Jay Karen has been named CEO of the National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA), the leading authority on the business of golf course ownership and management.
Formerly Director of Partner Relations and Membership of the NGCOA from 1997 to 2007, Karen returns to lead the organization that represents more than 3,000 member golf course owners and operators worldwide. He will assume his new position on 1st October.
An ambitious and energetic executive, Karen holds a deep knowledge of and passion for the golf industry. To bolster NGCOA relevancy and increase membership, his strategy includes strengthening chapter relations, expanding member services, modernizing online curriculum and other educational resources, and amplifying legislative advocacy.
Karen replaces Michael Hughes who, after 25 years leading the NGCOA, in January announced he would step down from his CEO post.
“The bedrock of the golf industry is the golf course owner,” says Karen. “Therefore, I’m eager to aggressively build on Mike Hughes’ remarkable accomplishments of helping owners and operators run more successful businesses.”
With deep roots in the hospitality industry, Karen was most recently CEO of Select Registry, a collection of more than 300 fine inns, bed and breakfasts, and boutique hotels. For seven years prior, as CEO of the Professional Association of Innkeepers International, his creation of the widely lauded “A Better Way to Stay” promotional campaign and a strategic partnership with TripAdvisor elevated the organization’s prominence and revenues.
“Jay Karen brings fresh, new ideas, motivation and a profound love of golf to the NGCOA,” says Matthew Galvin, President of the NGCOA. “While we look forward to a smooth transition and exciting changes, we are grateful to Mike Hughes for his legendary and expert leadership as he’s leaving the organization at a high point.”
Under Hughes, the NGCOA significantly increased membership and raised the statures of the organization and golf courses owners across the industry. He also led the formation of the Golf Industry Show, the second-largest and fastest-growing trade show in golf.
Hughes’ indelible impact on the golf industry is highlighted by his service as Chairman of the Executive Committee of GOLF 20/20, a member of the Board of Governors of the National Golf Foundation, an Advisory Board member of the World Golf Hall of Fame and Chairman of WE ARE GOLF.
With more than 15,600 courses, country clubs and resorts in America, golf is a $69 billion industry and generates nearly two million jobs. Its $4 billion charitable impact is greater than Major League Baseball, National Football League, National Basketball Association and National Hockey League combined.
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