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President's Note
Dear CAG Members and Supporters,
In a world that was already growing more complex, the emergence of a global health crisis has elevated the challenges we face to heights heretofore unknown. We recognize that lives have been altered in so many ways and we hope all are remaining well and that your lives can return to some sense of normalcy soon.  
As golfers, we are finally able to get back to playing the game we love and the myriad of benefits it brings, enriching us both socially and physically. With opportunities beginning to arise for a return to playing, we recognize that early on, golf will not mirror exactly all aspects we enjoyed just a few months ago.
We are fortunate, however, for the recognition of the health properties golf affords which has allowed the game to be in the very early stages of activities opening up to society. We, as responsible golfers, must be vigilant in adhering to the defined guidelines put in place as we get back to our favorite recreation. Golf is returning because it can be played safely and maintaining that safety must be our paramount objective.
During these past two months, your representatives from CAG have been working diligently on many fronts to support the best interests of golf. As always, this has been a collaborative effort of the allied partners that comprise the leadership of CAG.
Initiatives have included gathering relevant information (no easy task, as change has come not just weekly or daily, but often in real time), disseminating data to our community through a variety of platforms and channels and the especially critical function of proactively advocating on behalf of golfers, clubs and facilities.
With respect to the latter, CAG representatives have engaged in multiple dialogues with key governmental decision makers, most notably at the county level in seeking an early return to golf. These dialogues always emphasized the positive aspects of the game coupled with the safety of golfers and staff. Through our extensive connections in the industry, we were able to utilize supporting information gleaned from local, regional and national sources.
I want to thank all of those from our allied golf community for their continual support and laser focused attention to golf’s needs during these difficult times. Work hours have not defined the time spent by this group who have been engaged in the evenings and on weekends in serving our industry. I particularly would like to single out Craig Kessler and Kevin Fitzgerald from the SCGA Governmental Affairs department for their steady guidance through all these efforts.  
Now that golf has recently reopened in all counties throughout California, over time, we will gradually return to all of the social elements we find so rewarding about the game. In the meantime, stay healthy, remain positive and let us know how we can best serve you.
All the best,
Kevin Heaney
California Alliance for Golf
Board of Directors Update

CAG Announces New Officers and Board Members

The California Alliance for Golf (CAG) is pleased to announce its officers for 2020. They include Kevin Heaney (SCGA) serving as president, Jim Ferrin, CGCS (CGCSA) as vice president, Len Dumas, PGA (NCPGA), as treasurer, Tom Schunn, CCM (CMAA) as secretary, and Emmy Moore Minister (Doctor’s Orders: Play Golf) as past president.
At the alliance’s annual meeting two golf industry leaders were elected to the board of directors, Lee Finkel, who will represent the CGCOA (a position formerly well-held by Steve Plummer, CGCS), and Azucena Maldonado, who was elected as member at-large. 
Finkel, who is president of his own consulting company, comes to the board with 17 years of golf industry experience. Additionally, Finkel serves as President of the California Golf Course Owners Association (CGCOA).
A graduate of the University of San Diego with an MBA in Economics and an MBA, Finkel joined American Golf in 2003. He gained experience as general manager at a variety of golf facilities before he was promoted to Regional Director of American Golf’s Northeast region in 2009. During his tenure Finkel was responsible for overseeing golf courses in New York City, New Jersey, Atlanta, Virginia, and Detroit.
In 2015, he was promoted to Regional Vice President for the East and also oversaw facilities in Dallas, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. From 2016 through 2020 Finkel served as Senior Vice President, responsible for overseeing the management and operations for all American Golf’s public courses.
Today, Finkel enjoys his newly established consulting business, doing what he does best, advising course operators and owners on how to improve their golf operation. He also keeps busy in his active role as CGCOA president.
Newly elected Board Member Azucena Maldonado, Founder of Latina Golfers Association (LGA) comes to CAG after several years of involvement with the Alliance. Maldonado is a trailblazer on a mission to transform women’s lives through golf. She launched LGA in 2008, introducing girls and women to the sport of golf with the primary goal of helping advance personal and professional development. The LGA teaches women how to leverage golf as an effective tool toward career and business advancement. What started as a passion for the game quickly turned into a movement with more than 2,000 members in Southern California.

Maldonado has received numerous honors including the Prohispanica Brillante Award, NHBWA Woman of the Year Award, NLBWA Trailblazer Award, Latina Style Magazine’s Leadership Award, and was also inducted into the Latino Sports Hall of Fame.

In addition to her role with CAG, Maldonado serves on the advisory boards for the Women’s Golf Journal, Southern California Section of the PGA and California Golf Course Owners Association. Additionally, she serves on the L.A. County Golf Commission and the Southern California Golf Association’s governmental affairs committee.

2020 Brings a "New Normal" to Golf

Task Force + Hard Work Equates to Reopening Success for Golf in Yolo County
What happens when you bring together golf advocates from a traditional muni, a 9-hole, a daily fee plus two privates and a resort course? In Yolo County (also known as YOLO: You-Only-Live-Once county), things get done.

When the pandemic hit and it seemed that golf courses in Yolo County would be closed for an indefinite period of time, CAG Past President, Emmy Moore Minister, and founder of Doctor’s Orders: Play Golf, reached out to nearby golf course operators and invited them to join a countywide task force with a goal to reopen golf.

Read the full article here.
Park and Play
The implementation of the "Park and Play" program can help your course continue operations and help the public feel more comfortable while they play.

Click here to view the Park and Play PDF.
Back2Golf Resources
 Growth of the Game
Women's Golf Day 2020 Announces Revised Date and Virtual Celebration
In light of the escalated response to the global Coronavirus pandemic, the Women’s Golf Day (WGD) leadership team is announcing a new approach to this year’s event scheduled worldwide on June 2, 2020.This year, WGD is adapting the event to engage and empower women as part of a “virtual” WGD celebration.
The health and well-being of WGD partners and guests is paramount, so the in-person events that take place worldwide (as part of the world’s largest single day celebration of women’s golf) will move to Sept. 1, providing there is clearance from the WHO and governing bodies.  With this modification, WGD is providing two opportunities for engagement.

Read the full article here.
Awards Section
Congratulations Southern California Golf Association 
Warm congratulations are extended to the Southern California Golf Association (SCGA), recipient of the National Golf Course Owners Association’s Champion Award. This coveted honor was presented to Craig Kessler, SCGA Director of Governmental Affairs at the Celebration & Awards Dinner held in conjunction with the 2020 Golf Business Conference in Orlando, FL.

This prestigious award is in appreciation for the SCGA’s stellar advocacy efforts on behalf of golf. SCGA CEO Kevin Heaney, who also serves as president for the California Alliance for Golf, has made governmental affairs a priority knowing it is essential to the future of the game and business of golf.

Supporting Kessler in the day-to-day advocacy efforts is Assistant Director of Governmental Affairs Kevin Fitzgerald. Under Heaney’s leadership, the SCGA “Dream Team” of Kessler and Fitzgerald, have been working 24-7 studying key legislation and meeting with governmental representatives on a variety of topics—from water and employment issues—and most recently with immense focus on California course re-openings. And what is most commendable is how the SCGA continues to share its keen knowledge with others in the industry, most specifically, the California Alliance for Golf. Again, Congratulations SCGA on a well-deserved award!
Youth on Course Earns Honor
Congratulations to the NCGA's Youth on Course (YOC) program, recipient of the 2020 NGCOA Player Development Award. On hand to receive the award in Orlando, FL, was YOC Executive Director/CEO Adam Heieck and several enthused members of his staff.
This special distinction is presented annually to a program which provides an effective return on investment, and equally as important, a welcoming atmosphere for golfers.
YOC teaches youngsters key mental, physical and social skills while playing the game of golf. The program makes it possible for YOC members to play for $5 at participating courses. To date, this award-winning program has subsidized more than 950,000 rounds of golf. A hearty congratulations is extended to the entire Youth on Golf staff and its dedicated supporters.
CAG Legislative Update
Article Provided by Craig Kessler, SCGA
Golf Returns to California's 58 Counties
The weekend just past was the 1st one in many weeks in which golf was played in all 58 of California’s counties. Unlike the “recreational” golf that was played in the days immediately following the Governor’s statewide “stay at home” order, the golf played this last weekend in Southern California’s counties was for the most part an orderly display of strict social distancing and common touch point control. 

There is nothing like a 6-week hiatus to discipline the starved golfer! The trick is going to be maintaining that level of discipline in the coming weeks. Or as the Los Angeles Times opined in a Friday Editorial about the opening of trails and golf courses – “reader, don’t screw it up.” 

Last to be eliminated; first to come back. That was the strategy; that was the result. And it was a “result” premised entirely on the game’s ability to convince public policy makers and an often skeptical public that the central component of golf is entirely recreational, amenable to a level of social distancing and common touch point control second to none among outdoor recreational activities. We forget that at our own peril. Overreach, and what was granted can be rescinded.

There are business components to golf to be sure, and they will return when their parallels in the marketplace are reintroduced during the next five phases of Governor Newsom’s reopening paradigm. Not one day sooner; not one day later. 

In the meantime, there are a few rough edges to some of counties’ protocols to be cleaned up. We are working on those and remain optimistic on both counts. No doubt there are other “rough edges,” and if past is prologue, many of you will bring those to our attention in short order.

The pattern in every county has thus far been to gradually loosen restrictions as Public Health Officers gain confidence in their golf communities’ capacities to hew to the letter and spirit of their social distancing admonitions. That happens sooner than later in direct proportion to golfers’ behavior. So, please “do your part, play safe” to cite a familiar phrase (

The “recreational” game may be back. The “business” component will follow in due time. But the across-the-board economic devastation caused by the hard economic stop will linger for a long time. How long is anybody’s guess.  How deep is anybody’s guess. But as the federal government heaps many trillions upon current debt and deficit loads, California’s Legislative Analyst predicts $20 billion + deficits through 2024, unemployment hits 14.7% on its way to a much higher number next month, and certain businesses are not likely to be fully functional until sometime in 2021. Golf, no matter how lucky it has been in being among the first activities reintroduced, will not escape unscathed. 
But before pivoting to the challenges of the next five phases of the state’s return to normality, which is likely to be a very new normal, there are a few details of Phase 1 to wrap up.

Read the full article here.
California Alliance for Golf Mission: To advance the Game by serving as an advocate for Golf before the public, legislative bodies, governmental agencies, and media, while promoting the economic, environmental, and numerous community-based benefits the Game of Golf provides.

We Welcome Your Support

Do you care about the future of Golf in California? Would you like to help make a difference in support of Advocacy for Golf? If so, please click here to donate online to the California Alliance for Golf. Checks may be mailed to: 
Attn: CAG
Southern California PGA
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