There are definitely perks that come along with my job as the editor in chief of GCM. One of those has been the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C., one of my favorite cities, on numerous occasions to report on everything from U.S. Opens to the annual National Golf Day activities, which have brought me back to our nation's capital again this week.
Although journalism and communications makes up the bulk of my educational and professional background, I do have a college minor in history tucked away in my back pocket, so these trips to Washington have always been a treat for me. I get a kick out of wandering the Smithsonian museums, visiting the monuments and memorials or taking a quiet trip to Arlington to visit my grandfather's grave site (he was a Navy man during World War II and Korea).
But rarely have those tourist activities brought me inside the loop, so to speak, the way that my participation in National Golf Day has. And I have to admit, it's given me greater perspective not only on the way our government goes about its business and the underlying buzz and energy that powers that business but also on the lengths to which the game and business of golf are going to improve its standing among our nation's lawmakers.
For those not familiar with National Golf Day, it's a coordinated effort from all corners of the game of golf, through the We Are Golf coalition, to come to Washington D.C. and educate lawmakers on the game and the sizable economic and social impact that it has in this country. GCSAA has long played a major role in these efforts, and this year brings four "storytellers" to Washington to speak to lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, including an address to the House Sustainability Caucus. You can read much more about the association's role right here, and we'll profile those storytellers — Kevin Breen, CGCS; Dan Dinelli, CGCS; golf course architect Michael Hurdzan, Ph.D. and superintendent Peter McDonough — throughout the day tomorrow on the GCM blog.
What kind of impact are these efforts having? On one hand, they're clearly increasing the game's visibility in Washington and opening more doors to the game's leaders than were previously open. For example, GCSAA's government relations committee is in town today and tomorrow for their annual meeting, and tomorrow those members will spread out all over Capitol Hill for meetings with congressional leaders and staffers, many of which didn't have time for such meetings just a few short years ago.
And on a broader legislative scale, golf is getting considerations as a legitimate business and economic force that simply didn't exist before these efforts began. Golf is a $76 billion industry in the United States, larger than the motion picture and video industry, and National Golf Day has made strides in helping lawmakers recognize the true size, scope and impact of the game of golf.
You'll be able to follow reports from Washington D.C. tomorrow as activities get into full swing via the magazine's Twitter account (@GCM_Magazine), GCSAA's Twitter account (@GCSAA) and through GCSAA's Facebook page. You can also participate yourself by sharing your stories of what the game of golf means to you by utilizing the hastag #iamgolf on Twitter, or by simply visiting http://twitter.wearegolf.org and using the built-in tools there to share your message.