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Buyers Guide Accelerate

2011 Chapter Courses of the Year 

Each year the NGCOA and its chapters honor outstanding member facilities. The Chapter Course of the Year Award recognizes these facilities that epitomize exceptional course quality and management, while making important contributions to their communities and the game. The 2011 winners are:

California Golf Course of the Year
Hidden Valley Golf Club

Norco, California
Opened: 1997
Facility Type: Public
President:  Jay Miller

“Hidden Valley Golf Club is a unique golf property, with a complete ecological system surrounded by 1600’ peaking mountains, rolling hills, lakes and over 600 feet of elevation change. We have the tagline of “Exclusively Public”, an unmatched location for weddings and banquets and the home of the nationally recognized Get a Grip Foundation. What separates Hidden Valley is the employee culture we have built, all employees want to work here, they have fun here and they play golf here. We have a maintenance staff golf league, our servers, bartenders, and all managers must play golf, and we are constantly reviewing good friendly customer service language, treatment and service. We are always striving to improve our customers’ golf games whether it is through our $10 Saturday clinics, free clinics on the driving range or as simply as giving sound advice on proper club fittings.  Our course is constantly in good condition thanks to our superintendent Iain Sturge, who understands budgets and what the golfer wants to experience; plus, I am the Saturday morning starter and consistently interviewing and listening to our customers to see how we can always make their Valley experience more memorable.”

-Jay Miller, President

Georgia Golf Course of the Year
Eagle's Landing Country Club

Stockbridge, Georgia
Opened: 1988
Facility Type: Private
General Manager: Russ Curtis

"After nearly 20 years playing Eagle's Landing I still find it a challenging and fun golf course. Most of the credit goes to the outstanding layout and design by Tom Fazio and the continued improvements and care given by Cecil Smith the course superintendent. Eagles Landing's unique design requires golfers to use every club in their bag and has no adjoining holes, making course management mandatory."

-Rob Raissle, Chairman of the Board



Indiana Golf Course of the Year
Walnut Creek Golf Complex

Marion, Indiana
Opened: 1970
Facility Type: Public
Owner: Randy Ballinger

 “Walnut Creek was very humble in its beginnings.  Our family turned a 150-acre farm into a golf course.  In the beginning, our vision was small—with only the thoughts of being competitive with other local golf facilities.  We tried to build a golf course that would be the best in the area and maybe draw from a little larger radius than other local golf facilities.  As we matured, we soon learned that golfers would drive quite a distance to a golf course where the course was in great condition and fun to play, if they were treated special.  As our reputation developed, so did our understanding of customer service.  We wanted every player to feel like they knew the owner and were part of the Walnut Creek Family.   Family is what we have been about for 41 years, and now the third generation devoted to golf says a lot of our dedication to the golf industry.  At the time when golf was beginning to decline in the 1990s, we added the second course.  We felt that one of the factors contributing to customer satisfaction was our relaxed atmosphere which was being jeopardized as we approached capacity during desired times to play.  We added one of the best learning facilities in North Central Indiana, along with a very unique golf experience on the second 18-hole course.  Now with 36 holes we can do the things to grow the game that we could not do with only 18.  We have free times for juniors, seniors and beginners and are able to offer charities opportunities to increase their revenues.  We also offer free golf to Veterans every Monday.  We have seen over and over again, the more we give back to our community and do things for golf, the more it returns to us.  It has been such a privilege to play such an important part of our community's growth.  Often we are the front door to prospects looking to invest in our community. “

-Randy Ballinger, Owner

Lowcountry Golf Course of the Year
Crescent Pointe Golf Club

Bluffton, South Carolina
Opened: 2000
Facility Type: Public
General Manager: Bill Layman

Crescent Pointe Golf Club is a world-class Arnold Palmer Signature Course. The golf course is situated on a spectacular piece of property that highlights the beauty of the Lowcountry. It's Arnold’s only public-access course in the Hilton Head area, and it's pure Palmer, with generous fairways, but challenging approaches to its many elevated, undulating greens. The course also features beach bunkers on several of the magnificent holes lending to a true island experience. Five unique par 3s await and the three par 5s are all birdie holes, but all require you to carry the ball over the water to score a birdie. Magnificent, century-old oaks, manicured conditioning and dramatic shot-making opportunities make this course a "must play." Palmer Design took full advantage of the sensational property, adding graceful elevations and rolling terrain not usually found in the area. Add the grand oaks, pines and magnolias, and you have a setting that can't help but inspire!

Michigan Golf Course of the Year
Gull Lake View Golf Club & Resort

Augusta, Michigan
Opened: 1965
Facility Type: Public
Owner: Jim Scott

Gull Lake View Golf Club & Resort is Southwest Michigan’s oldest and largest golf resort, featuring five championship courses, lodging & dining, event facilities and golf course real estate. Owned and operated by the Scott family for over forty years, Gull Lake View is committed to providing the finest golf resort destination experience for individuals, families, and groups at any level of play. Gull Lake View's Junior Golf Program is entering its 8th season and quickly becoming one of the area's favorites. Juniors from the age of 7-13 are introduced to the fundamentals of golf, learning how to hit the ball off the tee, putting on the green, etc.  In addition to the life skills golf teaches, like honesty and integrity. The purpose of this fun program is to spark an interest for the game of golf and help prepare juniors for playing the game on the course for their young and active lifestyle.

Midwest Golf Course of the Year
Keller Golf Course

Maplewood, Minnesota
Opened: 1929
Facility Type: Public
Director: Kevin Finley

“Keller Golf Course has one of the richest traditions in Minnesota golf history. The St. Paul Open, a regular stop on the PGA Tour, was played at Keller from 1930 to 1968. The U.S. Public Links was held at Keller in 1931. The PGA Championship was held in 1932 and 1954 at Keller, as was the Western Open of 1949. Keller also was the site for the Patty Berg Open on the LPGA Tour from 1973 to 1980. The displays in the clubhouse showcase Keller’s proud heritage. Photos of golf’s historic champions grace its walls as they once roamed the hallowed fairways of Keller Golf Course. Jon Roe, from the Minneapolis Star Tribune, exclaimed ‘Any golfer interested in the history of golf in the state will want to stop in the clubhouse before or after a round to look at pictures and scorecards and other memorabilia from all the big tournaments played at Keller. It’s very much a Keller Hall of Fame.’”

-Kevin Finley, Director of Administration and Golf Operations

Myrtle Beach Golf Course of the Year
Founders Club at Pawleys Island

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Opened: 2008
Facility Type: Public
General Manager: Rick Taylor

This course offers stunning visuals that only the Pawleys Island area can provide. Eighteen uniquely designed holes give our golfers an experience they are sure to remember. Conclude your day with a drink and something to eat in our Lowcountry-style clubhouse overlooking the 18 th green. The Founders Club at Pawleys Island is certain to be a "must play" when visiting the Grand Strand.



Nevada Golf Course of the Year
Thunder Canyon

Washoe Valley, Nevada
Opened: 1994
Facility Type: Private
Owners: Roger and Gayle Block

“We have committed to ensuring the growth and longevity of the game by focusing on the kids. Thunder Canyon has made a conscious effort to educate about the game and teach the skills so that we will have future generations that love this game. To focus on the kids, it starts with the family. Each year during the summer we host multiple Family Night of Golf events. Hosted by PGA Professional Joe Casey, we host over 100 people for 9 holes of golf and dinner, bringing in families from not just our Membership, but the community as well. These events consistently to prove to be the best attended events we have each year. These events occur during the summer months in conjunction with our Junior Bolts program. Taught by the Thunder Canyon Golf Staff, each child gets the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of golf as well as the rules and etiquette of the game. The most significant contribution comes from a program that has no official name, doesn’t cost a thing and is truly a labor of love. PGA Professional Joe Casey with the support of Director of Golf Dave La Fata invites any child that wants to come out on the golf course to learn about golf. There is no lesson plan and the only rule is having fun.”

-Bill Gibson, Jr., General Manager

New England Golf Course of the Year
Meadow Creek Golf Club

Dracut, Massachusetts
Opened: 2007
Facility Type: Public
President: Jeff Brem

In addition to what the golf course has brought to the community with golfers and outing participants from the expanded geographic area of northern Massachusetts, Boston, and southern New Hampshire, this year the golf course opened its 13,000 square foot Contemporary styled clubhouse designed by renowned the architecture firm of CBT Architects of Boston, MA. The clubhouse features a distinctive pro shop surrounded by a stamped concrete and cedar slat covered loggia for rocking chair seating and viewing over the arched stone wall to the new practice putting green. A solid covered Terrace offers outdoor patio dining with a view to kill, an outdoor television, and views of the 18th green to welcome fellow golfers. The interior of the clubhouse includes a tastefully decorated and inviting Grille Room, a unique “Gallery” room with views of the fountain off the first hole and the City of Lowell in the distance. Finally, the ballroom seats up to 220 with a welcome lobby area and small conference room. The design is modern, upscale and contemporary. It is a lively place which the people of Dracut and the surrounding communities are finding for their nights out on the Town for drinks, dinners, Club Sponsored Comedy Nights, live entertainment, and many other events.

New Jersey Golf Course of the Year
Trump National Golf Club – Bedminster

Bedminster, New Jersey
Opened: 2002
Facility Type: Private
Owner: Donald Trump
General Manger: David Schutzenhofer

Along with respecting its community, Trump National, Bedminster recognizes its responsibilities within its vast physical surroundings. The management team at Trump National has emphatically exceeded the standards required by state and local regulations by monitoring chemical usage and implementing an intensive erosion control and stream stabilization plan. Also, the Club turned 45 of its acres into a 130 acre grassland bird habitat, creating a breeding ground for five threatened and endangered species of birds. Overall, the construction of the property has resulted in a substantial environmental net gain since Mr. Trump purchased the land. Trump National Golf Club at Bedminster has been designated as the environmental "model" for all other golf courses in New Jersey. To ensure the open space and environmental achievements of TNGC, all development rights, other than golf, have been extinguished and dedicated in perpetuity to a federally approved land trust. Through proper design, construction, maintenance, and monitoring, TNGC promotes enhanced habitats of important migratory and indigenous of threatened and endangered species.

Ohio Golf Course of the Year
Windmill Lakes Golf Club

Ravenna, Ohio
Opened: 1970
Facility Type: Public
Owner: Herb Page

“Our staff has invested time, effort, and a tireless work ethic to provide a friendly environment and a terrific golf course for our patrons.  One thing that has helped us get where we are is that our Director of Golf, Herb Page, and our Golf Course Superintendent, Bob Doty, have both been here for 34 years and are still going strong. One interesting note about our club:  it is the home of the nationally ranked Kent State University men’s and women’s golf programs.  The men’s program is coached by Herb Page and we are proud to have had several All-Americans use our facility including the 2003 British Open champion, Ben Curtis.  In fact, we have a wall-of-fame leading to our restaurant that displays many trophies and plaques won by these men and teams.  Our women’s program has won every Mid-American Conference golf tournament since its inception as a conference sport and has had several All-Americans as well.  Many of our daily golfers enjoy looking at the “wall” and playing the same course that the collegians do. “

-Trent Maxwell, Head Golf Professional

Pennsylvania - East Golf Course of the Year
Talamore Country Club
Ambler, Pennsylvania
Opened: 1993
Facility Type: Private
Bob Levy, Jr.

“The Club feels the service provide our members and guests is what separates Talamore from the rest. Our employee motto is “Exceeding all Expectations.” Everyone who walks in our door has different expectations. What is important to one person is different from the other. It is important that we learn the personal and practical needs of all who visit Talamore. Our Team at Talamore is proactive and always looking for ways to make the Club better. Regularly scheduled Leadership training is provided to all managers at the Club. Along these lines, we believe it is important to produce great leaders, not just great managers. It is that pride and ownership that is our backbone for success and will ensure Talamore’s future and reputation.”

-John Hazelwood, General Manager

Sandhills Golf Course of the Year
Seven Lakes Country Club

West End, North Carolina
Opened: 1976
Facility type: Member-owned equity club (non-member play also allowed)
General Manager: Ruthe Joyner

“Fulfilling our Club motto as The Heart of the Community, Seven Lakes Country Club places a priority on being an enthusiastic participant in a wide variety of activities that enhance life in the Sandhills and beyond. This fact is most evident through the Club’s participation in charitable giving year in and year out. Seven Lakes annually donates hundreds of rounds of golf including carts to numerous charitable organizations including churches, school fund raisers, military and veteran charities, as well as our local Kiwanis, Rotary and Lions organizations. The Club actively participates in the efforts of the Moore County Chamber of Commerce, the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and the Seven Lakes Business Guild to promote the region and our immediate neighborhood and is also involved with the Moore County Red Cross’ campaign to make AED units available throughout the County. Additionally, the Club participates in national charitable campaigns such as the Susan G. Komen Rally for the Cure events, Arnie’s Army Battles Prostate Cancer campaign, the American Heart Association, Habitat for Humanity, the Jimmy V Foundation, the American Lung Association and Patriot Golf Day.”

-Ruthe Joyner, General Manager

Charleston & South Carolina Golf Course of the Year
Legend Oaks Golf Club

Summerville, South Carolina
Opened: 1995
Facility Type: Public with membership option
General Manager: Jim Chickarello

 “When you drive up to the clubhouse thru the row of 300 year old live oak trees and amazing azaleas, you immediately know you are in for a genuine Lowcountry experience.  Legend Oaks Golf & Tennis Club, is the hub of a sprawling 1400+ home community offering residents and guests an 18 hole championship course, that will challenge all levels of golfers with 5 sets of tees with yardages up to 7011 yards.  What sets this club apart is its memorable layout, cut thru a former rice plantation boasting the best collection of par 3’s in the area and a group of finishing holes 14 thru 17 known as “Alligator Alley” that will devour even the best golfer. This Lowcountry gem also offers a memorable backdrop for special events and weddings with its golf course vista and scores of live oak trees on the property.  Community involvement has been a cornerstone of the club’s vision, since its recent purchase in 2006.  Legend Oaks Gives Back, the clubs annual giving program was founded in 2009 and provides its 400 members the opportunity to nominate charities that can benefit from the clubs various charity events.   This is truly a community effort and we are proud to be supporting local charities such as Meals on Wheels, Palmetto House and Children in Crisis with almost $30,000 raised last year alone. “

-Jim Chickarello, Owner

© 2000, National Golf Course Owners Association