For the first time since 2019, National Golf Day will be back in person in Washington, D.C., this week, May 8-10. The event, hosted by the American Golf Industry Coalition — a group of golf’s leading associations and industry partners that includes GCSAA — celebrates the game’s $84.1 billion economic and nearly $4 billion charitable impact, as well as its many environmental and fitness benefits by combining service projects and advocacy work.
During National Golf Day, industry members participate in service and beautification projects in and around the nation’s capital. That portion of the event takes place May 9, with six projects planned near the Washington Monument. May 10 brings representatives from GCSAA and other golf allied organizations to Capitol Hill to meet with members of Congress on issues related to the health and future of the industry.
Past service projects for National Golf Day have included beautification and preservation on the National Mall, and turf work around the Lincoln Memorial. This year, planned service projects include laying mulch around the iconic cherry trees, replanting beds and resodding the German American Friendship Garden, mowing and seeding a large turf panel near the Washington Monument, and sprucing up landscape beds and trees near the Sylvan Theater.
“The golf industry is thrilled to support the National Park Service’s efforts to maintain this critical greenspace in our nation’s capital,” says Chava McKeel, director of government relations for GCSAA. “The National Mall is America’s front yard, and the most important public space in America. The service project component of National Golf Day gives the golf industry an opportunity to say thank you to all those who have served and preserved our country.”
As for the advocacy portion on May 10, McKeel says there are several important issues that members and industry leaders will bring to the halls of Congress for consideration, including funding for turfgrass research, meeting labor needs and tax code revisions.
“We are asking for federal dollars for turfgrass research to develop more environmentally friendly grass types. We are also hoping to expand access to the H-2B visa program to meet the labor demands of our seasonal industry,” McKeel says. “In addition, we’re supporting the PHIT Act, which would allow flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and health savings accounts (HSAs) to pay for youth sports fees, sports and exercise equipment, health club memberships, fitness classes, and outdoor recreation. Finally, we hope to modernize the U.S. tax code to eliminate old, restrictive IRS language that prohibits the industry from accessing financial investment to undertake projects in economically challenged communities.”
Last year, over 200 industry professionals took part in the virtual National Golf Day. This year, 270 industry members and leaders are expected to join in National Golf Day Events, with 220 of those participants aiding in the service project, and 222 helping golf’s voice be heard on the hill. 150 of the expected attendees are GCSAA members.
Rhett Evans, GCSAA CEO, says it’s encouraging to see GCSAA members and allied organizations working together for the future of the industry. “Our members have a long track record of stepping up and doing what’s necessary to make the conditions on their golf course the best they can be,” Evans says. “It’s gratifying to see them do the same when it comes to advocating for the profession and participating in National Golf Day.”