEC; Birdie Ball; a Republican vs. Democrat "Putting Challenge"; lessons from Mid-Atlantic Section PGA professionals and a golf educational display.

"We are here today representing nearly 2 million people who provide significant benefits to our local communities through golf, such as getting youth involved in the game to teach them life skills," says Evans, We Are Golf chairman. "When passing legislation, we want Congress to appropriately recognize the size and scope of the golf industry so we are treated equally."

At nearly $69 billion, golf's economic impact exceeds spectator sports, the performing arts and the amusement and recreation industries. It's key to the economic vitality of many states and localities, providing nearly 2 million jobs and $55.6 billion in annual wage income.

In November 2012, the golf industry announced the game's charitable impact is approximately $3.9 billion per year. As a fundraising vehicle, the game includes an estimated 12,000 golf facilities, 143,000 events, 12 million participants and raises $26,300 average per function. Golf's annual philanthropic contributions are more than the NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB combined.

About We Are Golf

We Are Golf was formed four years ago, in part because it had become clear the industry was misunderstood by too many elected officials. Longstanding perceptions of the game simply didn't square with the facts. By focusing on the nearly 2 million Americans whose livelihoods are tied to golf, We Are Golf has leveled the playing field for the thousands of small businesses that comprise the industry.

As a result, golf is no longer being excluded from important legislation. Members of Congress now better understand the myriad benefits the game brings to their communities.

The nearly 2 million U.S. jobs generated by the $69 billion golf industry and its vast economic reach are at the core of coalition'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, charitable giving and environmental sustainability initiatives.

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