Summing up the first conference of the European Golf Course Owners Association in Amsterdam last weekend, Marcel Welling, president of EGCOA, said that an alliance between the National Golf Course Owners Associations of America, Australasia, Canada and Europe is now a real possibility. Certainly there was plenty of evidence that transatlantic co-operation is already in place since the Conference received presentations from Michael Hughes, executive director of the NGCOA in Charleston, South Carolina and Jeff Calderwood, Executive Director of the NGCOA of Canada.
The EGCOA has come a long way since its formation in March 2004 by associations of golf course owners from Germany, France, Denmark and the Netherlands. In many countries the owners are now organised on a similar basis to their employees – the club professionals and the greenkeepers/superintendents – who have enjoyed the benefits of national representation for years.
The Association now has members in 12 European countries representing 573 courses. Marcel Welling said that by the end of 2007 the target is 700 member courses, including some from countries not yet part of the Association – the most notable lack of representation being in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
English owners were present at the Conference and there was considerable interest in the formation of a new chapter in the UK, which would bring to its members not only the benefits of the EGCOA but also affiliation to NGCOA and its publications, including access to the on-line services (free of charge) and participation at members rates in the web seminars and the annual Golf Industry Show (next year at Anaheim 20th to 24th February) www.ngcoa.org/conference
The mission statement of the NGCOA is “to enhance the lives of golf course owners by making their businesses more profitable, more efficient, better managed and more stable.” Executive director, Michael Hughes, explained that the Association provides a voice for owners and the benefits of exchanging business data, of sharing knowledge and of providing group education and training activities.
“One of the reasons why in the past our industry has all too often gone from ‘boom’ to ‘bust’ is the fact that we have been trying to run our businesses without good enough information,” he said. “As owners we can co-operate on action programmes for player development to correct the present imbalance between supply and demand.”
“There are many additional benefits of joining the EGCOA,” concluded Marcel Welling. “It achieves national credibility and awareness of our business and, most importantly, it gives us an opportunity to influence legislation by the European Union on such things as pesticides and to make representations to the game’s governing bodies about the Rules of Golf and the way in which the game is administered by the national unions and associations.”
The EGCOA office is situated in Amsterdam. Lodewijk Klootwijk is the director of the EGCOA at Silodam 169, 1013 AS Amsterdam, Holland. Phone +31 619 616 624 Fax +31 203 306 105 e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org