Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Forum for implementation of Sustainable Groundwater Management Act

The California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) will hold a series of forums for stakeholders on the implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).

The forums are being held to ensure successful management of groundwater resources at the local level. Achieving success will require that local agencies have the necessary tools and resources and that public stakeholders remain engaged in long-term, sustainable groundwater management activities.

The public forums are intended for residential well owners, groundwater users and other interested members of the public. The public forums will focus on:

• The public stakeholder role in SGMA implementation;
• Local agency requirements regarding GSA formation and public involvement;
• Drought management and groundwater sustainability;
• SGMA and water rights;
• State involvement under SGMA (including technical and financial assistance and state intervention).

The forums will be held at the below locations:

Wednesday, October 21, 2015 - Los Angeles Area
Technical Session 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Public Forum 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Los Angeles Valley College
Campus Center Building, Monarch Hall
5800 Fulton Avenue
Valley Glen, CA 91401

Thursday, October 22, 2015 - Visalia
Technical Session 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Public Forum 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Assembly Room
210 W. Center Avenue
Visalia, CA 93291

Tuesday, October 27, 2015 - Sacramento and Webcast

Technical Session 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Public Forum 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Joe Serna, Jr. - CalEPA Headquarters Building
Coastal Hearing Room
1001 I Street, Second Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814
Webcast of the meeting will be available here.

Thursday, November 5, 2015 - Redding
Combined Technical Session and Public Forum 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Redding City Hall
City Council Chambers
777 Cypress Avenue
Redding, CA 96001

The California golf industry has a stake in the management of groundwater resources at the local level and we need a seat at the table with the Groundwater Sustainability Agencies that will be formed throughout the state by June 30, 2017.

These meetings will be informative in nature and offer an opportunity to ask questions concerning sustainable groundwater management plans that will be implemented for critical groundwater basins by 2020 and mid- to high-priority basins by 2022.

Southern California Golf Association director of governmental affairs Craig Kessler and I will attend the meetings in Los Angeles. I urge industry representatives to attend one of the above meetings in their area.

To RSVP for the forums, click here or for more information on groundwater, visit the SWRCB website.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Coachella Valley Golf Industry Economic Impact Study highlights the major role golf plays in the region

The Hi-Lo Desert GCSA recently released the Coachella Valley Golf Industry Economic Impact Study.  The study, that originated with a chapter outreach grant from GCSAA and a matching contribution from the Hi-Lo Desert GCSA, also received significant financial contributions from the California Alliance for Golf (CAG), California Golf Course Owners Association (CGCOA), Greater Palm Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau, Southern California Golf Association (SCGA), Southern California PGA (SCPGA) and The Golden State Chapter of the Club Managers Association of America. 

The 30-page study highlights the major role golf plays in the recreation and entertainment industry of California’s Coachella Valley while serving as a major draw of tourism to the region.  Tourism Economics, an Oxford Economics Company, conducted the research to determine the volume of golf-stays by locals and visitors at facilities within the region and their associated expenditures to build up a model of the industry’s impact on the regional economy. Surveys were distributed to golf facilities and resorts throughout the region to collect detailed financial and operating data.

Home to 123 golf facilities (13.9 percent of California’s total), the Coachella Valley golf industry has a direct economic impact of $752 million, a total economic impact of $1.1 billion and supports more than 14,000 jobs throughout the region.  Additionally, the Coachella Valley golf industry had a state and local tax impact of $82.9 million in 2014.

A special thanks goes to Dean Miller (Past President, Hi-Lo Desert GCSA) for serving as the liaison to Tourism Economics and assisting with numerous aspects of this report, Craig Kessler (Director, Governmental Affairs, SCGA), Stu Rowland (Past President, Hi-Lo Desert GCSA) and Pat Truchan (Board Member, Hi-Lo Desert GCSA) for providing comments on drafts of this report.

By monitoring the full economic impact of the Coachella Valley golf industry, our allied golf organizations can inform the media, public, and most importantly, policy makers about the relevance and importance of the golf industry to the region.   

To view the study in its entirety, visit the Hi-Lo Desert GCSA website.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Cactus & Pine GCSA holds Town Hall Meeting to educate policymakers

Event focuses on water use and management as well as the positive economic impact that the game has on the state

The Cactus & Pine GCSA held a Town Hall Meeting on Aug. 14 at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.  The meeting was organized to provide Arizona politicians, government agencies, municipalities, water districts, policymakers and leading water experts with a more thorough understanding of the golf industries use of water in the state, the economic impact of the game in Arizona and ongoing turfgrass research being conducted at the University of Arizona.   

Featured speakers included Dr. Paul Brown of the University of Arizona, Class A superintendent Rob Collins of Paradise Valley Country Club, golf course superintendent Shawn Emerson of Desert Mountain, GCSAA Southwest field representative Jeff Jensen, Dr. Dave Kopec of the University of Arizona, Class A superintendent Phil Shoemaker of Desert Highlands Golf Club and Brian Whitlark of the USGA. 

Collins spoke on maximum water and resource efficiency with a focus on the numerous projects that have been conducted at Paradise Valley; Emerson on the economic impact of the game to Arizona and the media coverage generated by the PGA TOUR’s Waste Management Open; Jensen on the water advocacy efforts of GCSAA and national economic impact of the game; Shoemaker on the private/municipal negotiations that brought recycled water to the North Scottsdale Corridor and Whitlark on proven water conservation practices for golf courses in the Southwestern United States. 

Dr. Brown and Dr. Kopec spoke on turfgrass research.  Brown focused on an overall perspective of water use on turfgrass in the state and irrigation efficiency/technology while Kopec covered research being conducted on more drought and salt tolerant turfgrass varieties, particularly Saltgrass.

The event was attended by over 70 participants including staff members from the offices of Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake and Sen. John McCain, staff members from Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-01), Congressman Matt Salmon (AZ-05) and David Schweikert’s (AZ-06) offices as well as numerous policymakers from local municipalities and water agencies/districts including the Arizona Department of Water Resources, Arizona Municipal Water Users Association, Salt River Project and Scottsdale Water. 

Pictured from left is Cactus & Pine GCSA President Rory Van Poucke, Linda Rizzio from Congressman David Schweikert's office and GCSAA Southwest field representative Jeff Jensen

“The Cactus & Pine GCSA understands the magnitude of the current drought in Arizona and the Southwest,” said Rory Van Poucke, Cactus & Pine GCSA president and general manager/Class A superintendent of Apache Sun Golf Club.  “Our members are committed to reducing water use through sound agronomic practices and strategies. The bottom-line is that the Arizona golf industry is a beneficial user of water.”     

Arizona is home to over 300 golf courses with a total economic impact of $3.4 billion.  Nearly 20,000 workers are employed by Arizona golf facilities with total wages in excess of $300 million. Additionally, the golf industry is only responsible for approximately 2 percent of the state’s overall water usage.    

“Golf is a valuable asset to Arizona economy,” said Carmella Ruggiero, executive director of the Cactus & Pine GCSA.  “We are a source of employment, provide tax revenue (nearly $80 million annually) and serve as important recreational outlet for the community and visitors to the state.  This meeting gave us a chance to showcase the importance of our industry.”

The event was the largest of numerous outreach efforts that the Cactus & Pine board of directors has conducted in the past year under the leadership of Ruggiero and Van Poucke, who will be running for the GCSAA board of directors in 2016. 

For more information on the association, visit the website at  

Desert Mountain Superintendent Shawn Emerson speaking on the economic impact of golf in Arizona.