GOLF ROUNDS UP FIRST TWO MONTHS OF 2006

Same-store rounds played in the United States increased 3.6 percent in February 2006 vs. February 2005, based on data from operators at 1,899 golf facilities. That brings the year-to-date total to an increase of 15.4 percent over the same period last year. Rounds were also in positive territory in January. Large percentage increases along the northern tier are not uncommon in the winter because they are based on a small volume of rounds. Only the Northwest region is below last year's level of play year-to-date. The large increase in the Southwest is partly because that region experienced a drop in rounds in 2005 vs. 2004.

TFI LAUDS PASSAGE OF NATURAL GAS LEGISLATION

The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) recently hailed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee for its March 8 approval of legislation (S. 2253), which would lift restrictions on natural gas development in the eastern portion of the Gulf of Mexico. The bill, which directs the U.S. Department of Interior to begin leasing on restricted portions of the 6 million-acre Lease Sale 181 area within one year of the legislation's enactment, passed the committee on a vote of 16 to 5. The committee is chaired by Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.).

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“The Senate vote is a meaningful step toward addressing the national energy crisis which is having such a grave impact on the U.S. fertilizer industry and its farmer customers,” said TFI president Ford B. West. “We commend Senator Domenici for his leadership on this critical issue.”

The nitrogen fertilizer industry relies upon natural gas as the fundamental feedstock ingredient for the production of nitrogen fertilizer. Natural gas represents 70 to 90 percent of the product cost of one ton of anhydrous ammonia — the building block for most other forms of commercial nitrogen plant nutrients.

PICTURE THIS: A VACATION FOR TWO

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IRRIGATION, GROUND WATER ASSOCIATIONS TO COLLABORATE

The Irrigation Association and the National Ground Water Association have agreed to work together on scientific, technical and policy issues related to ground water and wells.

Directors of the two associations signed a mutual cooperation agreement outlining common interests and objectives, including communication on technical and public policy matters.

“Decisions about water are often based on emotions,” said IA executive director Tom Kimmell. “It is in the interest of the Irrigation Association, our members and the National Ground Water Association to encourage policy decisions based on science. This agreement allows our organizations to work together to support research and fact-based public policy where ground water and irrigation are concerned.”

“Irrigation uses the largest amount of ground water in the United States,” said NGWA executive director Kevin McCray. “Consequently, our organizations share an interest in the wise use and protection of ground water for those who need it now and in the future.”

About 70 percent of all ground water withdrawals in the United States go to irrigation, according to a U.S. Geological Survey report from 2004.

According to the agreement, areas of increased cooperation could include joint research, conferences, education and training, policy statements, technical documents or business development.

Golf Rounds Played, 2006 vs. 2005
February Year-To-Date
Total U.S. facilities 3.6% 15.4%
Private Clubs 1.0% 9.4%
Total Public 4.3% 17.2%
Public Courses:
Premium 2.2% 7.5%
Standard 4.0% 13.2%
Value 4.9% 21.2%
Region
Northeast 109.4% 119.3%
Mid-Atlantic -7.2% 39.2%
Southeast -7.8% 3.6%
Central/South Florida -2.3% 1.4%
Gulf Coast 4.4% 9.6%
South Central -1.9% 16.3%
Lower Midwest 28.5% 132.3%
Upper Midwest 27.6% 141.3%
Mountain -8.1% 1.0%
Southwest 17.2% 15.8%
Northwest -33.0% -28.0%
Public facilities fall into one of three categories based on peak season weekend green fees with cart:
Premium (High) - Above $70
Standard (Middle) - $40-$70
Value (Low) - Below $40
Source: NGF/Allied Golf Associations

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