by Jeff Sutherland at Inside Golf
AGA-BC has spoken to sitting provincial governments before but this time it was to any who were hearing about the value of golf for the first time…
May 28th marked the fourth time that the Allied Golf Association of British Columbia (AGA-BC) has hosted a Golf Awareness Day for the BC Legislature. This time, however, it was NDP’er Ravi Kahlon (MLA for Delta North and Parliamentary Secretary for Sport and Multiculturalism) who headed a group of 30+ fellow backbenchers who got an update on golf’s relevance to the people of BC and to the province’s economy as well.
During the information portion of the luncheon, AGA-BC representatives used an industry scorecard to explain the topics they wanted to highlight.
During his opening statements, AGA-BC president Trevor Smith explained how the scorecard worked, “Golfers in the room will instantly recognize the birdies on the Scorecard where we feel we are doing exceptionally well; pars, where we are performing as we should be, and bogeys – areas we have identified for improvement together with government.”
Birdies were earned in three areas:
– for economic impact where golf provides 44,000 jobs, generates more than two billion dollars in economic activity and accounts for $465 million in tax revenues
– for environmental stewardship where the industry is extremely pro-active in developing IPM (integrated pest management) best practices and setting tough environmental standards.
– in promoting golf as a sport for life where playing 18 holes equates to walking more than 10 km and playing the game can add five years to your life.
Three bogeys were awarded as well including one related to the promotion of BC as a golf destination where according to AGA Board member Trisha Larsen who represents the British Columbia Golf Marketing Alliance,”… the U.S. market remains largely untapped.”
Water was also cited as a concern with the industry wanting to ensure supply at reasonable rates giving themselves a bogey for work still in progress. The Western Canada Turfgrass Association’s executive director, Jerry Rousseau talked about the “California Model” where courses in that state were actually able to use less water than regulators were asking when given the control of when and where to apply it.
BC’s amateur organization, British Columbia Golf brought some of their SNAG equipment used in the “Playgrounds to Fairways” programs and MLAs took advantage of the chance to swing some “golf clubs”… some of them for the first time. Shown is North Delta MLA Ravi Kahlon who showed a prowess consistent with an Olympic athlete.
IMAGE CREDIT JEFF SUTHERLAND / COURTESY INSIDE GOLF
From the response of the attending MLAs, it was clear that this like much of the information presented was new. Even the fact that golf is Canada’s #1 participation sport was a surprise to some.
But it was clear that Ravi Kahlon and his fellow MLAs were hearing the message.
While this info session may have been a departure for many of the attending MLAs, it appears their perception of the industry may be changing.
In a short address, the two-time Olympian in field hockey acknowledged golf’s value to tourism and its potential for getting more women more active and involved in sports stating their position as “…looking forward to continuing the conversation around tourism as well as the water issues.”
One of the attendees, Liberal Doug Clovechok, MLA for Columbia River-Revelstoke, addressed the Legislative Assembly of BC the next day on National Golf Day, May 29th and invited the members opposite to a match!