February 6 - 8 • San Antonio, TX

Premier Sponsor

  • Yamaha logo

Presenting Sponsors

  • John Deere Golf logo
  • Pepsi
  • Teesnap logo
  • Toro logo
  • TSYS logo

Participating Sponsors

  • entegra
  • Golf Genius Software
  • GolfZon
  • Hilda Allen Real Estate
  • Syngenta

Supporting Sponsor

  • FlingGolf
  • Sunbelt Rentals

techno facts


Facebook continues to have the most engaged users 70% log on daily, including 43% who do so several times a day.Pew Research Center, 2015


Monday, February 5


4:00 – 7:00 pm

NGCOA Registration Open

Marriott Rivercenter
3rd Floor - Registration Desk 1

Tuesday, February 6


6:00 am – 7:00 pm

NGCOA Registration Open

Marriott Rivercenter
3rd Floor - Registration Desk 1

NGCOA Golf Outing

(additional fee)

TPC San Antonio AT&T Oaks Course

The AT&T Oaks Course, designed by PGA Tour legend Greg Norman with player consultant Sergio Garcia, reflects the Tour’s departure from the modern tournament-style course (expansive grass areas and spectator mounding) to a more natural look and feel, without sacrificing the fan experience that makes it very tournament friendly. The AT&T Oaks Courses plays host to the PGA Tour’s Valero Texas Open.

6:45 am

Shuttles depart Marrioƒtt

7:30 – 8:30 am

Welcome breakfast for golfers

8:30 am

Shotgun start

Food/drink stations on course

8:30 am – 1:30/2:00 pm

Pre-Conference Workshop

(additional fee)

The Customer Journey: Understanding and delivering the critical steps of exemplary service

Presented by Whitney Reid Pennell, RCS Consulting

From the moment a customer drives through your gates until the time they put their bag in the car following the round, their experience has myriad moments of truth and touch points to make a memorable impression. Whitney Reid Pennell will lead attendees through a day-long workshop that walks attendees through the critical steps to creating an experience that keeps customers coming back for more.

    Using the tools and techniques that will be studied in this workshop, attendees will learn how to view the customer experience through his or her eyes. In turn, participants will:

  • • Develop a greater understanding of how their service map comes together for the customer experience
  • • Be able to identify critical service standards throughout the customer journey
  • • Gain a greater understanding of how staff communication shapes the experience
  • • Understand the importance of hospitality and consistency throughout the customer journey
4:00 – 4:45 pm

New Aƒttendee and Past President Reception

We want everyone, especially the “newbies,” to feel welcome and have the opportunity to connect with as many of their peers as possible. So, we’ve set up a special orientation for our new attendees to meet one another and mingle with NGCOA board members, past presidents, chapter executive directors and NGCOA staff.

5:00 – 7:00 pm

Opening Keynote: Kickstart Your Experience

Presented by Max Brown Director of Leadership, Shingo Institute

Max Brown headshotFollowing a day on the links or in the classroom, we’ll reconvene at the Marriott Rivercenter for a high-energy opening session that promises to both inspire and inform. This “can’t-miss” event will officially kick-off the Golf Business Conference and set the stage for an exciting week filled with countless opportunities to CONNECT with peers from around the globe; LEARN from some of the brightest and most successful people in the industry; and GROW your business with tips and tools you can immediately incorporate into your operations.

7:00 – 9:00 pm

Opening Reception

Wind down from a jam-packed first day of activities by gathering with other attendees to enjoy a few drinks and a taste of Texas at the ever-popular Opening Reception. There’s no better way to meet and mingle with friends, old and new, while making new acquaintances and forging new relationships.


Wednesday, February 7


8:00 am – 5:00 pm

NGCOA Registration Open

Marriott Rivercenter
3rd Floor - Registration Desk 1
8:00 am – 5:00 pm

NGCOA Registration Open

Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center
Hall 1 - Street Level
8:45 – 9:00 am

Golf Industry Show Kick-Off

Leaders from the National Golf Course Owners Association and the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America open the doors to the San Antonio Convention Center and officially start the 2018 Golf Industry Show.

9:00 – 11:45 am

Golf Industry Show

Spend time on the trade show floor visiting vendor partners and learn about innovative products and services designed to help you run a better operation.

12:00 – 2:00 pm

General Session: The Economy At Your Clubhouse Doors

(lunch included)

Presented by Bernard Baumohl, Chief Global Economist, The Economic Outlook Group

Rarely have Americans confronted so much uncertainty about the future. Business leaders today have to navigate through a minefield of economic, political and geopolitical hazards. Yet decisions have to be made even in this unstable environment. So where is the U.S. economy really headed and why? What are the greatest domestic and foreign risks the hospitality industry faces? And which steps should this industry undertake to best protect their business from future exogenous shocks? Noted economist Bernard Baumohl will shed light on these issues and offer suggestions to protect your business from potentially unforeseen challenges.

2:15 – 3:15 pm

Education Block

(5 concurrent sessions)

Rain, Rain, Come Back Every Day: Creating a plan to make your facility a rainmaker

Bill Van Valer, GM at StonyCreek Golf Club in Noblesville, IN; Monty Riffer, president, The Riffer Group

We all know the good ol’ days have long since passed, yet many course owners have been slow to adapt to change. To keep pace, you need to make business happen, not hope for it to happen. In this session, you’ll learn how to develop a strategic plan based on GOSPA (goals, objectives, strategies, plans, actions) methodology, which eliminates the reactionary behavior and puts you back in the driver's seat of your business. Better still, you’ll head back to your course with actionable steps and a GOSPA outline to implement at your facility.



The Language of Love: Using the written word to woo golfers and forge lasting relationships

Allison George, Toad Valley Golf Course

The “courtship” of a golfer begins long before he or she walks up to your counter to check in; it starts when they receive your emails, peruse your website, read your blog or skim your marketing collateral. So what are you saying to them? And more importantly, is your writing connecting with them or repelling them? In this session, you’ll learn how to get inside golfers’ heads and communicate with them in a way that will make them lifelong lovers of the game—and your course.



The Secret Sauce: Universal keys to success

Ken Campbell, Co-Owner and Chief Operating Officer, Greenway Golf; George Kelley, CEO and Principal, Greenway Golf;

Every golf facility is different, but the most successful ones have “it”—that unique blend of offerings and service that separates them from all the others. History shows that there traits common to the courses and clubs around the country that dominate their respective markets. In this session, you’ll discover what those keys to success are and, more importantly, learn how you can apply them at your facility.



Player Payday: Increasing Revenue Through Player Development Programs

Ted Eleftheriou, PGA – PGA of America Director of Golf Program Development

We all think we’re in the business of selling tee times, merchandise, and golf lessons, but are we really? Does our current focus on business “transactions” really create loyal customers, pr might there be a better way? Join this interactive and engaging experience and discover how your PGA golf professional is uniquely positioned to offer player development products and services that inspire, engage, convert and retain new and existing golfers. If you’re looking to maximize revenue, you can’t afford to miss this.

3:30 – 4:30 pm

Education Block

(5 concurrent sessions)

Taking Control: Things Your GM and Controller Should Be Doing (But Probably Aren't)

Ron Zraick, director, Petrinovich, Pugh & Co.; former general manager, Cinnabar Hills

Your controller is your most important “non-golf” resource. The financial information he or she provides is vital to your business and can help you maximize your golf course’s bottom line. In this session, we’ll discuss the data your controller should provide on a daily, weekly and monthly schedule that will give you quick insights into your operations. You’ll also learn how to standardize your financial operations to make your job easier, and explore ways to most effectively utilize your relationship with your accountant.



Get In the Game With a Better Way to Train

Whitney Reid Pennell, RCS Consulting

Managing a multigenerational workforce presents a unique set of training challenges. What motivates boomers may very well have the opposite effect on millennials. So how can a course operator bridge this divide and manage all employees in a way that produces a consistent experience for customers? Simple: better training. In this session, you’ll gain a greater understanding of each generation’s learning preferences and examine best practices for employee training that “sticks.”



Thinking Outside the Tee Box

Don Rea, PGA, Augusta Ranch

Sure, you’re in the golf business and your biggest source of income is your course. But sometimes—particularly when times get tough and money is tight—you have to get creative when looking to generate non-golf revenue. Maybe it’s developing unique ways to work with your HOA to create community events. Or, perhaps, it’s leasing out your restaurant or using your maintenance equipment to start a landscaping company. It could even be something as unorthodox as selling your course to the local HOA and then leasing it back. In this session, you’ll hear examples of course owners who experienced dramatic upticks in business and cash flow when they allowed themselves to think beyond the proverbial tee box.



When Business as Usual Won’t Do

Ted Eleftheriou, PGA – PGA of America Director of Golf Program Development

Are we focusing on customer transactions or customer experiences? Are we managing the customer experience, or just opening our doors and hoping people will do business with us? This education session will explore why people want to do business with us and what we can do to surpass those expectations. This session will also examine current golf customer attraction strategies and discover why business as usual won’t do. Come prepared to learn, share and engage in the conversation!

4:45 – 5:45 pm

Education Block

(5 concurrent sessions)

Technology for Facility Management

Shane Riley, Scott Lake CC

GPS for fleet management. Point-of-sales systems for tee time booking and customer data collection. Automated time sheet management. In this session, discover how technology is changing the way course operators manage the front and back of the house, and gain tips on ways to use it more effectively.



The "Weinstein Effect": What Employers Can Expect in the New Era of Sexual Harassment Awareness

Tiffany Cox, Shareholder, Ogletree-Deakins

The accusations that Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein allegedly engaged in sexual misconduct for decades have brought about “one of the most rapid changes in corporate behavior in generations,” according to one recent report. In the wake of the #MeToo movement, which has emboldened women to speak out in record numbers about their experiences with sexual harassment in the workplace, employers are scrutinizing how their employees work with one another—and what it can mean to their reputations and brands. This session will analyze the challenges employers face in the post-Weinstein era.



In the Flow: Boost your cash flow by discovering savings from your vendor base

David Hamilton, Vice President of National Accounts, ICS/Entegra

Doing a good job of managing expenses? Wondering if you’re still leaving money on the table? Curious to know if you are, how much, and how to get it? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’re not alone; research has shown that most companies are over-paying suppliers by 10 percent to 30 percent. This session will explore the most common misconceptions in working with suppliers and offer proven ways to reign in those costs through proven expense management techniques.



Makeshift Marketing

Michelle Wittig, GM at Juday Creek Golf Course in Granger, Indiana

The prospect of marketing your golf course can be overwhelming, especially when your budget is even smaller than your small business. The good news is that generating buzz doesn’t have to cost thousands or even hundreds of dollars. Attend this session and you’ll learn simple ways to creatively market your course on a shoestring budget—or even no budget at all.


Thursday, February 8


6:30 am – 5:00 pm

NGCOA Registration Open

Marriott Rivercenter
3rd Floor - Registration Desk 1
8:30 am – 5:00 pm

NGCOA Registration Open

Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center
Hall 1 - Street Level
8:15 – 8:45 am

General Business Meeting

8:45 – 10:00 am

General Session: Role Reversal: MCO leaders reflect on how they’d run a single course

Moderator: Cathy Harbin, PGA
Panel: Dana Garmany, CEO, Troon Golf; Peter Hill, Co-Founded, Billy Casper Golf; Jim Hinckley, CEO, Century Golf Partners and American Golf Corp

Have you ever wondered what the “big guys”—leaders from multi-course ownership and management companies (MCOs)—would do if they were asked to walk a mile in your shoes? In this highly entertaining session, we’ll reverse the roles and seek input from a panel of esteemed MCOs as to how they would approach operating a golf course if it was the only facility under their charge. Their answers just may surprise you—or, better still, inspire you.

10:15 – 11:15 am

Education Block

(5 concurrent sessions)

Rain, Rain, Come Back Every Day: Creating a plan to make your facility a rainmaker (REPEAT)

Bill Van Valer, GM, StonyCreek Golf Club in Noblesville, IN; Monty Riffer, president, The Riffer Group

We all know the good ol’ days have long since passed, yet many course owners have been slow to adapt to changes. To keep pace, you need to make business happen, not hope for it to happen. In this session, you’ll learn how to develop a strategic plan based on GOSPA (goals, objectives, strategies, plans, actions) methodology, which eliminates the reactionary behavior and puts you back in the driver's seat of your business. Better still, you’ll head back to your course with actionable steps and a GOSPA outline to implement at your facility.



Experiential Events

David Frem, Cyprian Keyes Golf Club

When it comes to special events at golf courses, most people think of the typical tournament or outing. However, when it comes to utilizing your facility for revenue-generating opportunities, the sky truly is the limit. From holiday parties to baby and bridal showers to christenings and Bar Mitzvahs, your club can be the “go to” place in your community for individuals and groups looking to host an unforgettable event. In this highly-informative session, course owner David Frem will share the strategies he’s used to develop a business unit that accounts for nearly 400 events annually. You’ll leave with simple, inexpensive tips to create unique and entertaining events that benefit customers, build relationships and ultimately boost profits.



Social Media Inspiration

Allison George, Toad Valley Golf Course

Developing a social media strategy for your business involves much more than setting up a Facebook page. In fact, there's an art to effectively using this medium to increase engagement with current and potential customers. Join us for this session and gain some tips and tricks to creating content that connects with your target audience and inspires action. You’ll also learn how to create a 30-day posting schedule that drives traffic to your golf facility.



Flash Forward: Building Tomorrow's Golf Course Today

Harvey Silverman, Quick.golf

Remember the jaw-dropping vision of the future Disney's Tomorrowland showed us was possible? As we walked the grounds as awe-inspired children, it was hard not to imagine that one day we too might be living in a world no different than what we saw in The Jetsons or Back to the Future 2. But that universe may not be so unrealistic. Picture your golf course with self-driving carts and drone food delivery, or even smart balls that find themselves and robotic caddies. In this interactive, audience-driven session, create a "Tomorrowland" for your golf course using tech ideas already developed for other industries that will attract younger audiences to your business and increase your revenue.

11:30 am – 12:30 pm

Education Block

(5 concurrent sessions)

From Lemons To Lemonade

Panel: Don Rea, PGA, Augusta Ranch; Del Ratcliffe, Ratcliffe Golf Services; Rock Lucas, Charwood Country Club

It’s been said that one of the best ways to learn is from your mistakes. Sure, the pain of failure may sting for some time, but more often than not, the lessons prove invaluable from a business perspective. Join us for this session as fellow course owners and operators share stories of the mistakes they’ve made—and how they’ve used those missteps to ultimately better their business.



The Art of the Deal: Getting the most out of your SaaS vendor relationship

Mike Zisman, Golf Genius

Is your relationship with your software-as-a-service (SaaS) vendor as mutually beneficial as it should be? If you’re not sure, this session is definitely for you. You’ll gain insights on dealing with SaaS providers and learn what to look for in a contract and subscription agreement. Who owns your data (you or the SaaS supplier) and how do you get it when the contract expires? What are the vendor’s service level commitments, how are they measured, and how do you ensure you’re treated fairly? How can the supplier use your names, logos and trademarks in their marketing efforts? These are just a few of the critical issues we’ll examine in this can’t-miss class.



Strength In Numbers: Simple ways to use data to increase revenue

Mike Loustalot, ORCA Report

For years, industry advisors have implored course owners and operators to submit monthly rounds played numbers and other performance data. And for years those efforts have been met with a collective shrug and yielded modest (at best) results. If you fall into that category, you could be leaving a lot of money on the table. In this session, you’ll gain an understanding of how facility historical and competitive rate set data can be used with simple revenue management techniques to grow NOI by 10 percent or more. Supported by real-word examples, this session will also provide insights into using benchmarking numbers to improve communication between operators and owners; manage third-party marketing outlets; and make sound pricing decisions with historical data.

Survey Says: Results from the Golf USA Tee Time Coalition and how they impact you

Jared Williams, GUSATTC

Findings from Golf USA Tee Time Coalition’s first comprehensive survey of course operator sentiment related to online tee time agents (OTTAs) is out, and the results are, well, interesting. Join managing director Jared Williams as he dissects the findings and offers insights as to ways the survey can be used to better management your relationship with OTTAs.

12:30 – 2:30 pm

Working Lunch & Closing General Session: Problem Busters

Course owners and operators share the problems and concerns that are keeping them up and night and crowdsource answers in this lively and entertaining exchange of ideas.

2:45 – 5:00 pm

Golf Industry Show

Spend time on the trade show floor visiting vendor partners and learn about innovative products and services designed to help you run a better operation.

6:30 – 9:00 pm

Celebration & Awards Dinner

Association members, golf course operators, industry leaders, friends and supporters will gather for a special evening of networking, recognition and camaraderie. During the event, the NGCOA will honor association award winners.


register