NGCOA Annual Conference


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events & educational sessions

There’s nothing stale or static about the 2017 event…attendees will have the opportunity to learn and network at a variety of unique settings and venues.


Tuesday, February 7
6 am - 9 am and 10 am - 7 pm
NGCOA Registration Open
Rosen Centre


NGCOA Club Car Golf Outing (additional fee)

Shuttles depart Rosen Centre - 7 am, 7:30 am and 8 am
Welcome Breakfast for golfers - 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Shotgun Start - 9 am

Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate offers the ideal destination for your next Orlando golf vacation. The resort features two championship 18-hole golf courses designed by accomplished architect and golfer Greg Norman and a lighted nine-hole, par 3 golf course, and is the world headquarters for the David Leadbetter Golf Academy. Golfers also enjoy the convenience of walk-out golf with a continuous golf cart shuttle to and from the golf course and academy. The 36 holes of world-class golf at ChampionsGate were designed to offer golfers a blend of traditional and modern elements, creating a truly unique golf course in Orlando.

Shuttles back to Rosen Centre - 2:00, 2:30, and 3:00 pm


Pre-Conference Workshop: Marketing In a Digital Age (additional fee)

11 am - 3 pm
Rosen Centre, Grand B

Next Generation Marketing With Technology
Presented by Robert Rose, Chief Strategy Officer, Content Marketing Institute

Marketing is fundamentally different today. This much we know. From email to web, mobile to blogging, and even social media, the entire landscape of marketing a business using digital tools has changed. Perhaps you’ve found that you’re a bit lost in an overwhelming sea of technology solutions. Or, maybe you feel like you haven’t gotten what you really need out of the technology you’ve already bought.

Join us for this half-day workshop, where we’ll dive into the critical issues of marketing with technology. You’ll get practical advice, best practices and actual case studies to bring you and/or your team to the next level.

What you’ll gain:

  • An understanding of how the practice of marketing has changed, and how technology is helping to facilitate businesses to market faster, better and with deeper insight into customers than ever before.
  • An examination of technology that enables demand generation and customer conversion. Which technologies should you be using to reach new customers.
  • An overview of email and content marketing practices and the technologies that enable them. Identify 10 things that you’re not doing today, that you could start doing tomorrow. Address the biggest mistakes that business owners make with email marketing, websites and the development of blogs.
  • A deeper understanding of social media tools and social marketing. We’ll highlight the real opportunities with social channels, and show you how to make practical decisions about your social media efforts.
  • A measurement plan that actually works. We’ll look at web analytics, social media and email marketing metrics to separate the numbers from those insights that actually help you move your business forward.

Together, we’ll walk through how technology can work together to help you get a lot more out of the marketing you’re already doing—and enable you to do some of the marketing that you haven’t yet tried.


Opening Session - Keynote

4 - 5:30 pm
Rosen Centre, Grand A

The Game Changer: Lessons learned in football and business

Presented by Ron “Jaws” Jaworski

When it comes to teamwork—and football—the best defense is a good offense. So if you want to protect your brand like an NFL offensive line protects its quarterback, you’ll definitely want to hear from Ron “Jaws” Jaworski. After a distinguished 17-year career as an NFL quarterback, Jaws took his leadership skills from the gridiron to the boardroom as the owner of a professional sports team, a business relationship company and six golf courses. He’s also the author of “The Games That Changed the Game,” which highlights seven games in NFL history that changed the strategies and tactics used in NFL football. Jaws will entertain, inspire and enlighten as he shares strategies and tactics you can put in place to tackle your company’s challenges.


New Attendee & Past President Reception

6 - 7 pm
Rosen Centre, Salon 13/14

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, to mingle with NGCOA Board Members, Past Presidents, Chapter Executive Directors and NGCOA staff.


Opening Reception

7 - 9 pm
Grand A & B


Wednesday, February 8
7 am - 5 pm
NGCOA Registration Open
Orange County Convention Center


Grab & Go Breakfast

8 am - 8:45 am
Rosen Centre

Golf Industry Show opens

9 am - 5 pm
Orange County Convention Center

Education, networking, business solutions and the latest products and services combine to create the largest exhibit floor in the industry. The annual GIS trade show is an invaluable experience that gives owners, superintendents, technicians and other golf management professionals the opportunity to educate themselves on the latest trends in turf and facility care.

General Session: Sharing the Vision

Presented by Lodewijk Klootwijk, CEO, EGCOA
Orange County Convention Center West Concourse - W109

The world is changing, so should golf. That’s the crux of Vision 2020, an in-depth research project undertaken by the European Golf Course Owners Association (EGCOA) to establish an overview of the region’s golf industry and create an outlook for the development of golf through 2020. With a focus on four Fs—Fun, Friendship, Family and Flexibility—Vision 2020 serves as a compass that course owners can use to determine their own direction based on the characteristics and needs of their respective markets. In this eye-opening presentation, Lodewijk Klootwijk, CEO of the EGCOA, will share findings from Vision 2020 and inspire attendees to use the lessons learned from the project to make good, strategic decisions for their facilities, regardless of where they’re located.

Networking Break

10:15 - 10:30 am

Education Block 1 (5 concurrent sessions)
10:30 - 11:45 am
Turbo Boost: Supercharge your target marketing with Facebook ads
Presented by Allison George, Wizard of Fun, Toad Valley Golf Course; Pleasant Hill, IA
Orange County Convention Center West Concourse - W101

Take your Facebook ads to the next level. Learn how to market to golfers in your area by dialing-in your marketing efforts and creating Facebook ads that help drive traffic to your business and website. In this hands-on, interactive session, Allison George will share the process she used to increase her green fee sales by $50,000. She’ll walk attendees through developing a yearlong plan, setting a budget, and installing the Facebook Pixel on your website, allowing you to track how well Facebook is working for you.

Team of Teams: 3 vital steps to drive high performance at your facility
Presented by Lyne Tumlinson, Lift Team Coaching
Orange County Convention Center West Concourse - W102

It’s one thing to say you have good team chemistry and quite another to actually have it—and leverage it for success. In this informative session, you’ll learn how to bridge the gap between sales, operations and golf course maintenance functions, and create a team that works together for the common good of the company. By creating a positive employee culture of collaboration and innovation, you’ll be able to drive customer recruitment and retention and boost performance at your facility.

Your Next Best Customer
Orange County Convention Center West Concourse - W103

If you've been in business for even a short while, you know it's easier and cheaper to sell to existing customers than to go out and find new ones. But a business can't survive on current customers alone. So how do you go about identifying the “new breed” of golfer and converting them to loyal customers, particularly given that they’re the most educated, ethnically diverse and technologically adept generation the world has ever seen. In this “must attend” session, experts will share insights on how to turn new patrons into brand evangelists.

Sharpening the Vision
Presented by Lodewijk Klootwijk, CEO, EGCOA
Orange County Convention Center West Concourse - W104

Picking up where he left off in his general session, “Sharing the Vision,” Lodewijk Klootwijk will lead attendees through an interactive workshop designed to get the creative juices flowing. Participants will pair off into roundtables to engage in lively discussions and idea-sharing exercise to determine ways to put Vision 2020’s findings into practice. Ultimately, they’ll leave inspired to implement changes that position their facilities as progressive centers of entertainment in touch with the wants and needs of a new breed of customer.

Leadership Tactics For Operational Excellence
Presented by Cathy Harbin, President, OnCourse Operations
Orange County Convention Center West Concourse - W105

The key to operational excellence is maintaining a balance between creating memorable experiences for your members and guests, providing a positive work environment for your employees, and delivering a profitable club. In this session, Cathy Harbin, former managing director of Golf 20/20, will explore tactics to ensure your operation is positioned for success.

Lunch on Show Floor
11:45 am - 1:30 pm

Join us for lunch on the trade show floor at the Bistro, located at the back of Hall WA4. Unwind from a busy morning while you enjoy restaurant-style dining and continue to connect with your peers. After lunch, give yourself an added break and stop by the GIS Merchandise Store located adjacent to the Bistro to peruse hundreds of items. *All NGCOA Full Conference or Bundle Attendees receive a voucher for a free lunch. All other attendees may pay with cash or a credit/debit card ($22 each day).

Education Block 2 (5 concurrent sessions)
1:30 - 2:30 pm

Food & Beverage 101
Presented by Mike Holtzman, President, Profitable Food Systems
Orange County Convention Center West Concourse - W101

Few areas of a golf operation confound course owners like the food-and-beverage department. But it doesn’t have to. In this session, Mike Holtzman of Profitable Food Systems will discuss common mistakes to avoid and share menu concepts that can lead to successful concession sales. He’ll also explain how to maintain profitable food and labor percentages and review the fundamentals of successful concession design.

Marketing On a Shoestring
Orange County Convention Center West Concourse - W104

The weak economy and insipid demand may have reduced your advertising budget to a shoestring, but you realize doing nothing is tantamount to giving up on your business. Fear not—tough times can actually be a catalyst for innovation. This session will highlight unique ways course operators have blended old-fashioned values with new-age technology to create a kind of marketing that generates business without breaking the bank.

The Power of Perception: Using public relations to drive business
Presented by Rich Katz, Founder/Managing Director, Buffalo.Agency
Orange County Convention Center West Concourse - W103

Advertising and social media marketing have their place, but if you’re hoping to get the word out about your business, public relations is the answer. From developing relationships with media to enhancing your image in the court of public opinion, public relations gives your business the platform it needs to shine and build credibility for your company. Attendees will learn how to develop a public relations plan that targets specific audiences and delivers results.

Back For More: Unlocking the secrets of customer retention
Presented by Emily Clark, VP of marketing, Billy Casper Golf; Danielle Hopper, director of marketing and sales for Billy Casper Signature
Orange County Convention Center West Concourse - W104

There’s no shortage of programs and ideas designed to attract new players to the game, but the majority fall short in an area that’s far more critical to long-term success: customer retention. This highly interactive session will explore ways to foster loyalty among your new customers while strengthening relationships and enhancing engagement with longtime supporters.

On the Move: Simple ways to accelerate your on-course sales
Presented by John Sido, Marketing, Sales & Customer Support, 19th Hole Cart LLC
Orange County Convention Center West Concourse - W105

It’s no secret that growing revenues outside the clubhouse is vital. This session will explore multiple, easy-to-implement ideas to boost revenues with your on-course, mobile merchandising and sales. Topics will include: using the four building blocks of retail success; implementing simple and easy ideas to create real revenue growth; reviewing the brand promise as it relates to revenue growth; and management action. Participants will leave with specific tools and techniques to implement next season. This session will revolutionize how you sell merchandise, what you should sell, and how it should be sold.


Networking Break
2:30 - 2:45 pm

Education Block 3 (5 concurrent sessions)
2:45 - 3:45 pm

Kicking Things Up: Advanced food-and-beverage operations
Presented by Mike Holtzman, President, Profitable Food Systems
Orange County Convention Center West Concourse - W101

So you feel fairly comfortable with the basics of food-and-beverage operations, but now what? Picking up where he left off in the “Food & Beverage 101,” Mike Holtzman of Profitable Food Systems will kick things up a notch by showing participants how to analyze their menu mix to increase profits and delve into menu engineering. This session will break down the barriers that are holding back your food-and-beverage operation and provide simple solutions to build a business that tickles taste buds and loosens customers’ purse strings.

Breaking Barriers
Presented by Joshua Doxtator, GM, Thornberry Creek at Oneida; Oneida, WI
Orange County Convention Center West Concourse - W102

Golf, as an industry, is notoriously slow to change. But if the game and business are to thrive in the “new normal,” the industry must be innovative in creating new players because the traditional way of doing things no longer works. Understanding the barriers that today's potential players have is crucial to developing programs to attract them that are viable and sustainable. Attendees of this session will learn how to identify the barriers to designing a successful player development program, create innovative programming based on eliminating those barriers, and eliminate complacency and execute all the time.

Show Me the Money: Strategies for acquiring golf assets, getting the most out when selling the asset and obtaining a loan for your facility
Presented by Steven Ekovitch, Marcus & Millichap
Orange County Convention Center West Concourse - W103

If you’ve recently thought about acquiring a golf asset, considered selling or tried to borrow money for capital improvements or other needs, you know how difficult it can be. But it isn’t impossible. In this session, experts from the Leisure Investment Property Group of Marcus & Millichap will discuss recent trends related to acquiring and securing loans for golf assets, and share tips for selling a course at the highest price. They’ll also offer strategies that course owners and club boards can use to improve their chances of getting the best outcome.

It's a Data-Driven World
Presented by Del Ratcliffe, President, Ratcliffe Golf Services; Charlotte, NC
Orange County Convention Center West Concourse - W104

Do you know who your customers are and how to increase their loyalty to your brand? This session will introduce various strategies and proven tactics that can be implemented at your facility to collect, segment and utilize contactable data from golfers. Learn how to engage customers based on their behavior, guard against golfers leaving your nest, and increase their value to your facility. It could mean the difference between profit and loss.

Setting Up For Success
Presented by Arthur Little
Orange County Convention Center West Concourse - W105

Most golf course owners spend hours educating themselves on ways to improve their businesses, but few dedicate an adequate amount of time to ensuring that the most integral part of their operation—the golf course—is positioned for success by making it fit the weakest spectrum of golfers. In this session, Arthur Little, a former golf course owner and co-author of “Setting Up Golf Courses for Success,” will share simple and effective ways course operators can grow their customer bases and, perhaps more importantly, their bottom lines by ensuring their courses are tailored to the skill level of their golfers, particularly women, juniors and senior men. This is a can’t-miss event for anyone interested in growing this segment of potential golfers.

Smart Buy Happy Hour (NGCOA Exclusive)
4 - 5 pm

Join Golf Business Conference attendees for a happy hour sponsored by the NGCOA’s Smart Buy partners. Not only do these Smart Buy partners provide you unique, member-only offers, but they also help you save money.

Thursday, February 9
6:30 am - 5 pm
NGCOA Registration Open
Orange County Convention Center


Grab & Go Breakfast
7 - 7:45 am

General Session & General Business Meeting
The Industry Hot List
Orange County Convention Center West Concourse - W109


Networking Break
9:15 - 9:30 am

Education Block 4 (5 concurrent sessions)
9:30 - 10:45 am
A View From the Top: Lessons traditional golf courses can glean from Topgolf
Presented by Jeehae Lee, Director of Business Strategy, Topgolf
Orange County Convention Center West Concourse - W101

There’s no arguing that Topgolf is resonating with golfers and non-golfers alike, particularly the younger demographics. In this session, executives from Topgolf will explain the company’s business model and why it’s striking a chord with so many people. Then, they’ll offer ideas and insights the industry can take from Topgolf—and vice versa.

5 Steps To Achieve Profit Growth for Your Club
Presented by Ryan Doerr, President, Strategic Club Solutions
Orange County Convention Center West Concourse - W102

Looking to grow your customer base, boost revenue and increase profits? Of course you are—but it’s easier said than done. This session will unlock the keys to generating more of all three through a proven formula that’s fully executable by you and your team. Whether you’re planning your budget or re-tooling your current strategy, this workshop will identify five steps to achieve at least a 46 percent increase in profits.

Creating Synergy: Simple tips for working with online tee time agents
Orange County Convention Center West Concourse - W103

There’s no topic in the industry today more polarizing than third-party online tee time distribution. Some operators love it. Others hate it. And some just don’t know what to make of it. Regardless of your position, if you’re going to work with an online tee time agent (OTTA), there are some things you should—or perhaps more appropriately, shouldn’t—do. In this session, experts will address the pitfalls that can be encountered when working with OTTAs and offer tips to ensure your best interests are preserved.

Building Community: Simple ways to make your facility a hub for community activity
Orange County Convention Center West Concourse - W104

Whether through alternative golf events, tried-and-true non-golf activities or entirely new uses, savvy operators leverage their amazing outdoor resource—their golf course—to create a communal environment that drives residents to their facility. In this thought-provoking session, learn how to position your facility as the go-to place for fun and fellowship within your community. By developing a “new breed” of events and offerings, you can expose more potential golf, outing or restaurant customers to your property and drive more revenue to your business.

Change, Evolve or Lose
Orange County Convention Center West Concourse - W105

Why does your customer spend his or her recreational dollars at your club versus your competitor? If you don’t know the answer to that question, you’re operating in the dark—and it’s only going to get worse. Status quo does not work in today’s highly competitive golf market. In this highly energetic and entertaining session, you will learn how to design and implement your guest’s experience to ensure your club is able to change, evolve and win in your marketplace.


Networking Break
10:45 - 11 am

Education Block 5 (5 concurrent sessions)
11 am - 12 noon
Waste Not, Want Not: Recognizing the economic and environmental benefits of closing your course’s waste loop
Presented by Travis Lesser, Owner & Founder, Spring Mill Solutions
Orange County Convention Center West Concourse - W101

As the costs that go into operating a golf facility continue to rise, progressive operators are exploring unique ways to maintain or increase margins by creating a more self-sustaining operation. This session will explore ways to close a facility’s waste loop through recycling, composting and landfill waste reduction, thereby reducing such operating costs as tipping fees, soil amendments and water use. Attendees will also learn how to find ways to create small revenue streams that help these programs pay for themselves.

Getting More Out of NGCOA
Presented by Joe Rice, Chief Strategy Officer, NGCOA
Orange County Convention Center West Concourse - W102

Are you getting all you can out of your NGCOA membership? If you’re not sure, then this session is definitely for you. Join Joe Rice, chief strategy officer of the NGCOA, for a deep dive into all the benefits of membership in the NGCOA can bring to you. From Golf Business to Accelerate to advocating on your behalf, the NGCOA is committed to your success.

Tales of the Turf
Orange County Convention Center West Concourse - W103

Tending to turf isn’t typically at the top of a course owner’s list of duties, but protecting the facility’s most precious asset is always be top of mind. Whether it’s a new way to reduce maintenance costs or upcoming regulations that could change a management practice, smart operators understand the importance of staying abreast of agronomic trends. This lesson will explore some of the current turf-related issues impacting the industry and offer tips to ensure you’re prepared.

Golf USA Tee Time Coalition: How To Make It Work For You
Presented by Jared Williams, Managing Director, Golf USA Tee Time Coalition
Orange County Convention Center West Concourse - W102

By now, you’ve heard of the Golf USA Tee Time Coalition (GUSATTC), but you might not be sure quite what to make of it. Jared Williams, managing director of GUSATTC, will give attendees of this session a comprehensive overview of the organization, its mission and how to use it to ensure you’re getting the most out of your online tee time distribution partnership.

A League of Their Own: Boosting business by creating better leagues
Presented by Jeff Hoag, Co-owner, Scott Lake Golf & Practice Center; Comstock Park, MI
Orange County Convention Center West Concourse - W105

Many course operators—particularly those in the North—host leagues, but are they getting the most out of them? And what about courses that don’t offer leagues—are they leaving money on the table? In this tactical breakout, Jeff Hoag, whose league program generates hundreds of thousands of dollars annually, will share his “League In a Box” concept and walk attendees through the process of establishing, promoting and executing a league program that boosts profits by keeping golfers coming back for more.


Lunch on the show floor
12:00 - 1:15 pm

Join us for lunch on the trade show floor at the Bistro, located at the back of Hall WA4. Unwind from a busy morning while you enjoy restaurant-style dining and continue to connect with your peers. After lunch, give yourself an added break and stop by the GIS Merchandise Store located adjacent to the Bistro to peruse hundreds of items. *All NGCOA Full Conference or Bundle Attendees receive a voucher for a free lunch. All other attendees may pay with cash or a credit/debit card ($22 each day).

Education Block 6 (5 concurrent sessions)
1:15 - 2:15 pm
By Design: Creating a strategic plan for a competitive advantage
Presented by Dawna Waterbury, GM/CEO, Le Triomphe Golf & CC, Broussard, LA
Orange County Convention Center West Concourse - W101

When you have no destination, one road is as good as the next. That’s what makes strategic planning so crucial to organizational success. This highly interactive session will provide practical guides operators can use to run their businesses from a strategic perspective and highlight the importance of teamwork in organizational success. Attendees will leave with the tools to define, design and implement their competitive advantage (as compared to other facilities, courses or competition).

Bracket Busters
Presented by Chris Cox, Managing Editor, Golf Business magazine
Orange County Convention Center West Concourse - W102

In business, there’s no single idea that can solve every problem, no silver bullet that can make your company an instant success. With this in mind, the NGCOA created the Bright Ideas Bracket Challenge, a promotion that can best be described as golf’s version of March Madness. Join the winners of the 2016 Bracket Challenge as they dish the details on the ideas that improved their operations and gained the respect and admiration of their peers.

Golfonomics: Determining what your golf course is worth and using that knowledge to utilize value
Presented by Larry Hirsh, President, Golf Property Analysts
Orange County Convention Center West Concourse - W103

What’s my course worth—and why should I care? Those are two questions course owners often pose to themselves. And the answers can be, well, complicated. Sometimes, you want your value to be high; other times low. In this session, attendees will gain a better understanding of what elements make up golf property value and learn how to prepare for the future by using that value to their advantage, whether it be to plan for purchase or sale, manage the assessment or fund renovations.

7 Trending HR Topics You Must Know in 2017
Presented by De Sawa, Manager, Human Capital Services, TriNet
Orange County Convention Center West Concourse - W104

The legal landscape for employers is constantly shifting and can be very confusing. Whether it’s complying with new overtime rules, meeting ACA requirements or properly classifying employees, you can’t afford not to be on top of human resources. In this session, human resources experts will touch on seven trending HR topics you need to be aware of in 2017 and offer tips to ensure your business is taking care of its most valuable assets.

Weathering the Storm: Tools to surviving and recovering from natural disasters
Presented by Bob Perlman, Area Executive VP, Arthur J. Gallagher
Orange County Convention Center West Concourse - W105

Fires. Floods. Tornados. Hurricanes. The laundry list of potential calamities that Mother Nature can unleash upon golf courses is seemingly endless. When disaster does strike, having a plan and being able to put it into immediate action can mean the difference between staying open to service the needs of your customers and community or shutting down for an extended period. Attendees of this session will participate in a mock scenario and walk through the process of responding to a disaster. Using case studies and best practices, they’ll also learn how to develop a preparedness and recovery plan that minimizes the impact of disasters and helps speed the resumption of business. 


Networking Break
2:15 - 2:30 pm


Closing General Session
2:30 - 3:30 pm
Orange County Convention Center West Concourse - W109


Celebration & Awards Dinner (additional fee)
6:30 - 9 pm
Rosen Centre Hotel - Executive Ballroom

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.

Attire: Business