Superintendent’s visit covers overtime pay rule and expert advice for congressman’s own lawn care
Lawrence, Kan. (Oct. 11, 2016) – Georgia Congressman Doug Collins was visibly impressed when head golf course superintendent Lydell Mack told him he had researched the congressman’s voting record and knew that he was in favor of small business and concerned about the Department of Labor’s new overtime rule that is set to take effect in mid-2017.
Mack was right, and he found the support he was looking for during his 15-minute one-on-one meeting last month at the congressman’s office in Gainesville, Ga., about an hour from Mack’s home course of Big Canoe Golf Club in Jasper, Ga., located 60 miles north of Atlanta.
Collins, a Republican member of the House of Representatives from the 9th District in Georgia since 2013, is a recreational golfer who is aware of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) and familiar with the concerns of superintendents and the golf industry.
“We talked about the overtime rule that is scheduled to go into effect in December, and we both had concerns about the rule going forward as currently written. In fact, Collins has a proposal he will introduce to the House shortly.”
The new Department of Labor rule would grant overtime pay to all employees under the annual salary of $47,476. But since Mack’s visit, the House of Representatives passed H.R. #6094, which would delay implementation of the new overtime rule by about six months if passed by Senate and approved by President Obama.
“I have to admit, I was nervous and pretty intimated at first, going through all of the security to get to his office,” said Mack, 38 and a 12-year member of GCSAA. “But once I got there, the conversation was casual and easy. He even asked me what I would suggest to help his own lawn. He had just put zoysia down.
“At the end, he thanked me for paying attention and for coming to offer my input, and he welcomed me back any time. And I invited him to Big Canoe the next time he was in the area.”
Collins is no stranger to Mack’s home course. He participated in a candidates’ debate at Big Canoe Golf Club when he was first running for state office in 2006. And he also met with Big Canoe’s assistant superintendent Ken Holloway during the 2016 National Golf Day in Washington, D.C.
Mack reflected that he is a bit surprised he stepped out of his comfort zone to become a GCSAA Grassroots Ambassador, a program organized three years ago by GCSAA government affairs director Chava McKeel. The program seeks to have superintendents establish a relationship with their national legislators and encourages one-on-one visits with members of congress.
“It’s certainly not something I thought I would get involved in, but I have a volunteer’s spirit, and I will step up if I am needed,” said Mack, a native of Canada who earned his turfgrass science degree at Canada’s Fairview College. “I want this industry to thrive for a long time, and the earlier you can build connections and relationships, the better chance we have to do things for the long haul. Being a Grassroots Ambassador is fun and a little exciting too.”
About GCSAA and the EIFG
The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) is a leading golf organization in the United States. Its focus is on golf course management, and since 1926 GCSAA has been the top professional association for the men and women who manage golf courses in the U.S. and worldwide. From its headquarters in Lawrence, Kan., the association provides education, information and representation to nearly 18,000 members in more than 78 countries. The association’s mission is to serve its members, advance their profession and enhance the enjoyment, growth and vitality of the game of golf. Visit GCSAA at www.gcsaa.org or find us on Facebook or Twitter.
The Environmental Institute for Golf is the philanthropic organization of the GCSAA. Its mission is to foster sustainability through research, awareness, education, programs and scholarships for the benefit of golf course management professionals, golf facilities and the game. Visit EIFG at www.eifg.org. or find us on Facebook or Twitter.
Craig Smith, Director, Communications and Media Relations
Phone: 800-472-7878, ext. 4431 or 785-691-9197 (cell)