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January 2019

What a year it’s been

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By Dick Stuntz
NGCOA president and president
Oak Golf Inc., Lawrence, Kansas

Having served as the NGCOA president for nearly a year, I have been asked on several occasions, “How are things going at NGCOA?” So, here is a partial answer to that oft-asked question.

As I stepped into the president’s role last February, NGCOA was coming off two years of leadership change and to a great degree, reorganization. After 25 years of the capable leadership of NGCOA, CEO Mike Hughes’ retirement at the end of 2015 left a conspicuous void at NGCOA headquarters. The board felt that the timing was right to select a leader with new ideas and perhaps even sweeping change. That brings to mind the phrase, “Careful what your wish for!” Enter Jay Karen, former director of membership of NGCOA some 10 years prior.

Jay didn’t hit the ground running — he was sprinting! Ideas for remaking NGCOA into a more fluid and adaptive organization befitting the times was indeed his mission. And like any organization that had the same leadership for many years, this approach can be — Refreshing? Invigorating? Alarming? Perhaps all the above. As Jay set out to do the job he was hired to do, there were the usual (expected?) doubters and naysayers. True to his character and strong leadership skills, Jay did what great leaders do — he listened, adapted and blended his mission of change into “the terrain in which he found himself deployed.”

Now, 2018 has proven to be the year of results from the many changes implemented over the past three years. Staff additions, subtractions and reassignments have taken hold. The new strategic plan has proven to be a playbook for success. Corporate partnerships and membership have grown. Our relationship and interaction with our brother and sister industry organizations is at an all-time high. NGCOA advocacy for our membership and the entire industry is laying the groundwork for growth and prosperity for owners and operators.

So, stay tuned, 2019 and beyond hold great promise for the NGCOA and the golf industry in general. And lucky me – I’ve got a front row seat to watch it all unfold!

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