National Golf Day — a worthy trip

By |  May 8, 2018 0 Comments

Reporting on Washington D.C. never interested me. As a student journalist I dreamed of reporting on the big game from press row, or maybe following a favorite band on tour, like the movie “Almost Famous.”

Being in the press room at the White House shouting, “Mr. President!” while waving my hands furiously? No thanks.

But my Golfdom press pass just took me somewhere I never imagined I’d go: as a journalist working in D.C., going as far as the National Press Building, the Rayburn House Office Building and even a cocktail reception at the U.S. Capitol.

And now that I’ve had a taste of working in Washington, D.C.? I’m most definitely going back.

I joined some 175 golf industry professionals for two days of politicking at the recent National Golf Day, organized by the folks at the We Are Golf coalition. While I spent most of my time holding a pen and a camera and asking questions, the majority of the group went to various meetings talking to members of the United States House of Representatives and also took the time to help beautify the National Mall.

In attendance were representatives of all the associations, and their boards. A handful of our major industry partners were there. There were also dozens of familiar superintendents from across the country — seemingly the strongest contingent of any group.

It’s hard for me to believe it was so easy to attend National Golf Day with such an impressive group. Being among the group going to Washington D.C. gave me a Wayne’s World “I’m not worthy!” feeling. But all I had to do was pass a background check (whew!) attend a one-hour webinar (cake) and book a flight and room (done and done) and I was in.

I admire the way the We Are Golf folks handled the mandatory webinar, which detailed the major agenda items attendees would be expected to speak on. They simply told all the registered attendees, “Let us know if you cannot attend the webinar, and if you can’t, we will remove you from the attendee list.” Effective.

I’m going to save most of my material — who I saw, what we did, what the major agenda items were — for the next issue of the magazine, but before I close this blog post down I’ll share what Joe Gardner, superintendent at Fresh Meadow CC, Lake Success, N.Y., told me about why he finds this trip so important to attend that he’s been back each of the last three years.

“Coming and seeing all the work being done behind the scenes that we don’t get to see everyday, it’s a special thing that I can be a part of,” he said. “And it’s something I can take home with me to the guys on Long Island, and hopefully we can mimic what we’re doing here back home.”

I’ll have more (lots more) in the next issue of Golfdom. In the meantime, thanks to all the folks who took time to speak with me, who thanked me for taking the time to be there, who made me feel like an important part of this golf family. And even more important, thanks to the folks who were there working for the betterment of this game that we all love.

When it comes to speaking out on behalf of the game, we’re all worthy.

Photos: Seth Jones

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