The Manitoba branch of the National Allied Golf Associations (NAGA) brought local golf industry representatives to the provincial legislature to increase awareness of golf as a major driver of Manitoba’s provincial economy and a vital way by which Manitobans stay fit, get healthy and have fun. This year marked the first ever coordinated government advocacy effort put forth by local Manitoba golf industry representatives, and the events that took place provided an excellent opportunity to speak to local government decision makers about issues that are of concern to the industry.
Manitoba golf industry representatives went to Winnipeg to meet with Minister and Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) to speak on the impact the golf industry has in Manitoba, particularly in regards to the provincial economy and the industry’s role as an environmental steward. The golf industry in Manitoba is a vital driver of the province’s economy, responsible for approximately $452.7 million of its Gross Domestic Product. Overall, golf causes $1.2 billion in direct, indirect, and induced spending in the province. 282,000 Manitobans play golf at over 129 courses across the province, and the industry is responsible for over 18,000 jobs.
Moreover, Manitoba’s golf courses are conscientious environmental stewards. Pesticides and overwatering are not only bad for the environment, but they’re bad for golf business. Overwatering affects the playability of golf courses and pesticides are too expensive to use frequently or in large quantities. Modern water conservation practices on courses actually leave water cleaner than when it entered the course.
Manitoba’s golf industry wants to begin an ongoing dialogue with the Government of Manitoba about environmental regulations that affect golfers and the golf business. It is important that government decision makers know that Manitoba courses must prepare Integrated Pest Management Plans and have trained, licensed pesticide applicators, using only pesticides approved by Health Canada as having no unacceptable risks to health. The golf industry is a conscientious steward of the environment that manages 160,000 hectares of green space nationwide, and preserves nearly 41,000 hectares of unmanaged wildlife and plant habitat. Pesticides are used sparingly and water that leaves a golf course is often cleaner than when the water entered the course. Recognizing the contributions of the industry to the environment by including it in regulatory consultations will ensure that regulations are balanced and based in sound science.