On May 10th, Greg McLaughlin, CEO, World Golf Foundation, kicked off our celebration. He introduced the golf industry’s new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) collaboration initiative. The mission of DEI is to make our sport more diverse, equitable, and inclusive through collective action across the industry, with a specific focus on education and skill development, player development, marketing, communications, talent acquisition, human resources, and procurement. The DEI marketing working group created a new messaging tagline #makegolfyourthing, that will be soon introduced to the industry. You will be hearing much more from the working groups on this initiative and how you can improve the DEI culture in your organization.
Closing out opening day’s session were PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh, PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan, and LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan. Their message reflected leadership’s commitment to the DEI effort within their respective organizations and challenged all other golf industries to embrace DEI and become a part of this collaborative effort.
On May 12th, over 200 industry members met virtually in over 250 meetings with our respective state Senators and Representatives. While many of these meetings were with congressional staff, they were informative and engaging based on early feedback. With 60 freshmen members in Congress this year, we used this as an opportunity to educate them on the economic, environmental, and charitable contributions our industry provides to our nation and its citizens.
This year the We Are Golf coalition targeted three industry issues impacting our industry. The first was a positive story reflecting the work of GCSAA in the 50 state rollout of their industry Best Management Practice (BMP) manual for golf facilities. This manual reflects the industry’s commitment and pride in environmental stewardship.
The general reception from members and staff was very high. Many asked for a copy of the BMP manual.
The second issue presented was the PHIT Act. Passage of the PHIT Act will help individuals and families overcome financial barriers to active lifestyles, such as playing golf. This legislation was passed by the House last year and had very high bipartisan support this year. We asked members who have yet to co-sponsor the Senate and House bill to add their names. The overall reception was favorable.
The last issue presented was the H-2B Returning Worker Exemption. The previous administration discontinued this exemption in 2017. Most of the staff members we met with were unaware of this potential solution to the continued challenge of obtaining adequate qualified and trained non-immigrant workers. While the members and staff reception were favorable, there currently is not active legislation calling for this exemption. Our ask was for them to consider during the 2022 Congressional budget development.
2021 National Golf Day celebration is now in the books, but our advocacy work is just beginning. We look forward to returning to our physical meetings on the Hill in 2022. The We Are Golf Government Affairs Committee will soon start planning for next year, so look for our save the date message!