Golf to get a Washington lobby


ORLANDO, Fla. – Golf is about to get a voice to lobby its causes in the nation’s capital.

That’s what “We Are Golf” is all about.

The PGA of America announced the initiative today at the opening of the PGA Merchandise Show.

A year after the game endured listening to Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank imply that running a golf tournament was a waste of corporate money, golf is formally answering back.

“[We Are Golf] is designed to change the perception of golf among members of Congress, their staff and agency personnel,” PGA of America CEO Joe Steranka said during a media roundtable. “We still have an elitist image. We are still viewed as a game that is played at private golf clubs. We are still viewed as being an expensive sport to play. Well, nine out of 10 people who play the game do not belong to a private club. The vast majority of golf is available at very affordable prices. The median greens fee for 18 holes is $44, and we took the highest price that's available.”

The Podesta Group has been hired to represent the interests of We Are Golf, a coalition made up of the PGA, Club Managers Association of America, the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America and the National Golf Course Owners Association.

Steranka said the impetus to form We Are Golf trace back to legislation a few years ago that excluded golf from eligibility for disaster relief.

“We no longer can be absent from that table,” Steranka. “The government, whether it's at the federal level or the state level, is developing and enacting legislation that impacts small business. President Obama talked about $30 billion going towards small business. Well, we think that golf is a candidate for some of that, again, because of the stability of the business operations, the diversity of the people it employs and the fact that most are played in public access facilities.”