Golf Course Management

SEP 2018

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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32 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 09.18 e world is run by those who show up. – Unknown e Connecticut Association of Golf Course Superintendents (CAGCS) has a long history of advocating for the golf industry and its members. For decades, the focus has been on promoting environmental stewardship, de - fending responsible use and management of inputs and protecting small businesses from excessive regulation. e CAGCS board of di - rectors has earned a reputation as a force in the legislative arena. Much of their influence can be attributed to a clear, concise message, the relationships developed with industry partners and regulatory officials and the fact that they always "show up." anks to relationships developed with Michael Moraghan, executive director of the Connecticut State Golf Association (CSGA), and Michael Dugan, lobbyist at Capitol Con - sulting LLC, CAGCS was offered a seat on the Science and Technical Workgroup for the development of the State Water Plan in 2015. roughout the two-year development pro - cess, a CAGCS representative attended over 25 Workgroup meetings and numerous pub - lic meetings, hearings and workshops. Most of the time, their role was to sit quietly and observe. Occasionally, we chose to voice our opinions and promote our values. e mes - sage was always delivered respectfully to sup- port our position and promote the industry and organization. For the last 12 years, Government Rela - tions Chair Scott Ramsay, CGCS and 35-year GCSAA member, from e Course at Yale, has led advocacy efforts for CAGCS. His pri - mary responsibilities include developing part- nerships among allied industry and political organizations and monitoring the regulatory and legislative affairs around the capitol. A critical secondary role was to build a respon - sive advocacy team. When the Connecticut Water Planning Council sought someone from the golf indus - try to participate in the development of the State Water Plan, the CSGA contacted Ram - say, who recruited me, superintendent at Pine Orchard Yacht and Country Club, then sec - retary of CAGCS. For the next four years, I was the face and voice of golf at meetings and hearings, connecting with many participants and influential players. I learned valuable lessons about the plan - ning process, priorities and scope of the plan. is information proved valuable when lan - guage was inserted into the final draft that referred to water as a matter of "public trust." Although there is a precedent of applying pub - lic trust doctrine to water issues, the manner and timing of its inclusion prevented debate and comment. ere was concern about how its application might affect water rights that support small businesses and water suppliers in the future. Again, CAGCS was the face and voice of golf, joining forces with other out-of- stream water users to voice opposition — not to the plan or its core principles, but to the process — at a joint hearing of four legisla - tive committees. Golf 's testimony — combined with an or - ganized grassroots initiative led by CAGCS that included collaboration with public water suppliers, CSGA and our lobbyist — was enough to prevent the committees from pre - senting the final draft to the general legisla- ture for approval. e relationship between CAGCS and CSGA increased the audience of potential activists from 133 superintendents to over 30,000 golfing voters. Talking points de - veloped by CAGCS were emailed to all golfers issued a handicap, and the response to the call to action was noted by multiple legislators. Building an advocacy network (advocacy) Peter Gorman pgorman@poycc.org Peter Gorman, Class A superintendent at Pine Orchard Yacht & Country Club in Branford, Conn., speaks during a joint committee public hearing on the Connecticut State Water Plan on April 17. Video is available at http://ct-n.com/ondemand.asp?id=15208 ; Connecticut Association of Golf Course Superintendents testimony begins at 1:55. Photos courtesy of Peter Gorman Eventually, the governor signed an executive order to approve the plan without legislative ac - tion. After the executive order was signed, an email was sent to 60 individuals listed as par - ticipants in the development process to join a committee that would create a framework for the implementation phase of the plan. Ten individuals representing businesses and orga - nizations, including CAGCS, volunteered to participate. CAGCS' investment in this phase required only one meeting and a few emails, but the benefit was another opportunity to af - firm the association's commitment to protect- ing valuable water resources and rights. is commitment will lead to more opportunities to promote the golf industry as a collection of small businesses and superintendents as en - vironmental stewards and responsible users of water, fertilizer and control products. Golf courses across the country face regu - latory and legislative challenges frequently. e key to representing the interests of your industry and members successfully is having an effective advocacy network in place before issues arise and the pivotal discussions are ini - tiated. Effective advocacy is built on a concise message that defines your values and priori - ties, the commitment of engaged individuals, relationships with influential partners and or - ganizations, and the ability to have your mes- sage delivered to key decision-makers from many voters. e time to begin developing the message and recruiting players for the team is before they are needed. Effective advocacy may lead to opportunities to have your inter - ests represented in regulation and legislation before the initial language is drafted. Peter Gorman, Class A superintendent at Pine Orchard Yacht & Country Club in Branford, Conn., is a 20-year GCSAA member.

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