The reality really hit hard when federal legislation for Hurricane Katrina disaster relief bundled the golf industry with massage parlors on a list of entities excluded from the funding.
“So why is this a big deal?” said Charlie Birney, left, president of the National Golf Course Owners Association (and managing director with The Brick Companies, a Sawmill client and owner of Atlantic Golf). “Let’s see here… when an industry which has over a $70 billion impact is routinely bracketed with massage parlors in legislation – there may be a problem with how golf is perceived!”
Last week during National Golf Day, Birney and 50 others representing the industry visited with members of Congress and their staffs on Capitol Hill to deliver three key messages:
- Golf brings significant economic, environmental and human impact to our communities and country;
- Golf needs to be included among the many industries benefiting from key legislative initiatives such as disaster relief and economic stimulus legislation; and
- Golf brings value and impact to charities and the travel, tourism and hospitality industries.
The facts from PGA of America are impressive: More than 2 million people in the U.S. are employed in the golf industry with a total wage income of $61 billion, 28.7 million people play golf in the U.S. alone, and golf helps to raise aproximately $3.5 billion for charitable causes every year.
The visits to Capitol Hill are important, but there’s much more the industry can do to get the word out. An integrated campaign – from advertising to traditional PR to word-of-mouth-marketing and social media – is needed. That last tactic is where many PR Buzzsaw readers can play a role. Atlantic Golf set up a Twitter account earlier this year (www.twitter.com/AtlanticGolf) and is engaged in a variety of conversations with fellow golf enthusiasts who tweet. The industry’s image could easily be among the topics discussed, so if you haven’t already, follow @AtlanticGolf and continue the dialogue.