NGCOA’s Award of Merit to Honor Fiddler’s Elbow Owner Ronald Schiavone
Association’s Awards Presented Feb. 29 at Annual Conference
CHARLESTON, S.C. (Feb. 2, 2012) – Ronald A. Schiavone, who climbed from the depths of the Great Depression to become an American success story and the co-owner of Fiddler’s Elbow Country Club in Bedminster Township, N.J., will be honored posthumously with the NGCOA’s Award of Merit, which recognizes long-term and significant contributions to the game of golf.
Chris Schiavone will accept the award on behalf of his father, who died in 2011 at the age of 85, at the NGCOA’s Annual Conference on Feb. 29 in Las Vegas.
Despite humble beginnings, Ronnie, as he was known to his friends throughout his life, graduated from Dartmouth with a civil engineering degree and later established Schiavone Construction Company, which became one of the nation’s most successful heavy public works contractors.
Schiavone was introduced to golf at Dartmouth, but played only occasionally. “It wasn’t as if he was a golfer in any sense of the word,” Chris Schiavone said. “He wasn’t the type of guy who would easily commit five hours of his time to a recreational activity.”
But Schiavone understood meeting customers’ expectations, whether for a bridge or tunnel or for a distinctive club experience. After purchasing 400 acres along Interstate 78 in northern New Jersey as an investment, the son of second-generation immigrants and his partner, former U.S. Secretary of Labor Ray Donovan, built one of the most respected golf clubs in the Northeast.
“One of the things he always emphasized was putting yourself in the mind of the customer,” Chris Schiavone said. “Even though he didn’t have a strong passion for golf – or any sports, really – he thought like the people who did when he made decisions about the club.”
As a result, Fiddler’s Elbow, which opened in 1965, gained a reputation for 54 holes of spectacular golf and as a gracious venue for equally stunning events. A distinguished membership mingled effortlessly at Fiddler’s Elbow with U.S. presidents, CEOs, business owners, athletes and celebrities.
Schiavone, who was a primary investor/owner in several prestigious clubs in Florida, including Heathrow Country Club, Tuscawilla Country Club and Ibis Golf & Country Club, donated millions of dollars before his death to charities, schools and colleges, according to his son.
The NGCOA’s 2012 award winners also include the Monterey Peninsula Country Club in Pebble Beach, Calif., which will receive the Jemsek Award for Golf Course Excellence; Jeff Hoag, co-owner of Scott Lake Country Club in Grand Rapids, Mich., who will receive the Don Rossi Award for significant and long-lasting contributions to the NGCOA; Terry Sedalik, executive director of the South Carolina Golf Course Owners Association and the Charleston Golf Course Owners Association, who will receive the Champion Award in recognition of service to course owners at the state level; the Michigan Golf League Championship Committee, which will receive the Player Development Award; Del Ratcliffe, president of the North Carolina Golf Course Owners Association and owner of Ratcliffe Golf Services, who will receive the Paul Porter Award, which honors an owner who has established a legacy of commitment, service and leadership.
Finalists for the NGCOA’s Course of the Year Award are The Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort in French Lick, Ind.; Renaissance Golf Club in Haverhill, Mass.; and Scott Lake Country Club in Grand Rapids, Mich. The winner will be announced during the awards ceremony.
he NGCOA’s Annual Conference is the golf industry’s largest gathering of owners and operators of daily fee, private, resort and municipal courses. NGCOA members and non-members can register for the conference at www.ngcoa.org/conference.
The conference occurs in conjunction with the Golf Industry Show, Feb. 29 – March 1. The show, which is presented by the NGCOA and GCSAA, showcases the golf industry’s latest products and services throughout an expansive exhibit area and offers a wide range of educational opportunities for attendees.
About the NGCOA
The National Golf Course Owners Association is the leading authority on the business of golf course ownership and management. The Association represents the key decision makers with ultimate responsibility for golf courses throughout the world. Through advocacy, information resources, purchasing programs and networking opportunities, the NGCOA helps golf course owners and operators run more successful businesses. For more information, visit www.ngcoa.org or call 1-800-933-4262.
Sarah Gurley Masche, NGCOA
Bill Bryant, Bryant Marketing Communications