• Golf Business Conference 2020 Attendees Can Win a Golf Vacation by Sharing Their “Bright Ideas”

    Every business owner has had that one crazy idea... the idea that seemed an impossible solution at the time but actually worked to solve a problem. In Golf Business Conference 2020’s “Bright Ideas Showcase” General Session, attendees not only offer up their brightest ideas in front of hundreds of other attendees, but based on votes from the audience, can win a Myrtle Beach golf vacation for two!

    Kraig Kann (Managing Director of Kann Advisory Group and Golf Business Conference emcee) moderates this spirited, high-energy panel on Wednesday, January 22 from 11:30am-1:30pm in the Orange County Convention Center’s (OCCC) Sunburst Ballroom. This session is guaranteed to be fun, fast-paced and full of laughs! There is still time to register for Golf Business Conference 2020; learn more at GBC20 attendees who would like to participate in the contest should pre-register idea(s) at

    The week also includes a joint NGCOA/PGA of America innovation panel called Driving Entrepreneurship in Golf. Panelists Gideon Yu (Former CFO of Facebook and Youtube and Partner at Khosla Ventures), Joe Assell (CEO/Founder of GolfTec), Kris Hart (Founder of Nextgengolf) and Bill Troynoski (GM at Halfmoon Bay) discuss various aspects of recruiting and fostering the next generation of PGA and golf industry professionals. With the power of their combined experience and expertise, they’ll cover managing rising facility costs and creating new revenue streams, trends in retail's impact on golf, marketing to and retention of a new generation of golfers, and balancing preservation/tradition with innovation.

    This joint education session will be held on Thursday, January 23 at 9:45am in the PGA of America Member Business Center. The session is limited to 50 Golf Business Conference attendees, and the sign-up sheet will be located at the GBC20 Registration Desk in the OCCC’s West Concourse, Upper Level.

    The general sessions at Golf Business Conference 2020 are all about transforming: your outlook, your golf business in preparation for the future, your operations with emerging technologies, and your way of thinking to be open to new and innovative ideas. GBC20 includes 15+ education sessions which are all eligible for continuing education units (CEUs) for Professional Golfers Association (PGA), Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), Club Management Association of America (CMAA), and Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA). 

    About Golf Business Conference

    Golf Business Conference, hosted by the NGCOA, is the industry’s largest annual gathering of golf course owners and operators, and welcomes all courses regardless of size or type. Attendees will experience educational sessions on the most critical areas of golf course operations, a casual and fun golf outing, numerous networking opportunities, an awards banquet to recognize some of the most significant contributors to the golf industry, and so much more. Golf Business Conference is located at the 2020 PGA Merchandise Show and GBC20 attendees can participate in PGA Show Demo Day, the expansive Exhibition Hall, and a joint NGCOA/PGA of America General Session. Visit for more information.

  • The National Golf Course Owners Association Announces Award Winners for 2020

    The National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA) is honored to announce the winners of the association’s annual awards. Each year, the NGCOA recognizes the most outstanding members of the past year, and the individuals and organizations that have helped preserve the tradition of the game while embracing the challenges and opportunities of the golf business.

    “There’s excitement for this special night when we get the opportunity to honor and recognize our members and industry peers,“ said Dick Stuntz, President of the NGCOA Board of Directors. “We are elated to honor such a great group this year and look forward to seeing everyone there.”

    All winners will be recognized at Golf Business Conference 2020’s Celebration and Awards Dinner on Wednesday, January 22 in the Sunburst Ballroom in West Hall E/F at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. Tickets are still available for Golf Business Conference 2020 and the Awards Reception and Dinner; visit for details and registration. 

    National Course of the Year Award

    Recognizes a golf course that epitomizes exceptional course quality and management excellence, makes important contributions to its communities and the game, and is a model of operations to its peers. The following members were selected as the Regional Course of the Year winners (from which the National Course of the Year is chosen):

    • Hickory Stick Golf Club, Greenwood, IN (Midwest Region)
    • Old Siasconset Golf Course, Nantucket, MA (East Region)
    • Streamsong Black, Bowling Green, FL (South Region)
    • Skylinks at Long Beach, Long Beach, CA (West Region)

    From these regional winners, the NGCOA Board of Directors selected Hickory Stick Golf Club as the winner of the 2020 National Course of the Year.

    Champion Award

    Bestowed upon individuals or entities which have succeeded in working on behalf of a group of owners – locally, regionally, nationally or internationally – and have garnered significant victory for our members.

    • Southern California Golf Association for its tireless governmental affairs efforts

    And the combination of:

    • NY State Club Association
    • Metropolitan Golf Association
    • National Club Association
    • Club Management Association of America National and Local

    for their collaborative efforts in defeating a NY tax bill that would have negatively impacted course owners across the state.

    Don Rossi Award

    Given for significant and long-lasting contribution to the NGCOA

    • Rock Lucas, Owner, Charwood Golf Club, West Columbia, SC

    Player Development Award

    Bestowed upon a course, entity or individual, which has implemented true and tested player development programs, providing effective return-on-investment and an overall welcoming atmosphere for new golfers of all ages.

    • Youth on Course, Pebble Beach, CA
    • Applewood Golf Course’s Golf Fore Life Learning Center, Golden, CO
    • Wilderness Ridge Golf Club, Lincoln, NE

    Jemsek Award for Golf Course Excellence

    Honors the world’s top golf courses, which are widely known for superior quality, having hosted major amateur and professional tournaments and for being venues to which golfers travel from far and wide.  

    • Spyglass Hill Golf Course, Pebble Beach, CA

    Paul Porter Award

    Recognizes an NGCOA member who left an enduring mark on a chapter or international affiliate through the highest level of commitment, service and leadership.

    • Curt Walker, Executive Director, Midwest Golf Course Owners Association

  • NGCOA Offers Members Hospitality Training and Resources through New Partnership with RCSUniversity

    The National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA) and RCSU (RCSUniversity), the virtual training division of RCS Hospitality Group, will provide NGCOA members with curated hospitality training resources to elevate their brands and grow their golf businesses.

    Under this agreement, RCSU will be the founding sponsor of NGCOA’s new “Hospitality Center,” a web-based portal which will house resources including, but not limited to, videos, podcasts and webinars on a variety of topics for managers and employees of public and private golf facilities.

    NGCOA members will have complimentary and exclusive access to two (2) online lessons immediately, and soon will have access to four (4) custom courses co-produced by NGCOA and RCSU. RCSU will also become a member of the NGCOA Smart Buy Marketplace, the association’s purchasing program which offers discounted rates, rebates and value-added packages not available anywhere else. Visit for details on the RCSU offer and other Smart Buy Marketplace partners.

    “One solution to the perception, cultural and retention issues in our industry is raising the hospitality quotient,” says Jay Karen, NGCOA’s chief executive officer. “We can help courses dispel the myths (and some truths) of the unwelcoming environment in golf by getting more frontline staff trained in good old fashioned hospitality.  We are excited about our partnership with RCS, and the amazing tools we can put in the hands of our members.”

    “We are delighted to be the founding sponsor of NGCOA’s new Hospitality Center. At RCS, we believe training is not something you did, but something you do; virtual training is a natural extension of our popular in-person training. RCSU was designed to help busy managers provide a consistent, quality training program for high-turnover positions and deepen their bench of leaders as they build management skills using RCSU," commented Whitney Reid Pennell, founder and president of RCS Hospitality Group. "Developing managers and staff in the club industry has been my lifelong passion and I am confident our virtual courses, as well as our suite of other consulting and training services will be a great benefit to NGCOA members.”

    NGCOA members can access RCSUniversity's services through the association’s Smart Buy Marketplace purchasing program at

    Learn more about RCSUniversity's member benefit here

  • NGCOA Members Improve Customer Engagement through New Relationship with Golfpay

    The National Golf Course Owners Association has added Golfpay as its latest NGCOA Smart Buy Marketplace Supplier. Golfpay’s Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) platform benefits both golf courses and golfers by streamlining and upgrading the booking, communication and commerce experience for the golfer, while helping operators be more effective at marketing to the modern customer.

    Golfpay allows courses to easily add new marketing channels (including SMS/texting, messaging, voice and webchat) to increase reach, loyalty and retention, thereby reducing the reliance on third-party marketing channels. Beside these new on-demand booking and buying options for golfers, the platform also features a robust text messaging channel for outbound marketing that results in higher click through rates than email. For the customer experience, golfers can add and share reservations with friends, and add upgrades like membership cards, rental clubs and alternative golf cart experiences during the booking process.

    Golfpay is offering exclusively to NGCOA member courses a new, even more robust version of their texting marketing channel that uses artificial intelligence to drive on-demand engagement which includes a text club builder to quickly build the customer database ($1,200 annual value). The first 100 NGCOA members to activate also get access to a second bonus offer; learn more about Golfpay and the NGCOA offer at

    “Golfpay is bringing to our space what consumers are experiencing outside of golf - a modern-day engagement experience,” said NGCOA CEO, Jay Karen. “The golfer experience often begins with communicating with the golf course online. Members who use Golfpay will set the new tone for that experience, which we believe will aid in their success.”

    “Our relationship with the NGCOA - and what this partnership hopes to accomplish - is very exciting,” said Dale Merritt, Golfpay CEO. “For the industry to really thrive again, and get back on an upward trajectory, it will require more enhanced customer experiences, and of course a way to deliver it online that appeals to the modern golfer. This is a great match for us.”

    NGCOA members can access Golfpay's services through the association’s Smart Buy Marketplace purchasing program at

    Learn more about Golfpay's member benefit here

  • NGCOA Brings Members Affordable, Scalable Payment Technology Solutions with New Partnership

    The National Golf Course Owners Association is pleased to announce it has entered into a corporate partnership agreement with First American Payment Systems, one of the nation’s leading payment services providers.

    NGCOA members will now be able to save money and streamline processes through a holistic solution set, with both “off the shelf” payment processing options and more sophisticated payment technology that can integrate easily within golf software platforms. Payment technology integration options include recurring billing, online payments, secure payment technology with PCI compliance and integrated payments tools.

    “The cost of accepting and processing payments is a substantial one for golf course owners,” said Jay Karen, NGCOA CEO. “We are thrilled to have found a provider like First American who helps business owners manage payment processing in the most effective, cost-efficient manner possible.”

    “Simplifying your club’s payment services shouldn’t be complicated,” said Bill Lodes, First American’s EVP of Business Development & Strategy. “With First American, it’s a refreshing process. We are transparent. We do what we say we will do. Our customers stay with us because, as months turn into years, their experience with First American reflects exactly that.”

    NGCOA members can access First American’s products and services through the association’s Smart Buy Marketplace purchasing program at

  • PGA of America Becomes NGCOA Executive Partner

    The National Golf Course Owners Association is pleased to announce a new partnership with the PGA of America that actively supports the PGA's initiatives and also promotes the success of golf courses and the greater industry. This includes player and customer-development programs, education and curriculum support, and connectivity for PGA Career Services.

    As a new Executive Partner, the PGA of America will have increased recognition and active participation in NGCOA programs and services, including the Multi Course & Resort Operators Retreat 2019 (July 23-24 in Monterey, California); Golf Business Conference 2020 (Jan. 20-22, 2020, co-located with the 2020 PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Florida); and in both Golf Business magazine and the Golf Business Podcast throughout the year.

    "There has always been a great deal of synergy between the two organizations," said Jay Karen, NGCOA CEO. "We work together on several projects. For example, the NGCOA is bringing our Golf Business Conference to the PGA Merchandise Show, and we're assisting with education at the PGA Fashion & Demo Experience in August. It only makes sense to be in lockstep on more opportunities to support golf courses."

    "The PGA of America is dedicated to working with our Allied Associations to make a lasting impact on the future of the game," said PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh. "We are proud to partner with the NGCOA to drive new initiatives that evolve the game, as well as provide educational and employment opportunities for our Members and the golf industry."
  • NGCOA Members Save Up to 50% on HR and Payroll Costs

    The National Golf Course Owners Association is pleased to announce its newest corporate partnership agreement with Deluxe Payroll, one of the nation’s leading payroll and human resource services providers, and part of Deluxe Corporation, a trusted, tech-enabled solutions company. This new member benefit is now available through the association's purchasing program, the NGCOA Smart Buy Marketplace (

    "Payroll and human resource services can be costly, time-consuming and complicated, especially if the course doesn’t have a full-time, trained staff person handling it," said Jay Karen, NGCOA CEO. “Deluxe Payroll can act as the HR department for smaller golf course businesses, and a strong partner for golf businesses with larger staff and more complex requirements.”

    Within this new NGCOA member benefit, course owners and operators can choose from an array of flexible payroll and human resources solutions, including payroll processing and tax deposits, “Hire-to-Retire” solutions, a “Pay-As-You-Go” workers comp payment plan, integrated time and attendance platform, and much more, all fully-administered and supported by Deluxe Payroll. NGCOA members will also find value and convenience in having one single point of contact at Deluxe Payroll.

    “The partnership between Deluxe Payroll and the NGCOA is a natural fit,” said Brian Pfeifer, VP of Sales & Business Development for Deluxe Payroll. “For over 35 years, Deluxe Payroll has met diverse client needs and brought important innovations to the hospitality and golf course industry. Our superior customer service model and flexibility in meeting the needs of our clients has led to an industry-leading client retention rate. NGCOA members will receive the same high level of customer service from Deluxe Payroll that they receive from their association.”

    About Deluxe Corporation

    Deluxe is a trusted, tech-enabled solutions company, serving enterprises, small businesses and financial institutions, offering a range of solutions to help customers manage and grow their businesses. Approximately 4.8 million small business customers access Deluxe’s wide range of products and services, including incorporation services, logo design, website development and hosting, email marketing, social media, search engine optimization, payroll services along with customized checks and forms. For our approximately 4,600 financial institution customers, Deluxe offers industry-leading programs in data analytics, customer acquisition and treasury management solutions, including fraud prevention and profitability as well as checks. Deluxe is also a leading provider of checks and accessories sold directly to consumers. For more information, visit us at, or

    Deluxe Point of Contact:
    Brian Pfeifer, VP, Sales & Business Development,, 443-279-9000
  • NGCOA Launches 401(k) Program for Golf Industry

    The National Golf Course Owners Association is pleased to announce it is now offering its members an effective and competitive Lincoln Financial’s 401(k) Retirement Program, managed in partnership with Commonwealth Financial Group. This solution will help NGCOA members reduce their fiduciary and administrative responsibilities while offering an effective and competitive 401(k) plan benefit for their employees. Lincoln Financial’s products and services are now available to NGCOA members through the association’s Smart Buy Marketplace purchasing program (

    “Oftentimes the administrative and cost burdens of 401(k) programs prohibit smaller businesses from offering retirement benefits to their employees,” said Jay Karen, NGCOA CEO. “Because we can now aggregate our members under one umbrella, golf courses of all sizes will realize sizable reductions in fees and administrative responsibilities. We migrated the NGCOA headquarters program to Lincoln, and we immediately started saving and have access to a wide selection of well-performing investment options.”

    The NGCOA Multiple Employer 401(k) Program, powered by the Lincoln Financial Group, brings golf businesses a retirement plan that:

    • Allows the owner/operator to focus on the core business, and heavily reduce the administrative burden
    • Gives peace of mind, with reduced liability
    • Offers competitive/reduced administrative costs, with improved productivity, based on economy of scale
    • Is an easy approach to offering employees a quality benefit that can help them prepare for retirement 

    About Lincoln Financial Group's Retirement Plan Services

    For more than 50 years, Lincoln Financial Group’s Retirement Plan Services (RPS) business has been helping savers boost their retirement readiness through employer-sponsored plans. Our retirement plans help employers recruit and retain top talent, while our combination of high-tech and high-touch service creates an engaging customer experience that drives positive outcomes. The RPS business helps people understand how steps they take today can help them get to and through retirement tomorrow. The business serves approximately 1.5 million participants through 20,000 plan sponsors with $72 billion in assets under management as of September 30, 2018.
  • Annual Golf Business Conference to be Co-Located With PGA Merchandise Show Beginning in 2020

    CHARLESTON, S.C. (January 18, 2019) – The National Golf Course Owners Association, the PGA of America and PGA Golf Exhibitions have announced a multi-year, strategic alliance to co-locate the annual Golf Business Conference with the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, beginning in 2020.

    The Golf Business Conference, hosted by NGCOA for over thirty years, is the industry’s largest meeting specifically for golf course owners and operators.  The event typically has nearly forty classes and workshops on the most critical areas of golf course operations, a casual golf outing for attendees and sponsors to network, and an awards banquet to recognize some of the most significant contributors to the golf industry.  With PGA Golf Exhibitions’ operational assistance, the conference will be held at the Orange County Convention Center Monday through Wednesday, Jan. 20-22, 2020. Information about the Golf Business Conference and details of this year’s program can be found at

    “We are pleased to bring the Golf Business Conference to Orlando, a popular destination among golf course operators and vendor partners, during PGA Show Week, one of the biggest weeks of the year for the golf industry,” said NGCOA Chief Executive Officer, Jay Karen, CAE.  “NGCOA members will experience significant value in the new site and location for our event programming and we look forward to working with PGA Golf Exhibitions and the PGA of America to enhance the conference.”

    During the Golf Business Conference, the NGCOA will continue to offer a variety of sponsorship opportunities for vendors.  For vendors exhibiting at the PGA Merchandise Show, the 2020 Golf Business Conference schedule will allow course owners and operators ample time to explore the PGA Show Floor on Wednesday before the conference concludes, as well as all day Thursday and Friday.  Vendors of all kinds will have many options to see course owners and operators.

    “PGA Golf Exhibitions is pleased to work with the NGCOA on this valuable opportunity to further collaborate with owners and operators during PGA Show Week,” said PGA Golf Exhibitions Event Vice President Marc Simon.  “We look forward to the opportunity to welcome even more NGCOA members to connect face-to-face with leaders from all aspects of the industry to drive forward the business of golf and grow the sport.”

    “The PGA of America is excited that the new proximity of the NGCOA’s Golf Business Conference--beginning with next year’s PGA Merchandise Show--will create special collaboration opportunities for PGA Members to discover, learn and share best practices with golf course owners and operators,” said PGA President Suzy Whaley, PGA/LPGA. “For example, the alignment will lead to enhanced opportunities for PGA Professionals to access career-specific education topics that are important to course owners, as well as opportunities for owners to learn about the programs and initiatives that are important to our nearly 29,000 PGA Professionals.”

    The NGCOA will remain a partner of the Golf Industry Show (GIS) along with the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) GCBAA, ASGCA, NGF and USGA.  NGCOA will continue to host its semi-annual gathering of the Top Agronomic Officers at the GIS. For more information and to register for the 2019 GIS, which takes place Feb. 2-7 in San Diego, please visit The NGCOA plans to continue hosting the Golf Business TechCon and other new concept events each fall in the central and western areas of the United States.
  • NGCOA Offers Members Insurance in New Corporate Partnership

    “NGCOA Insurance Services” Makes Health, Property & Casualty, and Flood Mitigation Services Accessible and Affordable for Golf Courses of All Sizes

    Charleston, S.C. (January 29, 2019) - The National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA) is pleased to announce “NGCOA Insurance Services,” its newest member offering under a corporate partnership agreement with Holmes Murphy and Flood Risk America. This new partnership provides golf courses and their employees with comprehensive and cost-effective medical, property casualty, and flood mitigation service benefits.

    NGCOA member golf courses and their employees will have access to best rates on:

    • Medical & Pharmacy (includes Dental, Vision, Life and Disability insurance). NGCOA members can save an average of 10% on their healthcare and pharmacy spend.
    • Property & Casualty Insurance. NGCOA members eligible for captive solutions can earn an average 30% of premium, less for guaranteed cost plans.
    • Flood Mitigation Services. NGCOA members receive a detailed flood risk assessment, 24/7 flood monitoring, and 24/7 flood mitigation and defense.
    Learn more about NGCOA Insurance Services at

    “The majority of our member courses are small and medium-sized businesses, which are often challenged to find comprehensive and well-priced benefits and insurance for their employees and their properties,” said Jay Karen, Chief Executive Officer of NGCOA. “With the purchasing power of more than 3,500 member courses, our insurance partners are perfectly positioned to deliver great value for all our member courses - no matter the size.”

    “Holmes Murphy is proud to lend our national resources to this exciting new partnership with NGCOA. We feel our combined talents and expertise will only fuel what NGCOA already offers its golf courses and their employees around the country, said Greg Stitts, Vice President of Holmes Murphy. “Our goal has always been, and will continue to be, to grow and protect everything our insureds have worked so hard for. This partnership is better than ‘par’ and we’re excited to get it off the ground!”

    “Flood Risk America wants to establish a trusting relationship with our clients, while protecting their investments with the most superior flood protection measures,” said Tiffany Largey, Partner & COO of Flood Risk America/ Flood Risk Canada. “Our services allow golf course owners to remain worry-free, keep courses open after severe flooding events, and maintain overall member satisfaction.”