New Organization Formed to Lobby on Golf's Behalf

A new organization will be introduced to the industry January 28, at the 57th PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Fla., and February 10-11, at the Golf Industry Show in San Diego, Calif.

WE ARE GOLF, a coalition of some of the game's leading associations, is an initiative to change the face of golf and to represent the economic, human and environmental benefits of the industry at federal, state and local levels of government.

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 was created as a broad-based coalition to maximize the industry's synergy and reduce redundancy. The membership will include participation from association members, multi-course owners, manufacturers and golf facilities.

"The solidarity the industry has shown by creating WE ARE GOLF is not only encouraging, but critically important," said Mike Hughes, CEO of the National Golf Course Owners Association.

"Together, golf represents billions of dollars in economic impact; and, together, we will benefit from an even stronger industry that has the recognition and respect it deserves in Washington and throughout the country."

The group builds on the momentum of the past two National Golf Day events conducted in Washington, D.C., and collaborative efforts in executing numerous state economic impact studies. The 2 million jobs generated by the multi-billion-dollar industry, and the industry's vast economic impact, are at the core of the coalition's message.

"Golf is a stable, healthy industry with substantive impact on our local , state and national economies, but there are lingering, sometimes damaging misperceptions of our sport," said PGA of America CEO Joe Steranka. "Golf must have a voice in aligning its perception with its real values. WE ARE GOLF engages our industry in an unprecedented collaboration to achieve legislative goals on small business, as well as labor, tax and environmental matters."

The coalition has engaged The Podesta Group, a Washington, D.C.-based government and public affairs firm, which brings an experienced team to address the golf industry's legislative challenges and help with advocacy efforts.

"We have learned that even though we have made some progress, the audiences that we are targeting do not know enough about our industry and how it has been affected by past legislation," said Mark Woodward, CEO of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America. "Take the environment, for example. Golf courses provide the infrastructure to help communities manage runoff and the green space provides a variety of benefits. WE ARE GOLF will intensify our efforts to inform and educate on issues such as this."

WE ARE GOLF will work to share information, case studies and articles with media, elected officials, regulators and other key constituents to inform them on issues of concern. The coalition will also coordinate messaging to the industry's vast infrastructure.

"For decades, golf facilities have remained one of the most sustainable small businesses in each local community," said Jim Singerling, CEO of the Club Managers Association of America. "Golf facilities are good neighbors, providing resources that impact both individuals and other small businesses. WE ARE GOLF looks forward to working with The Podesta Group and engaging their expertise to share golf's great stories."