Behind the Scenes at National Golf Day 2024: Industry Delegates Spend the Day Advocating for Golf’s Best Interests


By Whitney Crouse, Founding Partner of Bobby Jones Links

I was recently part of a six-person group of Georgia golf industry executives who participated in National Golf Day in Washington D.C. The team was there to advocate for three important issues, while counterparts from all other states also fanned out across Capitol Hill, visiting their representatives to lobby for these same important matters.

My colleagues for the day were Asa High (Frederica Golf Club), Chris Steigelman (The Landings), Tenia Workman (Georgia Golf Course Superintendents Association), and Stephen Donnell (Yamaha Motor Company). We had the privilege of meeting with the legislative aides for Senators Ossoff and Warnock and Congressmen McCormick and Loudermilk. Our team also met in person with Congressman Buddy Carter, an avid golfer who showed great interest in our issues.

In addition to visiting Capitol Hill, we attended a congressional reception in the historic Kennedy Caucus Room. This reception allowed us to connect with Members of Congress and develop the relationships that are instrumental in advancing the golf industry’s goals.  

The American Golf Industry Coalition briefed the teams on the three key issues before our day of meeting our representatives. 

  • Modernizing the U.S. Tax Code 144 (c)(6)(B) so that golf would be removed from the list of businesses that are disqualified and deemed "unworthy" of various forms of disaster relief and economic stimulus programs available, such as restaurants, hotels, and attractions. Without an amendment, golf courses are excluded from accessing financial investment to undertake projects in economically challenged communities that could provide enhanced public recreational experiences for Americans, generate funds for local charities, and support communities with steady and rewarding job and career opportunities. 
  • Constituents also urged Congress to continue supporting turfgrass research and development as a priority in the 2018 Farm Bill. The Agricultural Committee leadership in the House and Senate is working to finalize initial bill drafts. Because turfgrass covers an estimated 60 million acres nationwide, this issue is a top priority for the industry and the nation. Healthy, dense turfgrass protects water quality, recharges groundwater, mitigates soil erosion, and cools our environment.
  • And lastly, participants asked Congress to pass the PHIT Act for Life-Long Health (H.R. 1582, S. 786). PHIT would allow 100 million Americans the option to use their HSA/FSA funds not solely on over-the-counter and prescription drug copays, but also on activity expenses to lower the cost of leading a healthy lifestyle by permitting the use of funds for activities such as youth and adult sport league fees, youth camps, green fees, lesson and clinic fees, gym and healthy club fees and more.

Some of my insights from the day:

  • Walking the halls of Capitol Hill was fascinating. This was the first time I’d done this. Once inside security, you can walk into the office of any Senator or Representative and roam the various buildings connected by tunnels. As you do, you pass many other lobbying groups doing the same thing.
  • We had 15 minutes to meet with each legislative aide. I took the first few minutes to share with them the size and power of the golf industry while the other took turns talking about one of the three issues. To a person, the aides were professional and showed genuine interest.
  • As a Champions Circle Member of the NGGOA, we were invited to a special dinner with four Representatives, the PGA of America President and Vice-President, and the leadership team from the NGCOA. It was fun and enlightening. Seated next to my wife Lisa and I was Representative Kat Cammack from Florida, an avid golfer and member of the Congressional Golf Caucus. Kat wanted to know more about how to help disabled golfers, particularly military veterans. Since our dinner, I’ve been texting with her, feeding her information about what golf is doing in this area.

On average, more than 12,000 bills are introduced yearly, with only 2 percent being addressed in any given year. The takeaway is that lobbying for our three issues could be a year’s-long process. Only the most urgent and obvious problems are addressed immediately.

My day on Capitol Hill was enlightening and rewarding, and I hope to do it again next year. I found the people we met with sincere, hard-working, and committed to making a difference. 



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