I was a huge fan of Greek and Roman mythology when I was a kid. Clash of the Titans was my favorite movie, and I loved translating the Aeneid in high school Latin class. I know, I should’ve gotten out more. But I was on the golf team, so there’s that! Each year at this time, I remember the lesson of the Roman god, Janus, who was the god of beginnings and transitions and had two faces: One looking to the past, one to the future. As we ring in the New Year, it’s a chance for all of us to reflect on how our year went—personally and professionally—and make commitments and resolutions for the next year. Writing this column allows me to reflect on 2017, and share with you what we’re planning for 2018 at the NGCOA.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t give personal thanks and recognition to Rock Lucas, owner of Charwood Country Club in Columbia, S.C. Rock has been our board president for the past two years, and has done a masterful job living up to his name by leading the board and organization in a time of substantial change. He’ll soon pass the gavel to the ever-capable Dick Stuntz, owner and operator of Oaks Golf in Lawrence, Kansas. Rest assured, the NGCOA will be in capable hands for another biennium.
Here are some highlights from 2017:
- We started the year with the Golf Business Conference and Golf Industry Show in Orlando, where hundreds of operators learned, shared and honored some of the best in our business. Thanks to NGCOA member, Ron Jaworski, for kicking the meeting off with a reminder that success is in everyone’s reach.
- NGCOA partnered with ORCA to bring a key performance indicator and benchmarking program to the public course sector. Course operators are receiving incredible insights on revenue, rounds and channel mix (including analysis on bartered rounds). Members save upward of 50 percent off subscription rates. Click here to get signed up!
- We hosted a successful Golf Business TechCon in Las Vegas, where we saw a mix of tech companies and tech enthusiasts gather to discuss where golf operators can take their businesses.
- NGCOA had the biggest increase in attendance at the 10th annual National Golf Day in Washington, D.C., where we made the voice of our industry heard by our elected officials. Click here for a recap.
- The 22nd MCO Retreat was held in Monterey, California, where the nation’s largest owners and operators met.
- Several new Smart Buy suppliers were added to the family, offering discounts to our members. Those included DirecTV, Steele Benefits, ADP, GOLFZON, Capital One and Snagajob. Click here to see all the deals.
- Our Advocacy staff assisted badly-damaged golf courses in Puerto Rico and other locations after the horrendous storms by orchestrating assistance and resources. In addition, they published a helpful resource on how to wisely choose and work with merchant processors.
- We closed out the year with 5 percent more NGCOA members and 3 percent more courses.
Looking into 2018, I’m pleased to share the following announcements and plans:
- We are excited to announce a few senior staff changes at NGCOA, which will ensure the members and industry are well-served by passionate professionals leaning forward into our priorities. Click here to read.
- The annual Golf Business Conference is right around the corner (San Antonio, February 6-8), where we’ll have a greater number of workshops and networking opportunities conducted by successful peers. Don’t miss the golf outing or the pre-conference, hands-on workshop on customer service. And we’re pleased to honor the LPGA and other industry greats at the closing banquet, where LPGA Commissioner, Mike Whan, and LPGA legend, Nancy Lopez, will join us. Click here to register today!
- In the first quarter, we’ll launch the official Golf Business Podcast series, which will bring weekly interviews and content to membership on important operations and industry matters.
- The 23rd MCO Retreat will be held in Chicago in mid-July, which will include a visit to the Jemsek family’s famed Cog Hill Golf Club. The nation’s top resort officers, as well as top agronomist officers, will be included. We look forward to hosting this event in the Midwest for the very first time.
- Golf Business TechCon will return in October, again in Las Vegas. While we’re not sure this will be an annual event, more conversations must be had and more tech companies want to participate, so we’re happy to host this event once again.
- Our Advocacy staff anticipates publishing a golf course owners guide to the changing landscape of marijuana legalization and what it means for your business. And as the tax legislation in Washington becomes clearer, we’ll offer explanations and guidance for our members
We have more wonderful announcements and member benefits up our sleeve and will enjoy the element of surprise at the proper times.
The NGCOA remains committed to several industry-wide initiatives involving our allied associations, to ensure a collaborative approach to our industry’s issues—and to make sure the needs of owners and operators are shared and supported by others.
And on a personal note, as I begin my 45th year on this earth, my 19th year as a husband and 13th year as a father, I have several things I want to accomplish. Of course, trimming down to my fighting weight is on my list after a gluttonous season of feasting. But I’ll have a list of resolutions aimed at being the best man I can be to my family, friends and strangers. Here’s hoping you have a wonderful 2018.