Power to the Acronym
Tocqueville made the observation famous in the 1830s, and it still rings true today: Americans love voluntary associations. It’s what we instinctively turn to when we want to get things done.
Golf in America is no exception. For every function there is a nonprofit association to carry the water. And a dizzying array of acronyms to memorize if you’re in the business!
If you’re reading this story you are probably a member of one — the Southern California Golf Association (SCGA). If you’re a golf professional you’re a member of the Southern California Section of the Professional Golfers Association (SCPGA). If you work in golf maintenance you’re a member of one of the Chapters of the National Golf Course Superintendents Association (GCSAA). For club managers, there’s the Club Managers Association (CMA), while for golf course owners, the California Golf Course Owners Association (CGCOA). On and on and on, all replete with national umbrella associations.
But if you’re a municipal golf manager there is no such organization focused on your discipline — until now, that is. Southern California’s municipal golf managers have come together to form their own peer review association called the Southern California Municipal Golf Association (SCMGA); they conduct their kick-off meeting January 30 at the Rio Hondo Municipal Golf Course in Downey.
“This will give us what we’ve been sorely missing for so long in the municipal golf field,” says Anaheim Golf Director Michael Lautenbach, the first president of the new organization. That’s a gentle way of saying that Lautenbach and the municipal managers from San Diego to Ventura who join him on the inaugural governing board plan on “getting some things done” on behalf of the municipal game they toil in every day.
More to the point, from the perspective of Southern California’s golfers, to the extent that the SCMGA means that municipal golf is organized to elevate the game’s most reliable growth sector to a position of equality with the sectors represented by all those other acronyms, the new organization will be “getting things done” on our behalf.
The public game has been buffeted by a myriad of problems in recent years, many associated more with the fiscal issues of their owners more than the problems generally associated with the game. Indeed, the municipal sector has fared better than most during the recent downturn, not a surprising development given the public sector’s position in the market.
But publicly owned golf courses have been particularly vulnerable to the harvesting of their revenues for needs unrelated to golf, a propensity to defer necessary capital reinvestment and attacks from those quarters that have always opposed the dedication of publicly owned open space to the game. These are all problems that if left unchallenged can erode the broad foundation upon which so much of the golf market is dependent for long-term health.
The SCMGA aims to tackle those problems head on. Getting organized is the necessary first step. Getting recognized by allies and peers is the next, something they’ve apparently accomplished if Lautenbach’s election to the Board of Directors of the California Alliance for Golf (CAG) is an indicator. The next step: Translating that organization and recognition into the ability to positively affect outcomes for the health of public sector golf, and by implication the health of the whole game.
Golf’s parade of acronyms is in their corner — ready and willing to lend whatever help they can. Golf may have many parts and a myriad of acronyms accompanying each part, but it is one game with one common destiny. Welcome to the party SCMGA.
For information about the SCMGA contact Michael Lautenbach at (714) 221-2729 or firstname.lastname@example.org.