SCGA Public Affairs


Thursday, January 19, 2023

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.

Archived Updates

Opposition to Assembly Bill 1910

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CGCOA Golf is Good Ambassador Program

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.

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FORE - Public Affairs

FORE - The magazine of the SCGA. Find archived Public Affairs articles on the website of the SCGA's award winning quarterly publication.

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It isn’t often that one bill can highlight all that separates one side of California’s great water divide from the other – from those interests fixated on conservation as the focus of future supply and those intent on pursuing a more diversified portfolio – from those who are often accused of believing that California can conserve its way out of its aridification predicament and those who are convinced that if conservation is the only tool in the state’s water resiliency toolbox, California is doomed to be hollowed out in much the same way rust belt cities like Pittsburgh and Detroit were in the last quarter of the 20th Century.

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Charles Dickens’ famous opening of “A Tale of Two Cities” comes to mind as a good descriptor of where California’s water situation and golf’s place in it stands after back-to-back record precipitation years: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...".

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Four Los Angeles City Council members introduced a motion yesterday that seeks to crack down on what the motion describes as “black-market tee time brokers” who book and resell city golf course tee times for profit.

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When introduced by Assembly Member Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) February 16, AB 3192 contained a provision that would have banned the use of all nonorganic pesticides and fertilizers on golf resorts in California’s Coastal Zone.

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A cautionary tale from semi-rural Santa Barbara County to remind you that the pressure to repurpose golf courses is not just a phenomenon in California’s densely packed urban cores.

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The National Golf Course Owners Association’s (NGCOA) Harvey Silverman may have characterized the City of Los Angeles’ uncommonly quick reaction to intense media scrutiny (five separate Los Angeles Times stories including a Sunday lead editorial) of the depredations of tee time brokering with his quip in the organization’s “Golf Business Weekly” about the city having reacted “faster than fixing potholes.”

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Every year there seems to be one bill filed in one house of the California Legislature that keeps the California golf community up at night.

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