Golf Course Management

JUL 2014

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

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16 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 07.14 For those of us who make our living as golf course superintendents, patience is more than just a virtue. It's almost a job requirement. Much of the work that we put in on the golf course doesn't pay us back with immedi - ate dividends. It takes time for newly seeded grass to spring to life. Bunker renovation proj - ects don't start and fnish in the same day. Building new tees, creating naturalized areas, applying fertilizer — all of them require pa - tience before we enjoy the fruits of our labor. To some extent, the same can be said of many of the efforts that your national asso - ciation puts forth on behalf of its members. When we create and implement certain pro - grams and services, we realize we likely won't see immediate results. But we also realize that the long-term benefts will more than make up for all of our hard work. A prime example of this is GCSAA's gov - ernment relations and advocacy efforts. For many years, staff and committed members have worked to create a consistent and reliable presence for our profession on Capitol Hill and among legislators all over the country. But like many things within the halls of govern - ment, the efforts you put in today are often done so with an eye toward the benefts you can realize tomorrow. One of these key advocacy efforts is GCSAA's participation in National Golf Day, an annual event that I was lucky enough to take part in this past May. Now in its seventh year, National Golf Day is a product of the We Are Golf coalition — a group that includes GCSAA, the PGA of America, the PGA Tour, the National Golf Course Owners Association and the Club Managers Association of Amer - ica — that brings the message of golf 's eco- nomic, environmental, charitable and ftness benefts to Capitol Hill. This year's GCSAA contingency at Na - tional Golf Day, which included members of the board of directors, key staff and the Government Relations Committee, carried two specifc areas of focus into its conversa - tions with legislators. The frst was an effort to persuade members of the House Ways and Means Committee to abandon their attempt to exclude golf courses from conservation- easement tax-incentive eligibility. The second revolved around the Clean Water Act and pro - posed changes to how the U.S. Environmen- tal Protection Agency (EPA) defnes "waters of the United States," a change that could ad - versely effect superintendents' ability to main- tain their golf courses. The meetings that took place on National Golf Day were largely fact-sharing missions on our part, but I'm pleased to report that those discussions produced positive results much faster than even we could have hoped. A few weeks following National Golf Day, we learned that the House Ways and Means Com - mittee intended to include golf courses among land uses eligible for conservation-easement tax incentives. Although there is work to do to ensure that this decision becomes fnal, it is a positive development that can only help golf courses remain vital, healthy small businesses. Shortly after that, the EPA announced that it had extended the comment period on the proposed changes to the Clean Water Act's waters-of-the-U.S. provision for 91 days, which was one of GCSAA's key requests of legislators during National Golf Day. The de - cision gives an industry stakeholder team that GCSAA helped create more time to develop its message and ensure those messages reach key decision makers within the EPA. Two key messages on National Golf Day, and two key victories for the golf industry, vic - tories that did not take long in coming. Not everything in our business bears fruit so rap - idly, and I certainly realize that these wins are the exception and not the rule. But for me per - sonally, both outcomes are extremely gratify- ing and proof positive that the time and effort GCSAA puts into its efforts in Washington, D.C., have been worth it and do lead to posi - tive benefts for superintendents in particular and the golf industry as a whole. Keith A. Ihms, CGCS, is the golf course maintenance man- ager at Bella Vista (Ark.) Village and a 33-year member of GCSAA. Keith A. Ihms, CGCS The power of persuasion For many years, staff and committed members have worked to create a consistent and reliable presence for our profession on Capitol Hill and among legislators all over the country. (president's message) 016-017_July14_PresMess.indd 16 6/17/14 2:39 PM

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