The MiGCSA is dedicated to providing value to our members through programs and services that enhance and promote our profession.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Legislative Golf Day

The Proclamation of
Golf Month in Michigan
Yesterday was the Legislative Golf Day in Lansing on the lawn of the Capitol building. This is the second year this event was held in June and on the lawn. It was a beautiful cool morning that started with an address from Senator John Proos, who represents the 21st district of Berrien. He spoke about the impact of golf state wide and especially in his County with the Senior PGA Championship at Harbor Shores Golf Club in Benton Harbor. The Senator also presented the proclamation to the Michigan Golf Alliance that June is golf month in Michigan. Greg Lyman from the GCSAA and EIFG also spoke about some of the issues that are or may affect golf in Michigan. One of the most urgent issues is H.R. 872, the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2011.

Greg Lyman drove his modified bus to
transport us around the Capitol
After the presentations MiGCSA President Jay Eccleton, Steve Randall, and Greg Lyman and I headed off to visit Senator Debbie Stabenow’s office on Lake Lansing road in the Greg Lyman EIFG short bus. It was quite the scene when the bus pulled up to the Senators office and we poured out in our suits and ties. We were able to get a meeting with Kali Fox the Regional Manager for the Lansing office. Senator Stabenow is the chair of the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry and will be very involved with the H.R. 872 farm bill. We made our support clear to help reduce the amount of regulations needed to apply pesticides on golf courses. Kali noted our support and will pass the information on the Senator.
The putting green in front of the
Capitol Building
Then we got back on the bus to head back to the Capitol lawn for lunch on the turn. Over 400 legislator’s and their staff came to lunch that was served by Eagle Eye Golf Course. Spartan Distributors one of the event sponsors brought a 4700-D Rough mower and an EZ-Go Beverage cart to serve drinks at lunch. The PGA had blow up hitting nets to give legislators a quick lesson, and a roll out putting green on the sidewalk.

After lunch Greg Lyman had set up meetings at the DEQ and Agriculture Department. So we met up with Jeff Spencer, Stewardship Specialist with the DEQ at lunch and got back on the bus to head over to Constitution Hall where the DEQ and MDARD are housed. Greg, Jay, Jeff and I met with Bryce Feigner, Chief of the Office of Environmental Assistance and Assistant Chief Richard Alexander. This meeting was meant to introduce the MiGCSA and our new structure to the DEQ and to discuss the Michigan Turfgrass Environmental Stewardship Program. This was a very fruitful meeting and the DEQ is excited about our new direction and the streamlined system to be able to work with Golf Course Superintendents in Michigan. We decided to set up a meeting at a future date to discuss all of the ways the MiGCSA can work with the DEQ, MDRAD and possibly the DNR to promote the environmental stewardship of Golf Courses and the Superintendents that care for them.

Jeff Spencer and Greg Lyman
We then headed upstairs to visit the Michigan Department of Agriculture and drop off information for Keith Creagh the Director of the MDRAD. Most of the staff were at a retreat so we were not able to meet in person with the Director. But we have tentative plans to meet at a future date possibly at The Emerald in St. Johns to play golf and introduce the MiGCSA to this very important department.

It was a great day to bring awareness of golf and the MiGCSA to the decision makers in Lansing. This is a great event and will continue to grow, hopefully we can get more MiGCSA members to attend and visit legislators in the upcoming years. As Greg Lyman told the attendees it is hard to measure the effect of these events, as it is hard to measure the lack of regulations in the golf industry.