At the opening of 2020 we announced that 2020 was going to be the year when SCGA Public Affairs focused much greater attention upon municipal golf. What we didn’t know in January 2020 was that 60 days later COVID would upset everything, the 1st of the 3 driest years on record had just begun, and the following year the 1st of two bills we nicknamed the “Public Golf Endangerment Act” (AB 672 & 1910) would be filed and rigorously prosecuted by its author and the bill’s politically potent supporters.
Simply put, stuff came up – stuff that we had to address immediately and often at the expense of whatever longer-term strategic initiatives we might have had in mind.
One-third of this trifecta of “stuff” is still very much on our plate, albeit slightly relieved at the moment by a few atmospheric rivers. But with COVID now behind us, no more bills like AB 1910 in the immediate offing, and the game’s drought response cum coping mechanisms in high gear, we do plan to pivot back toward municipal golf in 2023. We never abandoned our focus; indeed, we worked continuously the last three years with the USGA Advocacy Working Group and continued our work with the region’s myriad municipal golf commissions/boards.
Among the many lessons AB 1910 taught us was the critical need to address the misconceptions about the game, particularly the municipal game, that suffuses the thinking of those who would single out golf from among all other green recreational activities for non-green, non-recreational repurposing – “thinking captured well by an incendiary descriptor we coined in late 2021 to get the game to understand that there are more persons than we think who believe that golf can be summed up as follows: “Too much land that uses too much water to serve the interests of the too few who have had too much for too long.”
We told you it was “incendiary.” It is also false. It’s easily disproven with facts and hard evidence. But that proof is not self-executing, let alone self-evident. Golf has to execute it and execute it well beyond the comforts of its own institutions, organizations, and devotees. We did that re AB 1910; however, we only succeeded because of the years of groundwork we laid with so many of the bill author’s colleagues from politically and demographically similar Districts who the author discovered had very different views of golf and the value it brings to the communities in which their constituents live, work, and play.
The antidote to future AB 1910’s? Keep laying that groundwork until our incendiary 2021 descriptor about “too much” is more laugh line than serious line. Don’t fool yourself. It is today more “serious line” than laugh line. It will take the laying of a lot more groundwork to render it a laugh line. And the best way to keep laying that groundwork is to keep adding to the facts of golf’s community value proposition by integrating municipal golf courses into the communities in which they sit by opening their doors as much as feasible to non-golfers.
Are you interested in becoming an advocate for golf in California? The CGCOA is seeking amateur golfers who are passionate about protecting the game of golf and promoting public policies that enable golf to flourish in California. Take the next step to becoming an advocate for golf by completing the attached Golf is Good Ambassador Application.Read More →
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Last Friday was the last day of the 2023 session for bills to pass their houses of origin and move to the other house for consideration.Read More →
In light of the Lower Basin states’ conservation proposal, the Biden Administration has announced that it is temporarily withdrawing the draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) published last month so that it can fully analyze the effects of the proposal under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).Read More →
We had the joy of participating in a meeting of the Duarte City Council a couple of weeks ago in which a very preliminary proposal to repurpose a daily fee 9-hole executive golf course cum driving range as an RV Park / storage facility was all but killed by a City Council that made clear that the rezoning necessary to repurpose the property would not be in the offing.Read More →
Yesterday was National Golf Day. Three hundred (300) golf course superintendents, PGA golf professionals, golf course owners, and leaders of the game’s national organizations descended on Capitol Hill to share 1) the game’s national legislative agenda with Senators and Representatives, and 2) the social, philanthropic, and environmental value golf courses provide for communities across the nation.Read More →
The “suspense” round of legislative Appropriations hearings is scheduled for next week. That is when the Assembly and Senate Appropriations Committees speed through hundreds of bills that have cleared their committees of reference to see which among them move to their respective floors and which are put on “suspense,” otherwise known as all but dead for the year.Read More →
To live in Southern California is not only to understand how it is possible to be on flood watch and drought watch at the same time, it is to understand also how it is possible to live during the greatest growth period in the game’s history in the most golf starved market in the United States while losing golf courses of all types and sizes.Read More →
Introduced as a spot or placeholder bill on the final day to file bills in this year’s session (February 17), AB 1590 was populated with substantive content subsequent thereto that among many other things would “prohibit the use of any nonorganic pesticide, as defined, or fertilizing material, as defined, at a major coastal resort.”Read More →