Golf Course Management

JAN 2019

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

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30 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 01.19 e Georgia GCSA chapter recently hosted Congressman Barry Loudermilk as a guest speaker at its annual meeting. His at - tendance wasn't just by chance, but was the culmination of months of outreach conducted by Grassroots Ambassador Kyle Marshall throughout 2018. "As an Ambassador, it took me a little while to get going, but with a little bit of help from GCSAA staff, it turned out to be a lot easier than I thought it was going to be," said Marshall, director of golf course management at the Capital City Club in Atlanta and a 31- year GCSAA member. No doubt, being paired in the Ambassador program with a congressman and staff who understand the economic impact of the golf industry in Georgia has made advocacy out - reach a little less daunting for Marshall. How- ever, he couldn't have known this would be the case going into it, and he took the initiative to tackle a new challenge, which is paying off. "e congressman was so nice and un - derstanding of our issues. I feel like we defi- nitely have an ally we can work with on H-2B and other matters we deal with as superin - tendents," said Marshall, reflecting on Con- gressman Loudermilk's remarks at the an- nual meeting. Marshall's experience is what grassroots advocacy managers like to call "climbing the advocacy ladder." Simple, small steps are taken first, such as placing a call to a congres - sional office or sending an email to discuss an issue. is can then lead to personal visits from staff members and, eventually, the mem - ber of Congress. After a few such interactions have occurred, a relationship has developed. e member of Congress now has a better idea of what golf course management is all about, what kind of individuals work in our industry, and what kind of value our industry provides a community and a state. at is precisely what we are trying to do: foster a better under - standing and appreciation of the golf industry among our nation's lawmakers. In 2019, about 100 new individuals will join the U.S. Congress, bringing with them varying degrees of experience in public of - fice. Some, such as Senator Mitt Romney, have served as governor of a state or have run for president. Others, like Congresswoman Sharice Davids from eastern Kansas, are first- time elected officials. ough it may seem like an overwhelming task now, we'll use the next Successful golf advocacy in 2018 with an eye on 2019 (advocacy) GCSAA's government affairs team two years to introduce ourselves and familiar- ize these new members with golf course man- agement, the challenges superintendents face, and how they as lawmakers can help. We now have a divided government. We also believe there will be an uptick in state and local activism regarding our use of inputs. We can already see this in states like New York, Maine, Minnesota, Illinois, Washington, Cal - ifornia and Connecticut. Florida is facing the dual crisis of red tide and green algae blooms. Golf was asked to move to recycled water in Arizona in the name of water conservation years ago, and it did, but now courses are shut - ting down because the cost of reclaimed water is too high. e above pressures make it imperative that we continue to build our grassroots army and fill out our remaining Grassroots Ambas - sador positions. Having a member of Congress (like Congressman Loudermilk) or a state lawmaker or a city council member visit your chapter meeting or your golf facility in 2019 is a vital first step. GCSAA's government affairs team wants to work with you to increase your advocacy engagement in 2019. Please give us a call. We also encourage you to review our 2018 policy accomplishments in the Advocacy section of gcsaa.org . Happy New Year! GCSAA's government affairs team is Chava McKeel, direc- tor; Bob Helland, director of congressional and federal affairs; and Michael Lee, manager. Having a member of Congress or a state lawmaker or a city council member visit your chapter meeting or your golf facility in 2019 is a vital first step. Congressman Barry Loudermilk (right) recently spoke to the Georgia GCSA chapter's annual meeting, thanks in part to the efforts of Grassroots Ambassador Kyle Marshall. Photo courtesy of Kyle Marshall

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