Award of Merit Winner Jack Nicklaus Thanks Course Owners for ‘Second Career’
The Clubs of Cordillera Ranch, Troon North, Coral Ridge also recognized during NGCOA’s annual Celebration Dinner and Awards Gala
After being recognized as the NGCOA’s 2014 winner of the Award of Merit for long-term contributions to the game, Jack Nicklaus thanked course owners for his “second career” and praised them as “pioneers of our game.”
Nicklaus, who has been as successful designing golf courses as he was conquering them, told attendees at the NGCOA’s Annual Conference in Orlando earlier this month that course owners “are the reason why I have been blessed to enjoy a second career – or life – outside of playing the game of golf.”
“You gave me a new passion, a new love,” Nicklaus said, referring to his company’s design of some 380 courses in 36 countries and 39 U.S. states. “I owe a heartfelt thanks to every owner and operator who has believed in me and has given me the opportunity to turn an avocation into a vocation.
“Owners have been the pioneers of our game, the stewards and caretakers of today’s game and the innovators for tomorrow’s game,” Nicklaus added. “For that, we all owe them our thanks.”
At the NGCOA’s annual Celebration Dinner and Awards Gala, the association also recognized the 2014 Course of the Year and winners of its other top awards.
The Clubs of Cordillera Ranch, which sits on 8,700 acres in the heart of Texas Hill Country, was named the NGCOA’s 2014 Course of the Year. The award honors a member course demonstrating excellence in course quality, ownership and management and for contributions to its community and to the game.
About 40 minutes north of San Antonio, The Clubs of Cordillera Ranch is a Jack Nicklaus design that winds its way over 780 acres of rugged landscape. Cordillera opened in May 2007 and has taken a consistent position among the state’s top-ranked courses.
“We’re humbled to receive this honor among three other deserving national finalists, and we’ll represent it with great respect,” Cordillera President Charlie Hill said when presented the award. “Our 620-plus club members who are the ambassadors of Cordillera Ranch were proud to be named a finalist and are certainly going to share in the excitement of this prestigious accolade.”
Finalists for the Course of the Year Award included Miacomet Golf Course in Nantucket, Mass.; Jack Kramer’s Los Serranos Country Club in Chino Hills, Calif.; and Tam O’Shanter Golf Course in Canton, Ohio.
The NGCOA also honored Troon North, the Scottsdale, Ariz., facility that spawned the development of the world’s largest golf course management company, with the 2014 Jemsek Award for Golf Course Excellence.
Marcel Welling, the owner of Burg Golf and a former president of the European Golf Course Owners Association, was given the Champion Award for service to course owners at the local level.
Coral Ridge Country Club in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., won the Player Development Award for success in attracting new players to the game.
The Paul Porter Award for commitment, service and leadership to a chapter or international affiliate was given posthumously to Tom Kern, owner of the Valle Vista golf club and conference center in Greenwood, Ind.
Mike Hughes, the current CEO of the association, received the Don Rossi Award for significant contributions to the NGCOA.
The NGCOA’s Annual Conference is the golf industry’s largest gathering of owners and operators of daily fee, private, resort and municipal courses.