Golf industry leaders visited Washington on May 1 for National Golf Day, participating in a record 244 meetings with members of Congress representing 41 states to discuss the game’s economic, social and environmental contributions.
The 12th annual National Golf Day 2019 was organized by WE ARE GOLF, a coalition of the game’s leading associations and industry partners. More than 300 industry leaders took part, with discussions focused on the game’s $84.1 billion economy that impacts almost two million jobs and involves approximately 15,000 diverse businesses.
“The game of golf is growing and evolving, and it is important that we come together collectively in Washington to share stories of impact the game is having on business and communities across the United States,” said Greg McLaughlin, CEO of World Golf Foundation, the organization that coordinates WE ARE GOLF activities. “From athletes from every corner of the world competing each week on the PGA TOUR and LPGA, to global companies investing billions of dollars in and around the sport, to healthy participation in traditional and emerging ways, the game of golf is a strong and vibrant part of American culture.”
Through the annual event on Capitol Hill, lawmakers get to hear firsthand from constituents about the many societal benefits provided by golf, valuable insights that help inform future decisions that could affect the sport.
“We are here to educate our elected officials that the golf industry is made up of many small businesses that contribute to our national economy,” said Jay Karen, CEO of National Golf Course Owners Association and Chair of the WE ARE GOLF Board. “The importance of fair and good taxation policies is paramount to the success of our businesses.”
Golf industry leaders shared data on the health of the sport, from traditional participation to interest and off-course participation to the ways in which it continues to grow and evolve, including key metrics from the NGF’s recent 2019 Golf Industry Report.
“Sports have always been an important part of American culture, and in my hometown of Augusta, Georgia, golf is at the heart of our town’s traditions and identity,” said Rick Allen, the Republican Representative from Georgia’s 12th Congressional District. “On National Golf Day, we renew our commitment to ensure Americans not only play the game for decades to come, but also ensure golf’s economic, social and charitable impacts are effectively communicated and protected.”
“So many golf courses in the US, including courses in my district, are public facilities operating as small, locally owned businesses,” added Bill Keating, the Democratic Representative from Massachusetts. “National Golf Day highlights the industry’s importance to American society, including business, recreation, hospitality and tourism. Anything that brings people together is great, and golf brings people together.”
On April 30, more than 200 golf industry representatives came together for 17 community service projects at various locations on the National Mall, including beautifying and preserving historical landmarks between the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument. The four-hour community service project, which organized by Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, saved the U.S. National Park Service almost four months of labor costs.
Additionally, many golf courses and golf businesses celebrated and recognized National Golf Day in various ways, including through activities and special offers. PGA TOUR Superstore offered free clinics and lessons, while Topgolf gave complimentary group golf instruction lessons.