NGCOA Names Reynolds Plantation Course of the Year
Muirfield Village Golf Club Wins Jemsek Award
Ruffin Beckwith, Larry Giustina Recognized For Contributions to the Game, Association
CHARLESTON, S.C. (Nov. 19, 2007) – As it nears the end of its third decade, Reynolds Plantation keeps proving the skeptics wrong. The latest acclaim that disproves those who doubted the vision of developers Mercer Reynolds and Jamie Reynolds is the NGCOA’s recognition of Reynolds Plantation as its 2008 Golf Course of the Year.
Against the odds of an upscale golf community attracting residents, golfers and commercial development to one of the poorest areas of Georgia, Reynolds Plantation continues to build on its reputation as one of the Southeast’s most comfortable and admired places to live and play.
In 2007 Reynolds Plantation added its fifth golf course, the Creek Club, a member-only course designed by Jim Engh. It also opened the Lake Club, a $24 million “wellness campus” where residents enjoy recreational and social activities. Links magazine and Travel + Leisure Golf both ranked Reynolds among the nation’s top 100 golf communities. Rounding out the year, the PGA Cup was hosted at Rees Jones’ Oconee Course, and the 2008 Professional National Championship was awarded to Jack Nicklaus’ Great Waters Course.
“Sometimes the stars not only align, they give you a meteor shower,” says Bob Mauragas, Reynolds Plantation’s vice president of Golf Operations. “And to think, 25 years ago, almost everybody thought no one would come here.”
There was never any doubt that Muirfield Village Golf Club – winner of the NGCOA’s Jemsek Award, which honors the world’s top championship-caliber golf courses – would become the magnificent enclave for championship golf and member enjoyment that it has. After all, it was Jack Nicklaus’ dream in 1966 to build a club near his hometown of Columbus, Ohio, that would boast a course that rivaled Augusta National, host a highly respected professional tournament and cater to members’ every need.
But it’s the level and consistency on which Muirfield Village Golf Club and The Memorial Tournament deliver on Nicklaus’ vision that put them in a rarified class of private clubs and great championships.
“We’re all here to uphold the traditions of the game and exceed the expectations of the Nicklauses and our members,” says Nicholas LaRocca, the club’s assistant manager. “We’re not perfect, but at the end of the day we’re pretty proud of what we do here.”
The NGCOA also recognized Ruffin Beckwith, a longtime PGA TOUR executive and currently a senior vice president of the World Golf Foundation and executive director of GOLF 20/20, as the winner of its Award of Merit. The Award of Merit is given to an individual who has made significant contributions to golf.
After starting his career as a golf writer and photographer, Beckwith worked in marketing positions with the LPGA (1978-1982) and the PGA TOUR (1982-1996). While leading the development of the World Golf Village and World Golf Hall of Fame near St. Augustine, Fla., Beckwith was widely recognized for his ability to unite golf’s governing bodies. That skill also led to his appointment to lead Golf 20/20, an initiative aligning the golf industry behind efforts to grow the game.
Larry Giustina, owner of Tokatee Golf Club in Eugene, Ore., was named the Don Rossi Award winner. The Don Rossi Award goes to an NGCOA member who has served the association with distinction.
Giustina served as a member of the NGCOA’s board of directors from 1992 to 2005. He is considered one of the key leaders during a period in which the association grew in size and respect. “Larry’s vision for what the association could do and needed to do in order to represent owners’ best interests and serve the game was a guiding light in our development,” said Mike Hughes, the association’s CEO.
NGCOA award winners are determined by a panel of golf course owners and operators. Winners will be recognized on Jan. 30 at the NGCOA’s Annual Conference in Orlando.