OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Sheila Dills, R-Tulsa, today won House passage of a pair of bills that would establish Oklahoma Golf Day and create a state Golf Trail Commission to spur economic development and tourism and improve quality of life in the state.
House Bill 3646 would designate the third Wednesday in June each year as Golf Day in the State of Oklahoma. The goal is to help the state golf industry promote the game and generate additional revenue.
House Bill 3647 would create the Oklahoma Golf Trail Commission that would be charged with developing a list of 15 to 25 golf courses annually that will be listed as the official Oklahoma Golf Trail.
“Oklahoma is a golf mecca, and our courses need to be promoted,” Dills said. “This will increase economic development and attract people to visit and retire in our wonderful state while at the same time enjoying the many benefits of this incredible game.”
Dills said the Legislature has a special opportunity to promote Oklahoma Golf Day and the Oklahoma Golf Trail at the PGA Championship in Tulsa in May. This event is estimated to bring $143 million dollars into Oklahoma and will have global media coverage.
The nine-member commission created in HB3647 would be responsible for putting out requests for proposals for the marketing component of accepting courses to be located along the trail and to solicit funding from public-private partnerships for the trail.
She said both bills are supported by Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell.
Dills herself has won multiple golf championships and attended Oklahoma State University on a golf scholarship. She later had a successful career on the course and in the classroom. She served seven years on the Board of Directors of the Women’s Oklahoma Golf Association and as president of the organization for four years. She was instrumental in converting the 101-year-old organization from a social organization into a 501c3 public charity.
Dills also developed successful programs such as a scholarship program for high school seniors, a grants program for underfunded Oklahoma high schools and a grass roots program to introduce young girls to the game of golf. She also served on local, state and national boards of directors, including the First Tee and the Oklahoma Golf Hall of Fame.
HB 3646 and HB 3647 passed the House today with votes of 90-0 and 87-3 respectively. The now advance to the state Senate where they are authored by Sen. James Leewright, R-Bristow.