Kim Guadagno was sworn in as New Jersey’s first Lieutenant Governor on January 19, 2010, and was elected to a second term in 2013. She also serves as the 33rd Secretary of State.
MATT WARD: How important is the golf industry to the State of New Jersey?
KIM GUADAGNO: The golf industry is a critical contributor to New Jersey’s economy. The golf industry employs thousands of workers and stimulates vital economic activity. Home to some of the most top-rated golf facilities in the country, golfers have long been attracted to New Jersey’s superlative, pristine golf courses. With nearly 300 golf courses throughout the Garden State, these breathtaking golf courses provide a great opportunity for our residents and visitors to enjoy the game of golf at some of the highest-rated public and private golf courses in the nation.
MW: What specific role does the State play in the area of golf promotion?
KG: Golfing is one of the many activities visitors can engage in when they vacation in New Jersey or are visiting for business. Through the New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism, the state takes the lead in promoting our many golf options to potential visitors. Millions of visitors also explore our Visitnj.org website and many have downloaded our VisitNJ Mobile APP, an interactive app for golfers to access information they need to plan a great golf experience in New Jersey.
To further promote the industry, the Division of Travel and Tourism recently developed a 30-second broadcast spot highlighting New Jersey’s great golf assets, as well as the comprehensive New Jersey Golf Guide that can be downloaded from our website.
MW: Can you provide real dollar numbers in terms of the estimated size of the revenues produced by the golf industry in the Garden State?
KG: New Jersey’s golf industry generated a total economic impact of $2.9 billion in 2010. Source: The 2010 New Jersey Golf Economy-
MW: Related to that — an estimated number of total employees working in the golf industry in NJ?
MW: What kind of total dollars generated is projected for the PGA Championship when played at the end of this month at Baltusrol GC?
KG: The golf event will not only benefit golf fans, but all New Jersey residents, with an estimated economic impact of $100 million. This number is driven not only by the out-of-town visitors who come to spectate the championship, but also the support staff, which numbers in the thousands. Many of them have been in New Jersey for months, and that economic activity is a huge positive for the community and ultimately for the entire state of New Jersey. Source: Greater Rochester Enterprise (GRE) estimates from a 2013 study
MW: How active has NJ been in working with club and local officials in getting ready for the Garden State’s first return to hosting a major championship since the 2005 PGA Championship — also at Baltusrol?
KG: Hosting a major championship is a huge undertaking and the championship organizers have an enormous task managing the logistics needed to ensure a successful golf event. The state provides the support of a working group comprised of key state departments to work side-by-side with the championship team and local officials.
The state works to support their efforts to ensure this is a positive experience for attendees. It is a massive undertaking, but hosting the 2016 PGA Championship in New Jersey at Baltusrol, one of the most iconic golf venues in the world, is priceless.
MW: How does the State work collaboratively with those in the golf industry — is there an active relationship with such groups as the New Jersey State Golf Association, the NJ PGA and the NJ Golf Course Owners Association?
KG: At the state level, and with the help and support of our regional tourism partners, New Jersey’s golf organizations serve as an important partner. These golf organizations provide the state with industry trends, facts and other pertinent industry information. Their input helps guide us in our decision making when we work to market the golf industry to the public.
MW: What challenges remain for NJ tourism in the short and long term — particularly as it relates to assisting the golf industry in the State?
KG: The state will continue in the short and long term to promote and market New Jersey’s golf assets to potential visitors and residents. Golf is not only a great way to stay active, but it encourages participates to commune with nature and take in New Jersey’s superb green landscapes. The continued prosperity, health and growth of the golf industry has a direct influence on future jobs, commerce, economic development, and tax revenues for a large number of New Jersey’s communities and industries. Tourism in New Jersey is a $43 billion industry; a strong and growing golf economy is vital to the overall economic growth of New Jersey.WHAT'S YOUR REACTION?