State Rep. Jon Hardister is proposing legislation that should make that familiar golf shout a whole lot more prevalent in North Carolina. The new act, which Hardister said he expects to be successful, calls for the creation of a North Carolina Golf Council within the NC Department of Commerce.
That brand new council would promote golf across North Carolina and work to bring more amateur and professional golf tournaments to the state. The Golf Council, once established, will also attempt to use the sport as an economic driver by promoting golf tourism.
Hardister said he expects a lot of support for the proposal because it’s inexpensive to implement but the benefits to the state’s economy may be large.
The act would appropriate $25,000 annually to cover the administrative costs of the Golf Council.
“The cost on this is very minimal,” Hardister said.
Hardister added that he’s very excited about the proposal.
“I’ve worked with the governor’s office on this,” Hardister said.
According to Hardister, the legislation calls for the seven-member council to have two appointments from the NC House of Representatives, two from the NC Senate and three from the governor – who will also name the chair of the Golf Council.
The legislation reads: “The Council is charged with the promotion and cultivation of the game of golf in this State and with fostering the economic development, tourism, recreation, and community involvement that the growth of the sport can bring. The Council shall advise the Secretary of Commerce with recommendations on fostering economic growth and advancing the growth of recreational, collegiate, and professional golf. The Council shall meet at least quarterly, and at other times upon the call of the chair.”
Council members, who will serve four-year terms, will get some travel money to cover expenses – but other than that, and the $25,000 for administration each year, the new Golf Council won’t cost anything.
Hardister pointed out that North Carolina already has a rich tradition in golf. The state has a lot of great courses and there are major golf tournaments in Greensboro and Charlotte each year as well as a large senior tournament in Cary. There are numerous other tournaments at all levels as well around the state.
Hardister said the council will hopefully bring in more golf tournaments and events for all ages and skill levels.
“The idea is to provide a special spotlight on golf,” Hardister said. “It will be able to do things like reach out to the LPGA or others, and say, we’d like your tournaments here.”
Hardister said the idea was brought to him by constituents who are big advocates of the sport and he also said he’d like to have a sponsor from the Pinehurst area on the legislation since that’s such a hotbed of golf activity.
According to Hardister, golf builds character.
“It really does teach good values,” he said, adding that it teaches integrity and honesty and it teaches people to play by the rules.
He said that, for instance, golfers have to call penalties on themselves, which is a good exercise in honesty.