On April 25, golf industry leaders will take part in more than 200 congressional meetings on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., seeking to bring attention to a game that has an economic impact of almost $70 billion, a nearly $4 billion annual charitable impact and a variety of environmental and health benefits.
National Golf Day 2018 is organized by WE ARE GOLF, a coalition of the game’s leading associations and industry partners. This year marks the 11th time the event will be held, with industry leaders meeting with members of Congress, the Executive Branch and federal agencies to discuss the more than 15,000 diverse businesses involved with golf, two million jobs impacted, and topics such as tax revenue creation and tourism value.
“It creates a focal point day for us to make our industry known, if you will, at our nation’s capital,” says Steve Mona, CEO of the World Golf Foundation (the administrator of WE ARE GOLF). “This is the one day where we show up in force with fairly high-profile activities that call attention to the golf industry.
“This day now extends far beyond Capitol Hill,” Mona added. “Now, because of the media and social media type of efforts that we have been engaged in, working closely with our partner Buffalo.Agency, it probably has a larger footprint outside of D.C. than inside. That’s done through various social media campaigns designed to bring greater attention to it. We trended on Twitter the past two years and hope to again this year. That’s increasingly equally important part of the day.”
The meetings are usually relatively short, but provide a chance for those in golf – from a wide variety of sectors – to meet with members of Congress and their key staff and provide general education about the industry. At a high level, they detail the economic, charitable and environmental impact of the game along with its health benefits, and affordability and accessibility. After that, there’s typically discussion about more specific issues such as disaster relief, labor and water conservation.
“We bring up the issues that we feel are most important, that we want members to be aware of aware of where we stand,” Mona said. “Each group, no matter which meeting you’re in, is speaking to the same issues. That’s something we find important too: that we’re all championing the same issues.”
While National Golf Day is officially April 25, it has expanded into a multi-day event. On Tuesday, April 24, between 100 and 150 golf industry leaders will converge on the National Mall for a restoration and maintenance community service project in conjunction with the National Park Service. Following that event, WE ARE GOLF will release the game’s latest economic impact report – an update of the approximately $70 billion number – at an event at the National Press Club. Additionally, there will be a Congressional reception in the Capitol building itself that’s expected to draw upwards of 250 people.
Mona has attended all 10 of the previous National Golf Day events and said he’s fascinated by how it’s evolved and grown over the past decade.
“The goal initially was to raise our profile in Washington and have the opinion leaders and the direct legislative influencers understand the golf industry better,” says Mona. “I think we’ve succeeded in that regard. Could we do better? Sure, we always could. Are there more people to educate? Absolutely. But in the main, the progress has been significant during that time.”
Erik is the Editorial Director for the NGF. Before joining the National Golf Foundation, he spent more than two decades with Bloomberg News, both as a writer and editor, with a focus on sports business and the golf industry. The New Jersey resident has also written about golf for outlets that include Forbes, LINKS and the Met Golfer.