Giving golf's critics an earful

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Nice to see some of golf’s most high-profile leaders firing back at critics taking unfair potshots at the golf industry. PGA of America President Jim Remy led the charge recently in a letter published in USA TODAY in response to an earlier column by one of the newspaper’s contributors.
Remy rightly pointed out that far from an elitist sport as some try to brand the game, golf is an economic engine that helps fuel local economies all over the nation. Here's an excerpt from his comments in part:
“Together, our 55,000 [PGA of America, Golf Course Superintendents Association of America and Club Managers Association of America] members are on the front line of a workforce of 1 million Americans who work at the nation's 16,000 golf courses, 1,300 golf ranges and hundreds of related golf businesses.
"Your local golf course is the embodiment of the small-business sector, which President Obama rightly recognizes as the backbone of American enterprise, employing a multicultural mix of professional and service personnel who rely on the sport to provide food and shelter to their families. In 2005, it was estimated that golf also enabled 1 million jobs for the tourism and real estate industries, and all told generated some $61 billion in annual wages. Our "offices" are also good for the communities they serve.
"Golf facilities are professionally managed by individuals who have achieved various levels of certification. They serve at managed open green space, which provides wildlife habitat, and they help to generate more than $3.5 billion charity dollars each year.”
Remy is right. For every Augusta National or Pine Valley, there are hundreds of golf courses that offer affordable recreational opportunities for every income level and provide jobs for men and women in the community.
This week, leaders from 10 associations traveled to Capitol Hill to deliver the golf industry message to our nation’s lawmakers in observance of National Golf Day May 13.
But why not make every day National Golf Day? Not everyone can afford to go to Washington, D.C., to lobby, but there’s plenty that can be done on a local level. Operators should take advantage of every possible opportunity to talk to their local city council members, county officials and state legislators to make sure they understand how golf positively benefits everyone in the community. Golf’s message needs to be heard by the decision-makers at every level, and it's the responsibility of all of us in the industry to get it out.



I know that this may be an old hat topic but I sure hope that the 10 representatives to Capitol Hill lobbied to repeal the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Talk about a way to free up the economy and bring back business, why not try this.

Legislators are at in Connecticut as they target golf for a 6% sales tax (10% on club memberships). Didn't California try this and have to back peddle? The CSGA (Connecticut State Golf Association) is actively encouraging golfers to contact their state representatives to block this penal tax. It suddenly seems fashionable to take pot shots at a recreation that enjoys far more public course golfers than private. Why are myopic politicians so misguided by the notion that they are taxing a luxury sport that deserves (or can afford) such punitive measures? There is no consideration, as Jim Remy rightly stated, on the positive economic factors that our industry provides. Golfers in our state have mobilized to block this proposed tax and I encourage anyone in the business to make their thoughts known to Governor Jodi Rell (who does not support the legislation).

The U.S. today article was definately critical of golf but what, we can't take the criticism, we have to write a letter back to the editors of U.S.A today. While the defense of the industry is great, we need to take a look at ourselves and work on the areas that were attacked. These association should be doing more to secure qualified employement for their membership and less time on capitol hill.

Instead of taking this nimrod to task, Remy should be addressing the real issues facing today's golf game. We need some forward thinking individuals, not someone stuck on expousing old pre-world recession statistics of the 90's, that have no bearing on future development of the game. Facts: More golfers leave the game than enter, new golfers not as dedicated to game, older golfers quiting game earlier, to many failing courses. The golf industry is bloated...and ripe for a purge!

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