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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24 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 07.14 Bishop states his case PGA of America President Ted Bishop is anything but afraid to speak his mind. When it comes to defending golf, his message is delivered loud and clear. Recently, Bishop (who is a GCSAA member and owner of The Legends GC in Franklin, Ind.) responded to media criticism in the form of an open letter. GCM has provided excerpts below: When the legend becomes fact, print the legend. One of my favorite westerns when I was a kid growing up in northern Indiana back in the 1960s was "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance." The movie starred Jimmy Stewart and John Wayne. It was a great John Ford flm and the most famous line of the movie was uttered near the end. "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend." In the past few weeks, the sport of golf has been bul - lied around similar to the townsfolk of Shinbone who were 411 victim to Liberty Valance, the gunfghter who was brilliantly portrayed by Lee Marvin. Enough is enough. Golf is not "in a hole" nor is the golf market "stuck in a bunker." Given that 2013 had the fewest days open for golf (268, less than the 288 the previous year because of weather) in the past seven years, it was encouraging to see that golfers played more rounds of golf per day than they had in previous years. There were a total of 37 states with consistent or increased rounds played per day in 2013 compared to 2012. According to PGA Performance Trak, golf facility op - erators reported growth in three of four key performance revenue indicators from 2012 to 2013, including golf merchandise sales (up 2.2 percent); food and beverage revenue (up 2.0 percent); and total facility revenue (up a modest 0.3 percent). Through annual golf participation studies conducted by the National Golf Foundation (NGF), 3.5 million to 3.7 million new and former golfers took up the game in each of the last fve years. We also note that recent declines in participation have offset gains in our sport. As such, a stagnant industry is clearly not the goal and that is why our Task Force is exploring innovative ways to bring new people into golf. We have our legends. They are names like Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan, Babe Didrikson Zaharias, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. And we have our facts. I am not suggesting for even a moment that golf does not have its challenges. We have plenty, including time, diversity and diffculty. Interestingly, 90 percent of golf played in the U.S. is on public courses at an average of $28 per round, dis - pelling the notion that golf is unaffordable. It is time that the facts became the legend — print the facts. Liberty Valance is dead, and, as the script said, "Nothing's too good for the man who shot Liberty Valance." GCSAA, industry partners visit Capitol Hill The mission: To show Washington, D.C., all the rea- sons why golf is so meaningful. On May 21, GCSAA joined other leaders in golf for the seventh annual National Golf Day in the nation's cap - ital. National Golf Day is a major industry effort under the auspices of We Are Golf, which is a broad coalition of the game's leading associations and industry partners. It is designed to showcase golf's nearly $70 billion economy, $4 billion annual charitable impact, environmental value to local communities and ftness benefts. For GCSAA, discussion points with lawmakers this year focused on environmental issues, most notably pro - posed changes to the Clean Water Act and how the Envi- ronmental Protection Agency (EPA) defnes "waters of the United States," a key pillar of the act. If changed, the rule could greatly expand which water bodies fall under federal jurisdiction and, ultimately, it could negatively impact su - perintendents' abilities to maintain their golf courses. Those efforts paid almost immediate dividends, as the EPA announced in early June a 91-day extension of the 020-029_July_Front9.indd 24 6/17/14 4:23 PM

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