Dear Cactus and Pine Member,
In our continuing effort to build and enhance relationships with decision and policy makers, we had a couple more calls that we thought you might be interested in and should know about.
Arizona Department of Water Resources
On Thursday June 4, 2020 board members: Shawn Emerson, Ernie Pock and Rory Van Poucke along with our Executive Director, Carmella Ruggiero met with Natalie Mast of the Arizona Department of Water Resources.
• Natalie Mast (ADWR) gave an overview of the key points of the 4th and 5th management plans. The 4th plans biggest change is that courses will be required to reduce their water use to 4.75 Acre Feet (irrigated acres of turf) in the Phoenix AMA’s. The 4th plan will go into effect 2023.
• In the 5th management plan the ADWR will simplify how water is calculated on the course. There will be one number used for the course (In other words, they will combine low water use landscape and turf requirement into one number).
- The 5th plan will go into effect in 2025
- They are looking at having the Flex Account carry forward from the 4th to the 5th plan
- Good News: Reclaimed credits look like they will stay the same
- More possible Good News: The ADWR is not looking to reduce the acre foot allotment in the 5th plan
• The recently created Water Conservation Task Force was also discussed.
U.S. Congressman Paul Gosar
Past Cactus & Pine President Rory Van Poucke organized a teleconference on June 4 with U.S. Congressman Paul Gosar (AZ-04) to discuss issues facing the Arizona and national golf industry. Rory was joined on the call by Board Members Shawn Emerson and Ernie Pock and GCSAA field representative Jeff Jensen.
• Gosar has been a long-time supporter of the Cactus & Pine as well as the Arizona golf industry, speaking at numerous Cactus & Pine meetings and was a key proponent of the recent Navigable Waters Protection Rule (formerly WOTUS) which will assist property owners by better clarifying and streamlining the code.
• The call focused on a number of current issues. Shawn discussed the implications from the COVID-19 pandemic and how it has affected the Arizona Golf Industry from a private club standpoint as well as the difficulties it has caused in attracting labor with the $600 federal unemployment enhancement.
• Ernie was able to talk on how the pandemic has affected daily fee and resort courses including the cancellation of the NCAA Division I Golf Championships at Grayhawk and the continuing pressures on the food and beverage and event side of the business.
• Rory highlighted the efforts of the Arizona golf industry on the ADWR 4th Management Plan as well as ongoing work with the 5th Management Plan which will determine water use in the state for decades to come. Additionally, Rory discussed the threat of future golf course closures both public and private and the economic impact those closures would have.
• Jeff focused on the HEROES Act and the need for inclusion for 501 (c)(6) and 501 (c) (7) organizations (private clubs) as well as providing updates on the Arizona Golf Industry Best Management Practices Guide.
This marked the third in a series of outreach calls to benefit members of the Cactus & Pine. Previously, the group met with U.S. Congressman David Schweikert and Department of the Interior Senior Analyst Jeff Small. A call with U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Lesko (AZ-08) is scheduled for the week of June 15.
These calls are important not only to discuss issues, but to make our representatives aware of the voting power of Arizona golfers as elections approach
If you have any topics you would like covered for future meetings, do not hesitate to reach out to Carmella or your elected board members.
Additionally, if you have any questions about any of these calls please contact Carmella or one of board members who were on the call.
Mark Woodward, CGCS
President, Cactus and Pine GCSAA
Whisper Rock Golf Club