NCA/CMAA Partnership Thrives on National Golf Day

NGD 2015 Recap

Published Thursday, April 30, 2015
by Phillip Mike
 

On April 15, the National Club Association (NCA) and the Club Managers Association of America (CMAA), as part of WE ARE GOLF (a coalition of the game’s leading associations and industry partners) met with prominent policymakers in Washington, D.C., for the eighth annual National Golf Day to share stories about golf’s diverse businesses, employees, tax revenue creation, tourism and charitable events, and environmental leadership—and to discuss issues of importance to the private club industry. These efforts continue to reinforce NCA’s mission as the voice of the club industry.

NCA Board Treasurer and Co-Chairman of the Government Relations Committee Kevin Vitale said, “It is of critical importance for NCA to have a lobbying presence on Capitol Hill on behalf of the private club industry, to express the industry’s concerns regarding the legislative and regulatory priorities which are significant to the health and well-being of private clubs.”

Top NCA and CMAA leadership converged on Capitol Hill for a series of select meetings with key Congressional representatives. NCA’s team included Board Chairman, Kirk Reese; Kevin Vitale; Government Relations Committee Member (and CMAA Board Member) Mark Bado; NCA President & CEO Susanne R. Wegrzyn; and Brad D. Steele, Vice President of Government Relations and General Counsel. The CMAA contingent included, Board Vice President, Jill Philmon, and Senior Director, Communications and Government Relations, Melissa Low. Together, the partnership made a formidable team discussing club and golf industry concerns with leaders in the House and Senate.

NCA and CMAA met with the top staffers for House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) Chief of Staff. Cornyn’s staff is working hard against the EPA’s Waters of the United States Rule (WOTUS), although it will be a tough battle. And Sen. Thune’s office was very receptive to the golf industry’s needs and concerns.

Mark Bado (left) and Kevin Vitale (right)Each of those members of Congress is in an elected leadership post. Reps. McCarthy and Scalise serve in the number 2 and 3 positions behind Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio). Sens. Cornyn and Thune serve in the number 2 and 3 slots in the Senate behind Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

Not only did the NCA/CMAA contingent meet with the leadership team in both chambers, and they also met with the chiefs of staff for Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), who serves on the Small Business Committee (and whose chief is a member of a club); Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who serves on the Appropriations Committee (and who is unabashedly supportive of golf and private clubs); and Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), who also serves on the Appropriations Committee.    

From the leadership meetings, the team heard that any changes to the health care law—such as changing the definition of full-time employee from 30 hours per week to 40 hours per week, or clarifying what clubs should do with their seasonal employees regarding when to count them and when to offer them insurance, or removing the health insurance tax that increases clubs’ insurance premiums by $250-$500 per policy—will all be looked at after the current Supreme Court case is resolved in June. Once that ruling is handed down, some “rifle shot” amendment bills could be brought forward.

In the other meetings, NCA/CMAA received promising support from Graham and Moran regarding the passage of riders in the government’s funding bills to stop the NLRB’s Ambush Election Rule and EPA’s WOTUS Rule. Since Sen. Ayotte’s husband is a small business owner, she understands how government regulations impact business, and she is firmly in our corner on all our issues.

Together, NCA and CMAA made a formidable team and completed a long, yet productive day of meetings with Washington’s top policymakers. Said Mark Bado, "It is part of the mission of both CMAA and NCA to be advocates for the private club industry and it was an honor to be included in such an important initiative such as National Golf Day."

Along with the rest of WE ARE GOLF, the voice of the golf and the private club industry was certainly heard. For more information, please visit wearegolf.org or the Twitter hashtag, #NGD15.

Uniting to Support the Industry

One of the goals of National Golf Day meetings was to show that golf is more than just a game, breaking through misconceptions of elitism and excess. Overall, the game sustains more than 2 million jobs and provides workers with a combined income of more than $55 billion. More than 28 million Americans engage in the sport, making golf a $70 billion industry with an overall impact measured at $176.8 billion.

The game has never been more inclusionary either, creating a friendlier and more open environment for newcomers. From 2012 to 2014, PGA Junior League Golf grew from 1,500 to 17,500 young golfers and the First Tee Program’s 10.5 million all-time participants are 38 percent female and 51 percent are from ethnically diverse backgrounds.

The golf industry gives back, raising more than $4 billion in charitable contributions (more than the MLB, NBA and NHL combined) at more than 12,000 facilities at more than 143,000 events nationwide.

Golf is also environmentally conscious, as 77 percent of 18-hole courses have taken steps to conserve energy. Sixty-fix percent of all courses have upgraded their irrigation systems, 92 use wetting agents to aid in water retention and efficiency and 69 percent use turf grass that requires less water than in the past.

For more information, please visit wearegolf.org or the Twitter hashtag, #NGD15.



 

Phillip Mike is NCA's Communication Manager.

 

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