CAG September Newsletter

 

Please find the California Alliance for Golf’s September 2017 newsletter here!

In court battle over groundwater rights, tribe’s leader demands water treatment

By: Ian James, The Desert Sun

The U.S. Supreme Court has yet to decide whether it will hear an appeal from water agencies and rule in the precedent-setting legal fight over whether the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians holds rights to groundwater in the California desert.

But Chairman Jeff Grubbe said his tribe is already looking ahead to the next phases of the case, including a federal court’s eventual decision – if the tribe prevails before the Supreme Court – on how much groundwater the tribe is entitled to.

Grubbe said in an interview with The Desert Sun that if the Agua Caliente tribe wins, one of the first priorities would be to start treating the Colorado River water that flows to the Coachella Valley and is used to replenish the aquifer. He said the tribe’s leaders are concerned about the quality of the water and the aquifer’s long-term sustainability, and would be willing to help pay for building treatment facilities to remove salts and contaminants from the imported water.

“As soon as this is all said and done, that’ll be one of the first things that the tribe’s going to work on is cleaning that water before it gets dumped in our aquifer. And that’s an expense the tribe’s willing to front for the betterment of not only my tribe but the Coachella Valley as a whole,” Grubbe said, sitting at a table next to Andreas Creek at the Indian Canyons.

He said the concern is that water from the Colorado River Aqueduct – which flows into groundwater replenishment ponds in the desert next to Palm Springs – is of lesser quality than the groundwater, with higher levels of dissolved solids as well as contaminants from farm runoff and cities upstream.

“There’s a lot of solids and pollutants in it,” Grubbe said. While the effect on water quality may not be “alarming” quite yet, he said, “if nothing is done now, in the future it could be.”

The full article can be found here.

Trump rolled back this environmental rule. California may replace it with a stronger one

By: Ryan Sabalow and Dale Kasler

President Donald Trump’s administration gave California land developers and farmers a reason to cheer when the White House last month rolled back controversial regulations for wetlands imposed during the Obama presidency.

They may want to hold off on the celebration.

A powerful California water agency is poised to adopt its own regulations that could protect more of the state’s wetlands from being plowed, paved over or otherwise damaged. Environmental groups are pressuring the State Water Resources Control Board to push back against Trump’s decision and adopt a wetlands policy that’s even stricter than former President Barack Obama’s.

“The state board should be adopting a policy that is even more protective of California’s wetlands,” said Rachel Zwillinger, water policy adviser for Defenders of Wildlife. “This (proposed) policy is a critical opportunity for the state to step up and protect its own resources.”

A fight over the proposed rules has been brewing for years and is about to come to a head. A year ago, a broad coalition of developers, homebuilders, farmers and other business groups submitted testimony against the regulations, saying they would create more red tape, higher costs and fewer rights for landowners. These organizations, including the California Building Industry Association and the state Farm Bureau, declined comment for this story because they’re reviewing a recently updated version of the water agency’s proposal.

Other property-rights advocates who’ve been studying the issue say the proposed wetlands rules could harm the state’s economy. “The impact may be particularly substantial for the agricultural industry and large-scale infrastructure projects in California that will almost certainly be subjected to additional permitting hoops and exposed to additional third-party litigation,” said Tom Boer, a San Francisco lawyer who represents businesses in environmental cases.
Read the full article here.

CAG August Newsletter

Please find California Alliance for Golf’s August 2017 newsletter here!

CAG April Newsletter

Please find California Alliance for Golf’s April 2017 newsletter here!

Join the Women’s Golf Day Movement!

June 6, 2017 – A Unique Four Hour Experience
Same Day Everywhere Around the World
Engage | Empower | Support

In 2016, The Women’s Golf Day Team was amazed by the incredible response the movement generated around the world in our their first year and they want to thank participants for showing interest in taking part in the. What began as a simple idea with has turned into a global movement that is growing every day – Women’s Golf Day, June 6th, has grown to over 600 locations in 30 countries and will be going continuously for 24 hours around the globe!

Women’s Golf Day is a four-hour event where women and girls can experience golf for the first time, and where current and former golfers can play and engage with others interested in golf. The event is about inclusiveness on Tuesday June 6, 2017 for 4 hours.

Click here to watch Executive Golf International President Elisa Gaudet explain the inception of Women’s Golf Day on June 6th and what it does to grow the game on the Golf Channel.

CAG supported this initiative in 2016 and more than 20,000 women around the globe picked up a golf club for the first time while others returned to the course after hiatus.

Good News for Sharp Park Golf Course

Thanks to the ongoing support of CAG and the world golf community, and to the grit of San Francisco public golfers,  Sharp Park has once again emerged from the breach of San Francisco politics. 

The SF Supervisors on Tuesday, Feb. 28 approved the Final Environmental Impact Report for the SF Rec & Park Department’s Sharp Park Restoration Plan, to maintain the 18-hole Sharp Park Golf Course, with minor modification along the edge of the course’s wetlands to improve habitat for protected frog and snake species. 

The Supervisors’ approval came on a 9-1 vote after environmentalist groups – including the Sierra Club’s San Francisco Bay Chapter, Surfrider Foundation, a couple of local Audubon Society chapters, and a Center for Biological Diversity offshoot, Wild Equity Institute, dramatically withdrew their Appeal from December, 2015 decisions by the San Francisco Planning and Rec & Park Commissions to Certify and Adopt a Final Environmental Impact Report for San Francisco’s Natural Areas Plan, which includes a Sharp Park Restoration Plan. 

 In consideration for the dismissed  Appeal, the Rec & Park Department agreed that the Sharp Park Plan would not include using dredging spoils – or any other materials – to raise the levels of Sharp Park’ fairways.   The Sharp Park Plan was supported by the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance. 

Golfers delivered nearly 1000 mostly hand-signed letters to the Supervisors in the weeks leading up to the hearing.  Fifty golfers – of all ages, genders, colors, persuasions and incomes – were on hand Feb. 28, ready to speak against the Appeal.  Most of them happily went home, without testifying, when the withdrawal-of-Appeal was announced.   The groups that withdrew their Appeal will not now be able to challenge the Final EIR or the Sharp Park Project in court.  (Although, in the complex world of SF politics, another group that challenged the Natural Areas Plan – the SF Forestry Alliance – will if they choose be able to challenge the Supervisors’ action in court within 30-35 days of the publishing of a Notice of Decision.  Publication of such a Notice will be delayed, pending approval by the Rec & Park Commission of a written agreement confirming the settlement terms for the withdrawal of Appeal.  The Commission’s action is not expected before mid-March, so the deadline for possible appeal by the Forest Alliance will be extended a few weeks.)   

There will be more rounds of golf, politics, and environment at Sharp Park.  But for now, the next thing on the agenda for the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance is our annual Alister MacKenzie Tournament to Save Sharp Park, an all-day event set for Saturday, June 3 at the beautiful Sharp Park Golf Course. Please consider attending and/or making a donation that helps support Sharp Park and the future of affordable public golf. For more information contact Richard Harris, Bo Links, Co-Founders of the Public Golf Alliance, at (415) 290-5718.  

CAG’s Board Member Emmy Moore-Minister Elected President of Women in the Golf Industry

Orlando, FL—Women in the Golf Industry (WIGI) is pleased to announce Emmy Moore Minister (Moore Minister Media & Consulting Group) will serve as president of its national organization. She has served on WIGI’s board of directors and chaired its communications committee.

“Emmy Moore Minister is well-respected thrIMG_6495.2 EMM CVoughout the golf industry and brings to our organization her savvy business sense along with a natural ability to create alliances between various groups and constituencies” said WIGI’s Outgoing President Christina Ricci, Founder of Golf Survival Guides. “Emmy has a clear understanding of the nuances and challenges found within our industry and has a keen ability to connect, unify, and empower the various stakeholders within golf… and always for the betterment of the game and those it serves. Our association will be in good hands with Emmy as president.”

President Moore Minister’s contribution to golf, business and community, span more than two decades. In addition to work as a Silicon Valley-based communications consulting, she is the founder of Doctor’s Orders: Play Golf and co-founder/board member of the California Alliance for Golf (CAG). She is an honorary member of the American FootGolf League (AFGL) and a team ambassador for Women’s Golf Day (WGD), a global growth of the game initiative. She is an advisory board member for the California Golf Course Owners Association (CGCOA) and holds the rare distinction as an honorary member of the Northern California Section of the Professional Golfer’s Association (NCPGA). She is a proud alum of West Valley Community College (Saratoga, CA) and San Jose State University (San Jose, CA).

Moore Minister is a former chair of the City of Santa Clara’s Planning Commission and former chair of the Santa Clara County Assessment/Tax Appeals Board. She was instrumental in the development of golf course guidelines for Santa Clara County and assisted with several California Golf Economic studies.

In leading the WIGI organization, Moore Minister follows outgoing president Christina Ricci, LPGA (Golf Survival Guides) who will assume the position of vice president. Debbie Waitkus (Golf for Cause) will retain the position of treasurer, and LeAnn Finger, LPGA/PGA, (EWGA) will serve as secretary. Also retaining positions on the WIGI board of directors: Kathy Bissell (Coldwell Banker Commercial Benchmark), Jan Bel Jan, ASGCA (Jan Bel Jan Golf Design), Christina Thompson (Golf4Her), Kay McMahon, LPGA/PGA, (eduKaytion Golf), and Susan Fornoff (Blue Coast Media Group-GottaGoGolf.com). Completing her term on the board is Barbara McAuliffe (DENEHY-Club Thinking Partners).

To learn more about Women in the Golf Industry visit: http://www.womeninthegolfindustry.com/.

Drought covers just 17% of California, down from 73% three months ago

By: Doyle Rice

Relentless rain and snow in California continues to eat away at the state’s five-year drought, federal experts said Thursday.

Only 17% of the state remains in a drought — primarily in Southern California — the lowest percentage since 2011, according to this week’s U.S. Drought Monitor. For the first time since 2013, none of the state is listed in “extreme” drought.

The new numbers represent a drastic decrease. Three months ago, drought covered 73% of California. One year ago, that number was 95%.

The drought endures in southern parts of the state, primarily in Ventura, Imperial and Santa Barbara counties, despite a deluge of precipitation from a storm last week.

“Even though the reservoirs were responding quite favorably, they still have a long way to go before we can classify this area as drought-free,” said meteorologist Richard Heim, the author of this week’s monitor.

In northern California, the drought’s demise came at a cost, with widespread flooding and mudslides after multiple storms pounded the area. A large swath of the northern and central Sierra has recorded twice as much precipitation as usual this winter. Heavy precipitation that lasted for days continued to improve vital mountain snowpack, but also caused disastrous flooding, Heim said.

The stormy onslaught may be coming to an end, at least for now. Rain and snow forecast for Sunday and Monday could be the last significant storm through the middle of March, said AccuWeather meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

Meanwhile, parts of the Deep South and New England are experiencing extreme drought conditions, according to the Drought Monitor.

The amount of water flowing through streams is at near-record to record-low levels from northeast Alabama to the western Carolinas, the monitor reported. In New England, all of Connecticut and Rhode Island and almost the entire state of Massachusetts are in a drought.

Read the full article here.

Golf industry shouldn’t be so hard on itself, Levy says

By: Larry Bohannan, The Desert Sun

“There are a lot of really great things happening out there and I think sometimes, people like talking about what’s bad as opposed to what’s good,” said Levy, the new PGA of America president, during a keynote speech at the Coachella Valley Golf Industry Summit on Monday at PGA West.

Levy, who is also general manager at Toscana Country Club in Indian Wells, was just one of the highlights of the second annual summit. The summit was organized by Desert Classic Charities, the non-profit behind the CareerBuilder Challenge.

The summit, hosted by the tournament’s director of sales Bob Marra, brought together golf officials, golf course owners, managers and superintendents and manufacturers of golf-related products. The idea is to provide a forum for an exchange of ideas for an industry that has struggled in the last 10 years.

Those struggles have included golf course closures and a drop in participation in the sport in the last decade. But Levy, who has helped develop several courses for Sunrise Company, said the negative talk only hurts the golf world.

”One of the key things we have to do, and I am going to talk to you a little bit about collaboration, is that we as an industry, especially the leaders, we have to talk positively about the game of golf,” said Levy, who began his two-year stint as PGA president in November.

Levy noted that in many areas, the news for golf is not as bad as it has been portrayed. He admits that golf was overdeveloped in the 1990s and into the 2000s, and that golf course closures were a natural correction to that overdevelopment.

Levy added that not all of the golf course closures were because of a decline in golf. Many closed courses were either nine-hole courses or courses with green fees under $40, he pointed out.

“There is a pretty good percentage of them, and I haven’t been able to find the statistics, where of those courses, the land was too valuable,” Levy said. “Even if the course is doing okay, making a little money or breaking even for the owner, the course was there 30 years ago and it was out where, as we say in Louisiana out on the boondocks. Today it’s on the beltway, or it’s in a geographic location where they couldn’t help but sell the land.”

Levy also highlights gains for growing the game, as did members of a panel that included representatives from the Southern California PGA, the Southern California Golf Association and the First Tee of the Coachella Valley.

Nikki Gatch, who played high school golf at Palm Desert High School before attending Oklahoma State, is player development regional manager at PGA of America for Southern California and a member of the board of directors for Southern California Golf Association. She said the golf industry should be focusing on junior golf to help produce a new generation of players.

“It is our responsibility to provide additional programming for them,” Gatch said. “We are starting to see so much more of that. We are seeing a lot more interaction with juniors. It is the center of golf where we have seen the most growth.”

Gatch said that after being stagnant at about 2.5 million junior golfers in programs like the PGA Junior League or First Tee programs, in 2015 that number grew to more than 3 million.

“That’s tremendous. That’s a great growth in that area,” Gatch said. “And with juniors comes more introductions to the parent, mom and dad.”

Other programs, like the SCGA Junior Golf Foundation program providing discounted rates and access to courses, and the First Tee instructional and educational program, were also discussed.

The summit also featured a panel on how golf courses can work to improve themselves in difficult times. A third panel, moderated by Craig Kessler, director of governmental affairs for the Southern California Golf Association, talked about ongoing water issues in California even as the five-year drought in the state appears to be easing. Word in the last week from federal officials is that with heavy rain and snow in Northern California in the last few weeks, 42 percent of the state is no longer in a drought. The snowpack in the Sierra Nevada Mountains is at about 150 percent of historical averages.

Read the article here.

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