The Georgia GCSA was presented an Excellence in Government Relations award for its outstanding advocacy work with local and state leaders regarding water issues at the 2007 GCSAA Education Conference and Golf Industry Show in Anaheim, Calif. It’s the first time the award has been granted to an affiliated chapter.
Georgia GCSA members have long been aware of water and conservation. The drought years from 1998 to 2002 brought the issue of water use painfully home for golf course superintendents. The Georgia GCSA board of directors took a leadership role regarding water usage on golf courses when the state legislature began scrutinizing the issue in 2002.
The Georgia GCSA formed a water task force committee comprised of superintendents, university professors and research professionals. This task force published booklets which defined the economic and environmental impacts of golf in Georgia.
The Georgia GCSA helped form the Georgia Allied Golf Council (GAGC), a committee made up of representatives from the Georgia GCSA, the Georgia section of the PGA of America, the Georgia State Golf Association, the Georgia chapter of the Club Managers Association of America and the Georgia Golf Course Owners Association. This group has accomplished many goals, including hiring a lobbyist to represent the golf industry at various levels in the state government.
The GAGC supported a bill that supports a statewide water management plan by 2007. With the Georgia GCSA’s input, several points were included in the bill that allow for best management practices on golf courses to be a part of the statewide water plan.
For a complete story on the Georgia GCSA’s legislative and allied advocacy work, read the winning Excellence in Government Relations Case Study.
Richard Staughton, CGCS, offers the following tips to other chapter leaders trying to work with allied associations and legislators regarding issues that affect the golf industry in your state:
- Start with a plan and include all involved in the issue.
- Establish an audience with the allied partners. It’s beneficial to have an issue that affects the entire industry.
- Get the state university involved! This will provide scientific data to show that mandating rigid regulations won’t necessarily work for each specific situation.
- Be prepared to work. Create a team effort, have everyone do their part, and most importantly, do what you say you will do!
- Do your homework! Gather data and publish your information.
- Don’t be afraid to tackle an issue! Nothing is too big if you come together as a team.
- Take the high road. Be proactive and don’t let doomsayers diminish your efforts.
- Gain access to legislative boards. If you are able, hire a lobbyist.
- Most importantly – become part of the solution.
To share your chapter's success stories, please email them to Leann Cooper.