AGA-BC Report January 2016

13.02.10-AGA-BC1By Trevor Smith

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.  That was the core belief in the beginning and the reality of where we are today. 

The government now recognizes the golf industry as a key contributor to the healthy economy of the province and with that, has been more than willing to involve us in partnerships on a number of significant 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 focus on this synergy for a moment.  We have been successful because of a number of very dedicated Directors contributing their time and expertise to what has been deemed important and because of the advocacy work done by our government relations expert.  Without help, this process would have overwhelmed the volunteers and not allowed the insight and government connections our paid lobbyist has been able to provide. 

I will keep this short and focus on the positive outcomes over the past four years:

• The initial direction and resources of the NGCOA successfully lobbied the provincial government, overturning the golf car licensing issue in BC and laying the groundwork for further advocacy efforts by AGA-BC on behalf of the entire golf industry.
• AGA-BC undertook the organization of 3 successful ‘Golf Awareness Days’, extolling the benefits of golf to MLA’s in Victoria.
• AGA-BC produced two Industry Symposiums aimed at moving the collaborative efforts of the association forward and to develop a mandate.
• A website was developed, detailing the minutes, events and the direction the association is heading.
• What turned out to be a highly effective lobby tool, a Golf Industry Scorecard was created illustrating the mandate of AGA-BC and ranking industry accomplishments based on scores of birdies, pars and bogeys. 
• The Environmental Advocacy Committee was created to work with the Ministry of Environment on issues facing golf now and in the future.  To date, the EAC has collaborated extensively with MOE on new regulations that help industry and government develop sound policy on both pesticides and water usage.
• $15,000.00 in funding was received for the creation of an IPM handbook, meant to provide the industry an up-to-date resource based on recent changes to the IPM Act and regulation.
• In conjunction with the BC Golf Association, a proposal has been made to ICBC for the creation of vanity license plates for golf, available for public purchase and providing a potential funding source for the association.
• The AGA-BC Board voted to include the BC Golf Marketing Alliance under the umbrella of AGA-BC and to work toward government viewing the golf industry as a single entity.
• Efforts by the BCGMA and AGA-BC have furthered a relationship with Destination BC, allowing us to pursue partnered funding for tourism marketing BC’s golf courses from our current $50K to $250k.  This may just be the beginning.
• The “First Green” program, developed in Washington, was syndicated in conjunction with the WCTA for the advancement of children’s golf awareness. This program has been adopted by the USGA and utilizes the STEM teaching concept of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.  First Green has been very well received by both the Minister of Environment and Minister of Education.  A very successful event was held at the Redwoods Golf Course with the Environment Minister Mary Polak in attendance along with a number of School District superintendents and trustees.  It would appear that future events will be well accepted by the school system.

Much more is on the horizon.  The need to work together as a group for the betterment of the golf industry is imperative as no one group can do it alone.  Remember, a rising tide lifts all boats.

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


Trevor Smith President, AGA-BC