US golf leaders take plight to government

The big guns of American golf are on a propaganda offensive, taking careful aim at the big guns of government.

At a time when the golfing industry in the US is being criticised for extravagance, and coinciding with National Golf Day, the top men from the US PGA Tour, PGA of America and World Golf Foundation (WGF) were telling lawmakers what the real deal is.

PGA Tour’s Ty Votaw, Joe Steranka, of CEO of PGA of America and WGF’s Steve Mona trekked to Washington to meet with the big hitters on Capitol Hill, trying to convince them that golf is beneficial to the country as an economic healer.

This comes at a time when several companies such as Northern Trust and Chrysler are receiving bailout money from the US government yet continuing their multi-million dollar sponsorship of professional tournaments.

According to a USA Today article, Steranka pointed out that golf is a $76 billion industry in America, employing more than 2 million people and paying as much as $61 billion in salaries. Steranka, whose body is the union for club pros, was quoted as saying:

“The biggest message we’re trying to give is golf’s impact on jobs. There are 16,000 golf courses in America, and 90 per cent of them are small businesses that employ 40 to 50 people.”

One of the main concerns for the industry is the government’s plans for legislation that may affect taxes, particularly those relating to charity spending. PGA Tour events are non-profit organisations and in 2008 donated $124 million for charitable funds.

It is the objective of the golf leaders to make sure lawmakers are aware of the sport’s benefit to charities as well as the fact that, contrary to perception, not everyone in golf is riding out the economic crisis smoothly.

Manufacturers of equipment are suffering as well as golf resorts, which are experiencing a drop in business because people are travelling less. Said Votaw:

“The vast majority in Congress do understand the Tour’s issues but some may not be aware of how certain legislation can affect us.”

2 Responses to “US golf leaders take plight to government”

  1. Ron Fairlie says:

    Hi Andy,
    Peter Williams has said it all !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. peter williams says:

    Although now accessible to millions at reasonable cost, golf is still perceived as an upper-class hobby, and therefore one to be penalised!
    The truth is that golf is comprised of many very small businesses which suffer along with the rest of us in recession.

    To use golf to direct attention from elsewhere (the expenses of our governmental administrators, for instance) is reprehensible. To bring about the demise of many golf courses worldwide simply to show those uninterested in social sport that their interests are more important, will definitely result in only the rich being able to participate in what is the only sport at which no-one ever really wins!

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