It’s difficult to tell at this point what will come out of the Canada-wide government relations campaign being launched by the National Allied Golf Associations next month, only because this will be the first time the golf industry as a whole has approached provincial and federal governments, to the best of my recollection.
Next month’s campaign is the logical next step after NAGA unveiled its economic impact study back in August of 2009, which you can read about here. For more on the government relations campaign, click here.
Tomorrow’s blog will deal with how NAGA and its provincial allies hope to approach governments across the country, but the logical question to ask is, if it’s so important, why is it happening for the first time in 2011?
”It definitely stands out in my mind as something that’s long overdue,” said Jeff Calderwood, executive director of the National Golf Course Owners Association, one of the member groups within NAGA.
“It’s not just these lobby days. It’s the general message of having a proper government relations strategy that builds awareness with the key people at all levels of government,” he added.
“I just think it’s something that doesn’t happen when your industry is like we used to be,” he added. “As an industry matures, you have to do things like this. It’s a little bit overdue that we stand up and take our rightful place as that sort of an industry that does this kind of thing.”
Until now, golf has not been an industry that did that type of thing because it consisted mostly of independent businesses, many of the mom and pop variety, in competition with one another, so working together towards common goals seemed understandably inappropriate.
Add to that the fact that so many issues within golf are of a regional nature, so why would somebody in Prince Edward Island be overly concerned with something going on in British Columbia?
The industry was fractured in more ways that that. Owners, professionals, superintendents and other professions and associations within golf worked independently of one another, often getting territorial if any other group threatened to invade its space.
“If you could start it all over and build it from scratch, based on today’s dynamics, it wouldn’t come out looking the same, but we’ve all inherited the way it has been and change is a little bit slow,” said Calderwood.
The temptation may be to suggest, as many have in the past, that golf bring all of its various components under one roof in an organization such as NAGA, but Calderwood suggests the logistics would be difficult. There are advantages to the NGCOA tackling owners issues or Golf Canada trying to grow the game.
“There are a lot of elements and then, you break it down by region, where you need to focus provincially on things, there’s a lot to be said for getting out of bed in the morning and focusing on something rather than being a generalist,” said Calderwood.
Tomorrow, we’ll take a look at how the industry will approach governments.