Do you want to help shape the future of golf course maintenance through active involvement in the management of government issues? Are you interested in helping your colleagues influence legislation and regulations that impact golf course maintenance? Do you want to serve in an important leadership role in your chapter and national association?
GCSAA is seeking enthusiastic, motivated members interested in government issues to serve as chapter Government Relations Liaisons (GRL). GRLs are vital communication links between GCSAA members and the GCSAA Department of Information and Public Policy.
Becoming a GRL presents many opportunities to be involved in a way that can make a big difference in the lives of superintendents. GRLs help elevate the status of their chapter and directly help improve the golf course maintenance profession. GRLs have the opportunity to learn about a new area of interest that impacts their lives on a daily basis, and can then pass that knowledge on to chapter members. Becoming a GRL could potentially lead to a better job through exposure to the "movers and shakers" in your community and refinement of communication skills. Not only do GRLs have the opportunity to get to know influential golfers and club members and local politicians and VIPs, they also benefit from networking opportunities at the chapter and national association levels.
Do you have what it takes? Public policy staff recommends chapter GRLs have the following prerequisites:
- highly organized
- access to a fax machine
- some knowledge of computers
- willingness to serve as a liaison for more than one year
- good communication skills or willingness to improve current skills
- good image and be in good standing within the chapter and the community
- support of employer and own family members
- should have some interest in government issues
It is recommended that the term is at least one calendar year and it typically will coincide with a chapter's election cycle. It is ultimately up to the discretion of the chapter board to determine the length of term.
To be effective, a GRL can monitor government activity affecting superintendents, report to chapter members about important government initiatives, keep GCSAA informed about state and local government activity and stand ready to mobilize chapter members to participate in grassroots lobbying efforts. Here is an overview of each of these activities.
There are a variety of ways for a GRL to monitor legislative and regulatory activity in their state which may impact the golf course management profession. A GRL will determine the amount of time they have available to monitor legislation and regulations in their state. Here are some examples of ways to monitor:
- Follow/track legislation in the GCSAA Legislative Action Center
- Read local newspapers and look for articles relevant to golf course superintendents
- Attend city council meetings on a regular basis
- Subscribe to a legislative tracking service (there may be a cost element)
- Get on the distribution list of your state's Register
- Monitor your state agency web sites (Dept of Agriculture, Dept. of Environmental Protection, etc.) for important regulatory updates
- Keep your ears open for any hint of legislative and regulatory hot topics when participating in discussions with personal and professional contacts
Communicating and Reporting
A GRL will be responsible for communicating and reporting on hot issues at the state and local level to chapter members and GCSAA staff. Here are some examples of ways to communicate and report:
- Provide time at your monthly chapter meetings for discussion of GR issues
- Prepare or present quarterly reports to your chapter board members
- Write an article for your chapter newsletter
- Include a regular government relations section in your chapter newsletter
- Provide timely information/updates to the GCSAA information and public policy department (GRL reporting form available online)
A GRL can learn to be an effective advocate for and with their chapter members. It is up to each GRL to determine their level of involvement in advocacy activities. The following is a list of ways to advocate:
- Create chapter Action Alerts in the Legislative Action Center when an important issue arises
- Host a golf course site visit for a lawmaker
- Spearhead the creation of a coalition and manage a local issue
- Conduct a personal visit with a lawmaker
- Assist in a letter writing campaign or testify at a hearing
- receive training and information about this job enhancing field of interest
- meet influential people in your community or state
- make a difference for superintendents and improve the golf course management profession
- help shape the future of golf course management through involvement in the management of government issues
- serve as a chapter leader
As your chapter's GRL, you'll recieve the following:
- Greens & Grassroots: A Golf Industry Guide to Advocacy - This advocacy manual contains everything you need to know to participate in the legislative process.
- Chapter advocacy training - You can request training from government relations staff to help you educate your chapter.
- Public policy conference and show program - GRLs, chapters, and members learn about specific government issues that directly affect superintendents.