'We Are Golf:' It's about time industry's voice was heard

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As befitting an industry that pumps as much as $76 billion into the U.S. economy every year, golf has finally figured out that it needs to have some in clout in Washington, D.C., and in the state capitals around the nation.
 
Four of golf’s leading associations – the Club Managers Association of America, Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, National Golf Course Owners Association and PGA of America – have banded together to create a coalition called “We Are Golf.” It’s designed to take the positive message of golf’s economic, human and environmental benefits to the country’s decision-makers.
 
It’s about time.
 
Golf doesn’t deserve to be a scapegoat for the problems created by others. For too long, golf has allowed itself to be portrayed as a pastime of rich fat-cats with no regard for their fellow Americans. Nothing could be further from the truth.
 
At a time when jobs are precious in this country, the golf industry employs 2 million people and pays out an estimated $61 billion in wages. And, as CMAA chief Jim Singerling pointed out, “Golf facilities are good neighbors, providing resources that impact both individuals and other small businesses.” 
 
We need to get the word out to local, state and national lawmakers and regulators and to the American public as well. It’s time everyone in this industry joined together to say it: “We Are Golf.”
 

Do you think the “We Are Golf” coalition will be an effective voice for the industry? What would you like see this effort accomplish? We want to hear your views. 

Comments

if the golf industry would really care about golf sport and golf's image than it would think how to make it affordable to more people (green fees, equipments, payment models etc.). The whole starts at golf architecture, how you build your golf course and how you maintain it. This is not only true for USA, but also for developing golf countries like Russia. For more ideas: www.golfbusinessmonitor.typepad.com

The message to local and national lawmakers about the economic impact of our industry will be a waste of time and money. Our industry -Golf - is typecast as a bunch of "fat cats" playing with their select buddies at fancy places with pretty names. We need to spend our time and money with stories of how much fun it is to play, about belonging to private clubs, about showing private club memberships as an investment and to inject the greatest selling tool ever devised by man...FEAR! Yes, FEAR! Fear of less facilities in the future because of land costs, development costs. Use examples of initiation fees from $500 that currently are $150,000. There are thousands of these stories throughout our land. Use statistics such as the average life of a membership. This will give a prospective member food for thought about joining. It will also wake up some of the membership sellers to the value of a member. Ex: Annual dues of $8400 x 14 yrs = $117,600. Maybe when private clubs start realizing they are in the "dues business" they will budget more dollars for recruitment. Create a NEED and make it EASY TO OWN are the best ingredients for success. Too many private clubs are having "fire sales" which tells the prospects we are in trouble!! And also, eliminate the risk by using the land value the course sits on as collateral in the event of failure. Marketing is the answer to our industry's problems. Each day God puts new people on earth but never adds more land. More golfers with same amount of land. This is the part of FEAR that sells. The two biggest and most successful businesses in world are religion and insurance. What do they use to sell...FEAR! I could write an epistle on this subject.

@Bob: come on! be serious!! As we know not every golf course is private. I agree with you there should be more pay-n-play type of places. Golf does not fit to everybody, just like other sports. For instance I do not like football, squash, because I find them stupid that is why I play tennis and golf.

Golf's "We are Golf" associations solution to seek lobbyist help is the same backward mindset that has gotten this industry in the mess it is in. Why not throw in the clubhouse designers and course architects who created these masterpieces that can't be maintained? These organizations are full of egotistical experts who are determined to preserve one thing: their own high salaries. As the clubs fall like dominos don't expect any creative ideas and this is a perfect example of the politics of waste. The sustainable niche for golf has been, and will remain, affordable golf courses with average playability and services. It is absolutely simple and it works. The "perfect" course (dining room)mentality in golf is costly and wasteful. You don't need a politician to subsidize an industry that needs to police it's own poor business habits. Run a club like a "for profit" business and you won't need to beg for help.

No one enjoys being held hostage by the political process but to not have a presence in Washington is pure and simple political suicide.

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