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Saying that golf no longer should be "one of the best-kept secrets" in the state, Gov. Gary R. Herbert signed a declaration of Golf Month in Utah.
Following the news conference at the Capitol with officials of the newly formed Golf Alliance for Utah, Herbert teed off in a Utah Golf Day tournament at Bonneville Golf Course.
The alliance, created by the Utah Golf Association, the Utah Section PGA and other golf business groups, is designed to grow and protect the game in Utah. Part of its mission is to broadcast the findings of a Stanford Research Institute study that determined Utah's golf footprint is on par with skiing, citing 250,000 participants and generating an economic impact of $805 million in 2012.
The industry supports more than 9,600 jobs that generate $250 million in income, while golf events produced $11 million in charitable contributions in 2012. Numbers like those impress Herbert, who has cited economic development as the top goal of his administration.
Jeff Beaudry, a lifelong Utahn and PGA regional employment services director, said golf industry "obviously has done a very poor job of telling out story of economic impact."
The study also determined that golf courses generally are good stewards of water and conscious of environmental impact. Maintenance staffs employ scientific methods to limit usage, according to T.A. Barker, president of the Intermountain Golf Course Superintendents Association.
Other speakers included Colby Cowan, president of the Utah Section PGA; David Terry, the alliance chairman and director of Salt Lake City Golf; and Bill Walker, executive director of the UGA.
Golf Month in Utah coincides with National Golf Day, scheduled May 21. Industry personnel will promote the game's impact during a visit to Capitol Hill in Washington.