AGA-BC: Update From The President

It has been a pleasure to collaborate with a such a dedicated team of golf industry professionals on our AGA-BC Board toward considerable success these past two years, toward providing leadership, collaborative advocacy and a cooperative resource for the British Columbia Golf industry.

Our hope is that this report will provide insight into the importance of what we are trying to accomplish and convey the need for all associations to participate – mentally, physically and financially.

Firstly, I believe we can all agree that the entire golf industry needs to be recognized by government as a key financial contributor to the economy of British Columbia. That was the belief in the beginning and the reality of where we are today: the government of British Columbia now recognizes the Golf Industry as a key contributor to the healthy economy of the Province and has been more than willing to involve us in a partnership on a number of different key financial, environmental and marketing fronts.

These opportunities have come to fruition through the lobbying efforts of Bluestone Government Relations and a very active volunteer board. I would like to key in on the active volunteer board, as there is no way we could have accomplished what we have without a paid lobbyist and a number of very dedicated board members contributing their time and expertise to what we deem important. Without their support, the weight put on the volunteers through this process would have overwhelmed them and not allowed for the insight and the government connections a paid lobbyist could supply.

Keeping this in mind, herewith a list of the positive outcomes the AGA-BC has accomplished:

  • With the initial direction of the NGCOA and its financial assistance, we took part in the original lobbying effort to overturn the golf cart licensing issue in BC.
  • We undertook the organization of three successful lobbying efforts with the Government and its MLA’s in Victoria.
  • We undertook a seminar for the golf industry to further move the collaborative efforts of the AGA-BC forward and to develop a mandate.
  • We developed a website including a news feed, minutes, events and the direction the association is heading.
  • We developed a Golf Industry Score Card that illustrates the mandate of the AGA-BC as an industry communication tool.
  • We developed a committee to work with the MOE on the environmental issues facing golf now and in the future.
  • We collectively worked with the Ministry of Environment on new regulations that would help both Industry and Government develop sound policy on both pesticides and water usage.
  • We received government grants of $35,000.00 to be put towards the creation of an IPM handbook to assist both the government and the Golf Industry in fair and equitable regulations.
  • We are presently engaged with the Metro Vancouver Water Authority and their consultants on developing equitable water use regulations for the 67 golf courses in Greater Vancouver.
  • We are working with ICBC on the creation of Vanity license plates for the Golf Industry – which will provide a potential funding source for both sport development and marketing.
  • We have expanded to include the BCGMA within the AGA-BC, toward viewing the Golf Industry as one unified entity.
  • Efforts of the BCGMA and the AGA-BC have resulted in an increase from $50K to $250K in co-operative advertising funding through Destination BC  for marketing BC’s golf courses. This may just be the beginning.
  • We syndicated the “First Green” program developed in Washington in conjunction with the WCTA for the advancement of golf industry public awareness. This program has been adopted by the USGA and utilizes the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) teaching concept. This program has been very well supported, by both the Ministry of Environment and the Minister of Education. A very successful event was held at the Redwoods Golf Course with the Minister of Environment and a number of District school superintendents in attendance. It would appears that future events will be well accepted by the school system.

Given the breadth, depth and scope of work we do and that still needs to be done, the need to work together as a group for the betterment of the Golf Industry is both clear and imperative. No one group can do it alone. We look forward to another year of positive collaboration.

If there are any questions please feel free to call me!

Trevor Smith
President, AGA-BC
Tel: 250-320-6411

The BCGMA Grows Golf Tourism In British Columbia

The British Columbia Golf Marketing Alliance (BCGMA) is a cooperative marketing alliance whose primary mandate is to grow golf tourism in British Columbia.

BCGMA stakeholders include 74 featured golf courses, regional golf destination marketing alliances, destination marketing organizations, Destination British Columbia, British Columbia Golf, and as of September 2015 every provincial golf course 9 holes or larger (274 of them) are included in their online golf directory!

Highlights of our 2015 & 2016 Marketing Programs include:

  • 8 Featured Golf Regions
  • 74 Featured Golf Courses (37% increase from 54 in 2015)
  • 39% grown on our provincial golf tourism website in 2015, and traffic is up a further 91% for the 2016 marketing cycle.
  • Over 2.76 Million Impressions generated through a $90,000 cooperative marketing program in 2015, and a new $118,000 program being implemented right now for 2016
  • Award winning database marketing to: 14, 754
  • Central Reservations sales increases of 39% in 2015 to $403,434, and are up 33% YTD for 2016!

We are delighted with the success of the BCGMA cooperative marketing program in the last 4 years and have every reason to believe that 2016 is shaping up to be a watershed year for golf tourism in British Columbia…

  • Industry consultation is taking place for the possible introduction of a Destination Marketing Fee on golf course green fees thereby generating long term sustainable marketing resources for the British Columbia golf industry.
  • On January 29th, the BCGMA was awarded $250,000 in Co-operative advertising funding from Destination British Columbia. This includes a provincial allocation as well as leverage for 8 regional golf destination marketing organizations in the province, including some that have never received provincial leverage. This is great cause for celebration for golf tourism in British Columbia and many thanks again to the AGA-BC as our legal entity in this process.
  • On that same day, three British Columbia golf resorts were included in a national application to Destination Canada, together with two from AB, two from Ontario, one from Quebec and one from Cape Breton, for matching “Connecting America” funds and have since received notification of $250,000 in Co-operative advertising funding from Destination Canada.

Cheers to a rising tide for golf tourism in British Columbia as it will lift all golf industry boats!

Trisha Larsen
Director of Marketing
British Columbia Golf Marketing Alliance