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Working alongside member organizations to build and bolster relationships with governmental decision makers at the federal, state, and local level remains a core mission of the Arizona Alliance for Golf (AAG). Throughout the spring, the AAG engaged in National Golf Day in Washington, D.C., and has been in close dialogue with City of Scottsdale leaders regarding municipal drought mitigation measures and the City’s Sustainability Plan, a citizen’s commission-driven roadmap to increase sustainability in five core areas, including water. The following recaps our advocacy work with a focus on protecting golf’s place in Arizona communities.

(above photo L-R: Jeff Spangler, senior vice president of science and agronomy, Troon Golf; Seth Miller, director of agronomy, Troon Country Club; City of Scottsdale Vice Mayor Solange Whitehead; Bri Kenny, manager of environmental science, Troon Golf.)

National Golf Day in Washington, D.C.

Alongside representatives from the PGA of America, Golf Course Superintendents Association of Arizona, and other industry leaders, the AAG met with members of Arizona’s congressional delegation and their staffs to discuss the golf industry’s enormous and multifaceted impacts in Arizona. In addition to federal tax, turfgrass research, and wellbeing initiatives currently being considered by Congress that impact the golf industry, the visit provided an opportunity to discuss the important place of golf in Arizona communities through those key touchpoints with our federal leaders.

Golf Course Tour with Scottsdale Vice Mayor Solange Whitehead

As one of the longest-tenured members of the Scottsdale City Council and the leading voice on the city’s sustainability efforts, Vice Mayor Solange Whitehead joined members of the Troon team for an in-depth tour and discussion of Troon Country Club. Topics focused on the Scottsdale golf industry and how effectively golf course agronomists manage water, providing an opportunity to highlight the significant investments and systems in place that have made Arizona’s golf courses international leaders in water-saving technologies. These opportunities are critical to reshaping the golf course water use narrative among non-golfers, and the AAG and Cactus and Pine look forward to hosting additional educational opportunities for decision makers at every level of government and their staff. The AAG is grateful to Vice Mayor Solange for her ongoing support of Scottsdale golf and our strong working relationship with her and her colleagues.

Meeting with Brian Biesemeyer, City of Scottsdale Water Resources Director

In April, representatives from the AAG hosted a productive dialogue with Brian Biesemeyer, the City of Scottsdale’s Water Resources Director. Biesemeyer shared his insights about the city’s short-term challenges as the municipality most impacted by Colorado River cuts given that 70% of its water portfolio is CAP water. Over the past several years, the council and staff have been exploring options to address those challenges, including using wells to recharge CAP water; launching a web portal for residential users to monitor water use; moving away from decorative grass in new homes; participating in the Bartlett Dam expansion; and exploring other water sources. Working with the city to reinforce golf’s water stewardship role will be increasingly important in the short term in light of the current challenges that exist at the municipal level.

City of Scottsdale’s Sustainability Plan

The Scottsdale Community Sustainability Plan provides a roadmap for conservation targets over the next decade for five key areas, including water. Over the past year, the AAG has worked closely with city leadership at all levels to ensure the plan does not unreasonably target golf courses. Through that work, the large cuts proposed for golf courses in earlier iterations of the plan were removed from the framework. This engagement serves as a reminder of how important it is for the industry to actively participate in policy and regulatory discussions to ensure golf’s interests are protected. The AAG will continue to advocate for golf’s interests at all levels of government and share our story and data with decision makers and beyond.

In partnership with our member organizations and other stakeholders, the AAG looks forward to continuing to advocate on behalf of Arizona agronomists and the broader Arizona golf industry.