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A Report from National Golf Day

A report from National Golf Day (May 8-10) from MGA Director, Member Services Kevin Kline

As a coalition of golf industry leaders, National Golf Day celebrated its 16th year last week and I was honored to represent the Metropolitan Golf Association for this important day of advocacy for the golf industry. National Golf Day serves as the pinnacle advocacy event of the year for the American Golf Industry Coalition, harnessing all the power behind the AGIC and concentrating it on three days of events in Washington, D.C., that showcase the game's $102 billion economy, nearly $6 billion annual charitable impact and the many environmental and fitness benefits.

NGD attendees meet with House and Senate members or their staff to discuss the key issues impacting golf and to share their personal experiences with lawmakers from their states. These personal interactions help lawmakers see the positive impact golf has on their constituents.

The AGIC ensured everyone had a great experience in our nation’s capital for National Golf Day. The festivities kicked off with a keynote address by Steve Sands of the Golf Channel who provided attendees with an entertaining Q&A session that was moderated by AGIC Executive Director Greg McLoughlin. Sands offered his insight to the upcoming PGA Championship as well as his thoughts on some of the game’s biggest stars.

At the close of his address Sands made a point to personally thank the audience for the work we do promoting the great game of golf. Following Steve’s remarks government relations professionals from across the golf industry provided attendees with an in-depth look at the three key legislative issues industry representatives would be addressing with legislators during our day on Capitol Hill.

NGD attendees go into the legislative meetings after being briefed and trained to discuss the issues, and they go into the meetings as teams, so all attendees are prepared and comfortable when speaking with their lawmakers. My meetings on Capitol Hill for National Golf Day started at 9 a.m., and ran until 4 p.m. National Golf Day participants have scheduled times to connect with their legislative representatives to talk about big issues facing the industry, and how it impacts the clubs and courses in their district. This year I was a part of the New York contingent and was joined by Robert Nielsen, the Golf Course Superintendent at Bedford Golf & Tennis Club and Heath Wassem, PGA member.

Attendees were encouraged to be sincere about the value of golf in their communities and to keep their stories local. The industry leaders provided insight to how the meetings would go and stressed to all of us to make the argument that golf matters and the industry has a significant impact on our communities and economy. We were reminded that Congress does not think outside of their silos a lot of the time and that is why it is so important that we are represented in D.C. I was able to spend precious time in the halls of the U.S. Capitol on Thursday sharing our story with lawmakers, including Senator Charles Schumer, Sen Kirsten Gillibrand, Representative Michael Lawler and Representative Anthony D’Esposito.

Why did the MGA send a member of the staff down to D.C.? Because it’s important! We want people to hear our story – the real story – not what you may hear from the non-golfing public. When you have 300 National Golf Day attendees knocking on doors, it sends an important message. It’s that one time of the year we can come out in force and not be not heard.

AGIC promotes and advocates for the collective interests of the sport by advocating for legislative and regulatory issues and facilitating the industry's diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. In each area of emphasis, the coalition unites the golf industry in pursuit of goals designed to enhance the vitality and diversity of the recreational and business entities of the sport. AGIC serves as a banner under which collaborative issues can be addressed when it’s clear that one collective voice is most effective.

National Golf Day was a rewarding experience for myself and all involved, providing us with some important sunlight on why golf is important and how industry members can help secure its future for generations to come.

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