The National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA) has named golf legend Greg Norman its 2015 recipient of the Award of Merit in recognition of “The Shark’s” storied career on the course and his expansive success as a golf industry business professional off the course. Presented today at the association’s Annual Conference, held in conjunction with the Golf Industry Show, the award is “designated for long-term and significant contributions to the game of golf”.
One of the most colorful and successful golfers in the game’s history, Norman used his daring, swashbuckling style to capture 90 international victories, including two majors (The Open Championship 1986, 1993), and 20 PGA TOUR events. He spent 331 weeks ranked as the world’s No.1 golfer in the 1980s and ‘90s. Norman is also a three-time winner of the Vardon Trophy, awarded by the PGA of America each year to the PGA TOUR player with the lowest scoring average.
“We selected Greg Norman for our Award of Merit for the many, many years he has dedicated to advancing the game of golf and the lifestyle that comes with it,” said Mike Hughes, Chief Executive Officer of the NGCOA. “Greg’s accomplishments in tournament golf are well-known but he has also been very successful in his various golf business ventures.”
Norman’s global business enterprise encompasses everything from design to wine, and seemingly everything in between. He has designed more than 70 golf courses on six of the world’s seven continents, attracting tens of thousands of golfers daily. Norman’s courses have been heralded for sensitivity to ecological interests and concerns. Several of his courses have received The Audubon Society’s award for Environmental Stewardship.
Norman’s business empire also includes a turfgrass company with one its proprietary hybrids selected for two Super Bowls (XXXIII and XXXV), the 1999 Major League Baseball World Series, and the 2000 Sydney Olympic Summer Games. He is also involved in a financial investment firm, and in residential and land development. There are four trademarked Norman brands in various residential developments – Norman Estates, By Greg Norman, Norman Residences, and Norman Club Villas. He is also co-owner of historic Valderrama Golf Club in southern Spain, host to the 1997 Ryder Cup matches and long considered one of Europe’s finest golf courses.
The 60-year-old native of Australia also operates the Greg Norman Champions Golf Academy and heads the Greg Norman Foundation which focuses on advancing the game of golf by introducing school-aged youth, children with disabilities, and junior members of golf clubs to the game. Perhaps his most well-known off-course work is his Greg Norman Estates portfolio of fine wines which happen to pair well with Greg Norman Australian Prime, a line of premium steak and beef offerings. Norman hosts the annual Franklin Templeton Shootout, a PGA TOUR event held each December at Tiburón Golf Club in Naples, FL. The 54-hole, stroke-play event features two-man teams and raises money for childhood cancer. The NGCOA’s Annual Conference, held in conjunction with the Golf Industry Show, is the golf industry’s largest gathering of owners and operators of daily fee, private, resort and municipal courses.
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