Response to article in USA today ripping golf

Dear Editor,

A recent spate of satirical articles including one by Robert Lipsyte (USA Today, April 6) has created an unwelcome distraction for many of the 28,000 PGA Professionals, 20,000 GCSAA Superintendents and 7,000 CMAA Managers at a time we can least afford it. Contrary to the ramblings of Mr. Lipsyte, golf is a vital part of America’s fabric as a sport and, most importantly in these times, as a source of stable employment.

Together our 55,000 members are on the front line of a work force of one million Americans who work at the nation’s 16,000 golf courses, 1,300 golf ranges and hundreds of related golf businesses. Your local golf course is the embodiment of the small business sector which President Obama rightly recognizes as the backbone of American enterprise — employing a multi cultural mix of professional and service personnel who rely on the sport and business of golf to provide food and shelter to their families. In 2005 it was estimated that golf also enabled another one million jobs for the tourism and real estate industries, and all told generates some $61 billion in annual wages.

Our “offices” are also good for the communities they serve. Golf facilities are professionally managed by individuals who have achieved various levels of certification, they serve as managed open green space which provides wildlife habitat, and they help to generate $3.5 billion charity dollars each year.

Finally, we’re equally proud of the values of our sport which sees our greatest athletes compete without referees and call penalties on themselves. Athletes such as Masters’ runner up Kenny Perry, whose courtesy and dignity under trying circumstances, make them role models for the three million kids in America who play golf. Still, our members have been drawn into a dialogue questioning golf’s virtues as a result of articles such as the one USA Today prominently placed in its editorial pages, distracting us from our core duties of serving the 28 million plus people who play golf for fun, health and recreation.

On behalf of all of us who work in golf, let us get back to our real work.

Sincerely,

Jim Remy, PGA
President, PGA of America

Mark Kuhns, CGCS
President, Golf Course Supertintendents Assoc of America

Michael Leemhuis, CCM, PGA
President, Club Managers Assoc of America

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