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NGCOA Names Hidden Valley GC 2011 Course of the Year 

CHARLESTON, S.C. (Feb. 16, 2011) – Hidden Valley Golf Club in Norco, Calif., a facility that bills itself as “exclusively public” and requires employees to play golf on a regular basis, was named the 2011 NGCOA Course of the Year. 

The southern California course, which fell on hard times a few years ago while under different management, has added 9,000 rounds and increased special events business nearly 50 percent in the last three years. Club President Jay Miller credits Hidden Valley’s resurgence to an emphasis on course conditions, fun and customer service.

Miller requires Hidden Valley employees to play the course so they understand what customers want in an upscale daily fee experience. To keep the atmosphere light and the customers coming back, he plays rock music on the driving range and stages promotions that have included one of his own vintage Corvettes as a grand prize.

“I’ll go to my grave trying to get the last person I talk to to play golf,” Miller says.

Hidden Valley is also the home of the Get a Grip Foundation, a 10-year-old non-profit organization that offers mentoring programs, after-school instruction and golf lessons to area youth. More than 3,500 youngsters – most from challenging backgrounds – have been helped by the foundation, which is run out of a 4,500-square-foot education center on club property.

“Golf’s our hook, but education is our mission,” Miller says.

In addition to Hidden Valley, finalists for the Course of the Year Award were Walnut Creek in Marion, Ind.; and Thunder Canyon in Washoe Valley, Nev. The award was presented on Feb. 9 during the NGCOA’s Annual Conference in Orlando.

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