Last Update :4/18/2013
National Golf Day Report
GCSAA helped spread the good news about golf at 2013 National Golf Day
GCSAA storytellers, members, board and staff joined allied associations in Washington, D.C., as part of the We Are Golf coalition
A key tactic in GCSAA’s ongoing government relations strategy is to share the positive aspects of golf with the nation’s policymakers.
GCSAA, along with several other golf associations and industry participants, was in Washington, D.C., April 15-17, to meet with a variety of individuals in making the case for golf. The message was loud and clear -- golf is annually a $68.5 billion industry that employs more than 2 million people and generates $3.9 billion dollars each year for charitable purposes. Golf facilities provide communities economic, environmental, recreational and social benefits.
The centerpiece of the three days was National Golf Day, April 16. The GCSAA Board of Directors, the association’s government relations committee, selected members and staff joined fellow We Are Golf (WAG) coalition members (CMAA, NGCOA, PGA of America) in meeting with key lawmakers and their staff. Among the topics the WAG coalition pushed was a repeal of disaster relief exclusions for golf courses. WAG sponsored a demonstration in the Rayburn Office Building, with members of the Mid-Atlantic Association of Golf Course Superintendents sharing various course management practices that protect the environment.
GCSAA members and staff participated in more than 60 individual meetings with lawmakers and their staffs on National Golf Day. Included were targeted appointments with lawmakers by WAG storytellers. Nearly a dozen individuals, representing WAG coalition members, told their stories about how golf benefits communities. This year, GCSAA representative storytellers were Bob Farren, CGCS at Pinehurst (N.C.) Resort, and Matt Shaffer, GCSAA Class A member at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa.
Wrapped around National Golf Day was a series of events conducted solely by GCSAA. On Monday, April 15, the government relations committee met at the offices of the association’s lobby firm, Reed Smith. On April 17, staff conducted other numerous meetings with officials on Capitol Hill and at the National Building Museum. They also participated in a golf course tour for EPA regulators at Bethesda Country Club.
GCSAA representatives met with members of Congress to discuss the impacts of the EPA's new Clean Water Act permit for chemical spraying activities and the need to pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation that protects temporary worker programs.
For 2013, GCSAA storytellers were:
Robert (Bob) O. Farren, CGCS
Director of golf courses and grounds at Pinehurst (N.C.) Resort
A second-generation golf course superintendent, Bob Farren, CGCS, is respected worldwide for his course management skills. A 1979 graduate of Marshall University, he has been at Pinehurst Resort since 1982, climbing the ranks from assistant superintendent to his current position overseeing all golf courses and grounds at the prestigious resort.
A GCSAA member since 1978, he earned recognition as a certified golf course superintendent in 1985. He has been highly active in regional and national golf course superintendent association activities, including board and committee service. He is also a member of the USGA’s Green Section Committee.
Under Farren’s leadership, Pinehurst has hosted 11 professional or major amateur golf events, and the annual North and South Amateur Championships (1985-current). In 2014, Pinehurst will have the distinction of being the first facility to host the U.S. Men’s and Women’s Opens in the same year (just one week apart). After conducting the women’s event, Pinehurst will become the only club to have been the site of the five USGA major championships (Men’s and Women’s Opens, Men’s and Women’s Amateurs, Senior Open).
The highlight of Farren’s career has undoubtedly been his involvement of the restoration of Pinehurst No. 2, working with architects Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore. The work not only returned the course to its original architectural philosophy, but it also demonstrated a minimalist approach to golf course management, focusing on sustainability.
Matt Shaffer, GCSAA Class A member
Director of golf course operations at Merion Golf Club, Ardmore, Pa.
Matt Shaffer has been around the block a few times, but seldom has he taken the same route. Blessed with an inquisitive nature, Shaffer is known as an innovator and a leader in the golf course management profession.
A 1974 graduate of the highly acclaimed Penn State University Turfgrass Program, he was mentored on the job by the legendary Paul Latshaw. Now in his 11th year at Merion Golf Club, Shaffer has a vast amount of experience in a wide variety of golf course operations. There is nothing he hasn’t seen or heard when it comes to the golf course. Shaffer is also a member of the USGA Green Section Committee and serves on the board of directors of the Pennsylvania Turfgrass Council.
A 32-year GCSAA member, he has been a part of staffs that have hosted the highest profile events, including the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club. As the director of golf course operations at Merion Golf Club, he has overseen course management operations for the 2005 U.S. Amateur, the 2009 Walker Cup and will be hosting the 2013 US. Open this June.
Shaffer is an ardent advocate for the environmental compatibility of golf courses. Earlier this year, GCSAA/Golf Digest recognized him with the Environmental Leader in Golf Award for private golf courses. A believer in firm and fast conditions, Shaffer has been able to minimize inputs of water, labor and chemicals, while maintaining quality conditions. Outside the ropes, he has earned acclaim for his design and construction of a “green” maintenance facility that features a green roof, low-energy lighting, recycling of oils, and other practices that save money and reduce the impact on the environment.
Additional GCSAA representation
GCSAA and the golf course management profession were also featured in the foyer of the Rayburn House Office Building during National Golf Day. Members of the Mid-Atlantic GCSA provided demonstrations using technologies for golf course management. They were:
- Mike Barrett, CGCS
- Teddy Blauvelt
- Dean Graves, CGCS
- Jon Lobenstine
- Jay Nalls
Also representing GCSAA at National Golf Day events were:
GCSAA board and staff:
- Patrick Finlen, CGCS, GCSAA president
- Keith Ihms, CGCS, GCSAA vice president
- John O'Keefe, CGCS, GCSAA secretary/treasurer
- Peter Grass, CGCS, GCSAA director (GR committee vice-chairman)
- Rafael Barajas, CGCS, GCSAA director (GR committee chairman)
- Darren Davis, GCSAA director
- John Fulling Jr., CGCS, GCSAA director
- Rhett Evans, GCSAA CEO
- Richard Konzem, GCSAA COO
- Greg Lyman, GCSAA director of environmental programs
- Jeff Bollig, GCSAA senior director of communications
- Scott Hollister, GCSAA associate director of publications
- Chava McKeel, GCSAA associate director of government relations
- Leann Cooper, GCSAA manager of chapter services
- Bob Helland, GCSAA adviser
GCSAA Government Relations Committee:
- Zach Bauer
- Luke Cella, CGCS
- Scott Hines, CGCS
- Travis Moore
- Don Naumann
- Robert Nielsen Jr., CGCS
- Scott Sewell, CGCS
- Charles Wolsburn
About We Are Golf
The We Are Golf coalition retained the Podesta Group, a Washington, D.C.-based government and public affairs firm, to coordinate the initiative’s unprecedented legislative efforts concerning small business, labor, tax and environmental goals. The objective is to get the golf industry a seat at the table when important and relevant legislation is being developed. Visit We Are Golf for more information on the coalition and its strategic progress.
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