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Golf Leaders Come to Capitol Hill


In a press conference at the National Press Club to commemorate the first National Golf Day, golf leaders discussed the golf industry's environmental stewardship and its multi-billion-dollar annual contribution to the economy.

According to U.S. Census data, the $76 billion U.S. golf economy is larger than the motion picture and video industries and that golf facility operations generated $28 billion in revenue, exceeding revenues from all other professional and semi-professional spectator sports combined. The study, which was completed earlier this year, also found that golf generates more than $3.5 billion annually for charities across the country.

"We are here as a very strong industry coalition to present data that demonstrates golf's extremely positive contributions to the economic health of our nation," said David B. Fay, chairman of the World Golf Foundation and executive director of the USGA. "In addition, we want to highlight golf's environmental stewardship and the game's very positive charitable and human impact on our society. Our message is built around the fact that golf is a vital contributor to our nation's health on a number of significant levels."

Others at the press conference included Tim Finchem, commissioner of the PGA Tour; Joe Steranka, CEO of the PGA of America; Steve Mona, CEO of World Golf Foundation; Joe Louis Barrow Jr., chief executive officer of The First Tee; and Libba Galloway, deputy commissioner of the LPGA. Representatives of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA), National Golf Course Owners Association, Club Managers Association of America, Golf Course Builders Association of America and American Society of Golf Course Architects were also in Washington in recognition of National Golf Day. Each organization is a supporting member of World Golf Foundation.

The GCSAA was represented at the event by President David Downing, CGCS, and by members of the association's Government Relations committee.

A bipartisan Congressional resolution sponsored by U.S. Representatives Ron Klein (D-FL) and John Mica (R-FL) declared April 16, 2008, as National Golf Day.

A comprehensive study, the "2005 Golf Economy Report," commissioned by World Golf Foundation's GOLF 20/20 initiative, determined that golf in the United States generated $76 billion in direct economic impact in 2005, up significantly from $62 billion five years ago. The five-year growth of approximately $14 billion represents an average annual growth rate of 4.1 percent, well ahead of the average annual inflation rate of 2.5 percent during the years 2000-05.

In addition to golf's direct revenues, the "2005 Golf Economy Report" presents for the first time the direct, indirect, induced and total economic impact of golf on the U.S. economy. The report indicates that golf generated a total economic impact of $195 billion in 2005, creating approximately 2 million jobs and wage income of $61 billion.

The golf industry is also taking steps to assume a leadership role as a sound steward of the environment. For decades, the industry has been dedicated to investing resources to ensure golf's compatibility with the environment.

Golf courses have gained their status as sound environmental stewards through professional and proactive management. From 1996 to 2006, a U.S. golf course, on average, implemented five significant environmental improvements. These include installation of native plantings, creating wildlife habitat areas, implementing erosion control measures, irrigation system upgrades and enhancing wetlands.

Golf is unique among sports in that it is used on a daily basis as the vehicle to raise substantial sums for charities. According to the "2005 Golf Economy Report," golf generates more than $3.5 billion annually for charities across the country. Golf's professional tours generate more than $130 million annually through individual tournaments and the players themselves generate significant sums through their own fundraisers and foundations. More than $3 billion annually is generated at the community level through fundraisers at the more than 16,000 local golf facilities.

The above report is courtesy of "Divot Mix," an e-publication of the GCSAA. For details, visit www.gcsaa.org.