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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“CalMatters” is a nonprofit, non-partisan state news service that was created a few years ago to do the kind of in-depth journalism once routinely provided by newspapers and periodicals and now provided scantily if at all only by those media organs funded by charitable contributions or substantial enough to sustain deficits.Read More →