SCGA Public Affairs


Monday, April 19, 2021

AB 672 is the most damaging piece of legislation re golf to be filed in a generation.

It proposes to facilitate the development of California’s municipal golf courses (22% of the total courses in the state) as “affordable” housing tracts by:

  • Removing them from the protections of the Public Park Preservation Act.
  • Providing an exemption to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
  • Mandating a one-size-fits-all zoning element.
  • Singling golf as the ONLY open space/recreational activity for which these exemptions and facilitations apply, literally targeting them for development to the exclusion of all other open space/recreational activities.
  • The bill may take direct aim at California’s publicly owned golf courses (22% of the total), but its passage would put golf’s blood in the water in such a way as to jeopardize the position of golf’s private sector clubs as well. Just as the Public Park Preservation Act is the public game’s backstop against residential/commercial development, ARTICLE XIII, Section 10 of California’s Constitution establishing “open space” as the property tax basis for private golf clubs is the private sector’s backstop against residential/commercial development.

    As befits a piece of legislation we’ve just termed “the most damaging piece of legislation re golf to be filed in a generation,” the California Alliance for Golf (CAG) has filed a vigorous letter of opposition with the Assembly Committees to which the bill has been referred, and the SCGA has placed an “alert” on its Government Affairs hub that explains the bill’s particulars in detail and provides a tool that allows readers to access their Assembly Member’s E-mail addresses with one simple click along with “sample” messages.

    Click here to visit the “alert” page where you can find the CAG opposition letter referenced above as well as a tool that allows you to contact your Assembly Member quickly and seamlessly.

    SCGA plans to send this out universally early next week in an effort to inform a much wider audience than this one of the dangers posed by AB 672 and the ways in which individual golfers can make their opinion of AB 672 known to their elected state representatives. This is not something SCGA ordinarily does or plans to do with any semblance of regularity. But, again, the California Alliance for Golf has identified AB 672 as the “most damaging piece of legislation in a generation,” and we agree.

    # # # # # # #

    If you’ve been consumed with all things COVID and failed to notice that California is now roughly in the same position in spring 2021 as it was in 2014 with respect to drought conditions, you’re hardly alone. But failure to notice doesn’t change the fact that were it not for his fears about spreading bad news on the cusp of a recall election, Governor Newsom probably would have already done what Jerry Brown did in 2014 and declared the state to be in drought.

    A few quick facts to ponder:

  • The Sierra snowpack is less than 50% of normal for the 2nd year in a row.
  • The California Department of Water Resources has cut the state’s deliveries of water from the State Water Project to 5%.
  • The state’s major population areas (Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and Sacramento) all received less than 40% of their normal rainfall this year.
  • Marin and other Northern California counties have already begun to cut golf course allocations in response to even worse rainfall numbers.
  • The state’s reservoirs are holding roughly 55% of their normal capacity.
  • Major reservoirs in the Colorado Basin are holding much less than that.
  • Those parts of the state that depend upon Mother Nature for most of their water are already beginning to curtail supplies. Those parts that are more dependent upon storage, i.e., virtually all of Southern California, are likely to muddle through one more year in hopes of a more robust 2021-2022 rain/snow year.

    # # # # # # #

    Whether drought or assaults on the game’s claim to the land necessary to provide its pleasures, the issues that plagued us pre-COVID didn’t go away because we successfully navigated COVID and emerged stronger than we were going in. But it did put us in better position to tackle those issues. And tackle them we need to get about doing.

    Oh, and yes; other than in Los Angeles County, where their use is still proscribed in that county’s perpetually out of date “Golf Appendix,” we believe that any reasonable reading of the state rules about the use of the “instruments necessary to the conduct of a competition” permits the use of bunker rakes, flagsticks, and regular golf holes so long as all applicable rules re social distancing and common touch point precaution are followed.

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