On April 17 the West Foyer of the State Capitol Building witnessed bipartisan support as 13 Republican and 13 Democratic legislators showed up for the Colorado Golf Coalition’s annual Golf Day at the State Capitol. That’s twice the total that attended last year.
The spike in interest may have had something to do with star power. In touting the benefits of the game to lawmakers, the coalition—comprised of the Colorado Golf Association, Colorado PGA, the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America and the Mile High Chapter of the Club Management Association of America—brought National Drive, Chip & Putt Finalists Chunya “Bead” Boonta (second place, Girls 12-13) of Centennial and Caitlyn Chin (5th place, Girls 10-11) of Greenwood Village. Both had competed in the televised event the Sunday before the Masters at Augusta National.
As the embodiment of the benefits of golf, the well-spoken girls engaged with legislators in conversation and friendly putting competitions. They obliged photo requests and later received recognition on the Senate floor, as did Augusta National Women’s Amateur champion Jennifer Kupcho of Westminster.
Another Jennifer, Jennifer Cassell, facilitated the event. Cassell, who has served as the Colorado Golf Coalition lobbyist for the last five years, keeps tabs on any bills with an impact on the golf industry. Those include issues of pesticide application, water use, general environmental stewardship, seasonal employment, zoning and more.
In addition to the feel-good presence of Chin and Boonta, Cassell and coalition representatives made a point of reminding lawmakers that the golf industry pumps $1.7 billion into the Colorado economy. They also distributed information to dispel misperceptions about the game as environmentally unfriendly and elitist.
On the environmental front, golf courses account for less than one-third of 1 percent of the state’s water usage, and 90 percent of that water is non-potable. Golf courses also provide green spaces on which wildlife and vegetation thrive.
And as far as elitism is concerned, public courses host three-quarters of the rounds played in Colorado, and the state’s junior golf programs—especially the Junior Golf Alliance of Colorado and Golf in Schools—are successfully prioritizing affordability and accessibility to attract children from across all socioeconomic backgrounds.
This article appeared in the 2019 June Issue of Colorado AvidGolfer.
Colorado AvidGolfer Magazine is the state’s leading resource for golf and the lifestyle that surrounds it, publishing eight issues annually and proudly delivering daily content via coloradoavidgolfer.com.