There was going to be a huge get-together in Washington, DC, in May. It was to have been a mixture of fun and serious business. Golf industry leaders were going to meet with Members of Congress, the Executive Branch and federal agencies to discuss golf’s 15,000 diverse businesses, two million jobs impacted, tax revenue and tourism value. Sadly, National Golf Day never happened.
Sponsored by a non-profit organization called, “WE ARE GOLF,” National Golf Day celebrates the game’s $84.1 billion economy, nearly $4 billion annual charitable impact and many environmental and fitness benefits.
According to the organization’s website, “WE ARE GOLF is a coalition of golf’s leading organizations including the Golf Course Superintendents Association, National Golf Course Owners Association, PGA TOUR, PGA of America, USGA, U.S. Golf Manufacturers Council and World Golf Foundation. WE ARE GOLF was formed 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 those whose livelihoods are tied to the game, WE ARE GOLF has leveled the playing field for the thousands of small businesses that make up the industry.”
Undaunted, WE ARE GOLF staff continues its lobbying efforts year-round, as they always have. After all, many on Capitol Hill do not fully appreciate the impact the industry has on the economy, environment, health, wellness, and charitable events. Not to mention, there are literally millions of individuals depending on the industry for their livelihood.
“There are two million men and women who depend on the golf industry to pay rent and put food on the table,” according to staff at WE ARE GOLF. “Our country has experienced several natural disasters in the last few years, causing incredible flooding and destruction to golf courses (Hurricane Katrina – 2005, Super Storm Sandy – 2012). Unfortunately, public courses have been grouped in with a select group of companies not eligible to receive disaster tax relief – which WE ARE GOLF is seeking to overturn.”
As part of an industry-wide collaboration to lead the responsible return of golf in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, the game’s allied organizations have established “Back2Golf,” a plan outlining operational guidelines for the golf’s 16,000-plus golf facilities which adhere to nationally established protocols and best practices.
The non-profit provides suggestions for a three-phased approach to normalcy and provides a Back2Golf “Event Consideration Checklist” for reference on their website.
Back2Golf’s initiative breaks it down in an easy-to-follow list: In Phase 1 we are advised to adhere to a heavily “Restricted” policy with vulnerable individuals sheltering in place and others told to observe maximum physical distancing and the avoidance of groups larger than ten.
Phase 2 recommendations continue to advise vulnerable individuals shelter in place. Restrictions remain the same in large part for others when playing golf, with the exception that group limits are expanded from ten to now 50. By the time courses are ready for Phase 3, we can progress into “The New Normal.” By this time, vulnerable individuals can resume public interactions but should continue to practice physical distancing. Low-risk populations should consider minimizing time spent in crowded environments, but normal golf operations may resume.
According to the organization’s webpage titled, “Advocate,” links to various organizations’ advisory pages are listed. “During these unprecedented times, WE ARE GOLF partners have been taking the proper steps to ensure their members are prepared for every possible scenario the COVID-19 virus presents. We’ve gathered these resources for your convenience.”
Links are then provided to pages dedicated to providing Coronavirus information from the Club Management Association of America, National Golf Course Owners Association, Professional Golf Association of America, National Club Association, Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, PGA Tour, the United States Golf Association (USGA), and the National Golf Foundation.
Many readers of Golf Course Trades may not know that our headquarters are located in the Golf Capital of Tennessee – Crossville. Several retirement communities in the area owe a large part of their popularity to the game. In fact, our local Chamber of Commerce’s ‘middle name’ is golf (1-877-GOLF-TN1). Therefore, we fully support the mission of WE ARE GOLF and are pleased to offer our pages to them at any time.