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Owners and operators of golf courses throughout the U.S. and the world – from those who run 9-hole facilities in rural locations to owners of the largest golf course portfolios in the most popular golf destinations – look to the National Golf Course Owners Association as a valuable source for information and education and an advocate for their best interests.

Established in 1979 and headquartered in Charleston, S.C., the NGCOA is the leading authority on the business of golf course ownership and management. The Association represents the industry’s key decision makers with ultimate responsibility for golf courses throughout the world.  The not-for-profit organization is the only trade association dedicated exclusively to golf course owners and operators.

Membership of the NGCOA includes owners and operators of daily-fee, semi-private, private and resort courses. While diverse in its makeup, the Association serves as a resource for a critical need shared by all owners and operators in today’s ever-changing golf industry: information and inspiration on how to operate their facilities as efficiently and profitably as possible.

“There’s no such thing as absentee ownership in the golf course industry any longer.

Owners and operators today are active participants in all phases of the business,” said Mike Hughes, CEO of the NGCOA. “Being informed, thinking strategically and creatively differentiate today’s most successful owners and operators.”

In meeting its mission, the NGCOA focuses on six key areas: operating solutions, legislative and regulatory advocacy, group purchasing, player development and retention, support of chapters at the international, regional, state and local levels, and additional benefits that include access to industry trade shows and events.


In 1971, Don Rossi (then president of the National Golf Foundation) assembled a group of owners of public-access golf courses to form an association to represent golf course owners' interests. The group operated under the wing of the National Golf Foundation until 1979, when the owners split from the NGF and became the National Association of Public Golf Courses. From 1984 until 1990, the association was headquartered in Minnesota and known as the Golf Course Association. In 1990 the GCA moved to Charleston and changed its name to the National Golf Course Owners Association.


The NGCOA is recognized as one of the most important and influential organizations in golf. The Association was a founding member of Golf 20/20, the industry’s comprehensive grow-the-game initiative, and CEO Mike Hughes serves on the consortium’s executive board. The NGCOA is also a founding partner in the Golf Industry Show, which attracts thousands of golf course superintendents, club managers, golf course architects and builders, as well as owners, to the industry’s second-largest trade show each year.


The Association conducts the player development program, Take Your Daughter to the Course Week, and shares management responsibilities of Women’s Golf Month with the LPGA, the PGA of America, and EWGA.

The NGCOA publishes Golf Business, a monthly magazine covering the business of golf from the owner/operator’s perspective; as well as Circuit, a monthly e-newsletter for members.


The NGCOA is a founding partner of the Golf Industry Show and hosts the NGCOA Annual Conference, two of the industry’s most important annual events. In addition to the NGCOA, the Golf Industry Show is presented by the GCSAA along with participating partners, the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA), the Golf Course Builders Association of America (GCBAA), the United States Golf Association (USGA), the National Golf Foundation (NGF) and the International Golf Course Equipment Managers Association (IGCEMA). The Society of Golf Appraisers (SGA) is a supporting partner. The Golf Industry Show provides exhibition, educational and networking opportunities for superintendents, owners, architects, builders, appraisers, developers, general managers, green chairmen, golf professionals and media.

The NGCOA Annual Conference is the largest gathering of golf courses owners and operators at a single event. The Conference showcases innovative products and thought leadership for owners and operators looking to increase efficiencies and profits while enhancing the golf experience they offer members and customers.

© 2000, National Golf Course Owners Association