• Update on Recent Credit Card Scam

    As NGCOA recently reported, our industry was recently hit by a credit card scam. To date, this scam has hit at least 15 golf courses, and resulted in more than $428,000.00 in erroneous charges tied to what appear to be robots hacking the online shopping carts on courses’ websites. This appears to only be hitting the online stores on golf courses, where items like gift cards are sold — not the tee sheet and booking engines. 

    In particular, and as of right now, the scam only seems to be involving those courses using the ETS Emoney Commerce Platform (or Elavon Emoney). Please note that ETS was purchased by Elavon in 2018, and Elavon is a subsidiary of U.S. Bank.

    Here is how it seems to work:

    • Robot scammers are somehow entering random credit card numbers into the payment page of the online store.  Each time the merchant processing system attempts to process the credit card entered, the golf course is charged a small transaction fee ($.08 to $.10), even if the number doesn’t work.
    • The robot continues to enter random numbers until it stumbles upon a valid number. The scammers harvest the valid credit card numbers and use or sell those numbers for criminal benefit.
    • The robots may make tens or hundreds of thousands of attempts on the golf course’s online store, which results in enormous processing fees for the golf course (we hear between $1,000.00 and $160,000.00 in charges per course in a month’s time).
    • This money is drafted from the course’s bank account as a fee to the merchant processor. Course operators may not realize these charges until your regular monthly bank and merchant processing statements are reviewed.

    An additional concern may be the individuals who hold card numbers that were successfully charged by the robots. They may have an illegitimate charge for a golf gift card purchase on their statements, and subsequently, seek chargebacks. This could put the victimized golf courses in a dispute situation with credit card companies.

    We believe this activity is the result of the lack of security in the online store technology. Ideally, the technology should be able to detect when fraudulent attempts are made, especially at this volume and speed.

    Since being alerted to this issue, NGCOA engaged with all parties who had participated in processing the credit card transactions and withdrew funds from our golf courses’ bank account. This includes representatives from Elavon, U.S. Bank, which was the acquirer for Evalon/ETS credit card transactions, and VISA Corp in an effort to identify the parties responsible for refunding our golf courses.

    Elavon indicates that they are going to provide refunds to the affected golf courses. We are continuing to work with all of our affected courses to ensure they receive the same commitment and their funds are fully returned.

    What steps can you take to protect yourself? 

    • At this time, the hackers seem to be only targeting online shopping stores, so you need to work with your web site partners, golf management software, and merchant processor to ensure safety procedures are in place that will limit this type of “bot” activity.
    • Ensure you are only using technology that is both PCI compliant and PA-DSS certified. Technology safety measures may include limiting failed transaction attempts, followed by a timeout for activity, from the user’s IP address.
    • If you are using the ETS/Elavon platform, you may want to consider temporarily shutting it down until this is satisfactorily resolved.
    • If you believe you’ve been a victim of this crime, we recommend you let your bank know these fraudulent charges have been made to your account. They may temporarily restore your funds until a thorough investigation is completed by their fraud department.
    • You may want to challenge the charges with the merchant processor responsible for your online store transactions. Note: this may be different than the one managing your primary golf business transactions, such as tee time transactions, in-house credit card transactions, etc.
  • USGA Shares Customer Experience Findings via NGCOA's Golf Business LIVE

    Register now to attend the National Golf Course Owners Association’s (NGCOA) two-part Golf Business LIVE webinar series,
    "Driving Revenue Through the Golfer Journey: Experience Satisfiers and Dissatisfiers."

    This webinar series is free to attend and will take place Tuesday, November 17 and Thursday, November 19 at 1:00 PM ET and will be presented by the USGA and its research team:

    • David Pierce, Director of Research and Operations, Green Section, USGA
    • Kris Schoonover, PhD, Director of Operations/Asst Competitions Director, Erin Hills & Professor, University of Wisconsin - Stout
    • Eric Brey, PhD, Professor, University of Wisconsin - Stout

    A login link will be emailed to you one hour before the event

    The team will take a deeper dive to uncover what golfers really want from their golf journey (both on and off the course), and explore what critical data owners and operators need to consider before, during and after a round of golf. The information will help operators of all course types understand the scope of the golfer experience journey, including:

    • How to meet the needs of customers during the five phases of the golfer experience
    • Where business opportunities exist in the more than 1,000 golfer touchpoints
    • Top motivations and expectations of golfers from your course
    • Satisfaction of touchpoints related to pace of play, customer service, design and more
    • Which on-course touchpoints create satisfaction and dissatisfaction

    The NGCOA will also host a sneak peek of these research efforts with
    David Pierce, Kris Schoonover, and Eric Brey during Golf Business LIVE on Wednesday, November 11 at 3:00 PM ET. Jay Karen, NGCOA CEO and Don Rea, PGA, Augusta Ranch Golf Club. Register now!

    NGCOA’s Golf Business LIVE webinar series covers the latest happenings in the golf industry, shares informative content as it relates to the success of your golf course operations, and offers an interactive question and answer session with attendees. Click here to watch previous NGCOA webinars.

  • NGCOA Sponsors Inaugural African American Golf Expo & Forum

    NGCOA is pleased to announce its involvement in the first African American Golf Expo & Forum (AAGE&F). The event, scheduled for February 20-23, 2021 at the Marietta Hilton Hotel and Conference Center in Atlanta, seeks to “promote the game, the business, the industry, the careers and the opportunities in golf to African Americans” and other communities currently underrepresented in the sport. It will feature sessions on topics ranging from golf programs at historically black colleges and universities to supplier diversity opportunities as well as 20,000 square feet of exhibition space reserved for minority-owned/focused businesses and organizations.

    NGCOA is sponsoring and will present educational programming related to golf course ownership. “We’re excited that NGCOA came on as our first sponsor, and we look forward to NGCOA playing a dual role in our first Expo & Forum,” said Jim Beatty, founder of AAGE&F, president of Jim Beatty Golf Ventures, executive editor of the African American Golfer’s Digest and chairman of the WE ARE GOLF Diversity Task Force Recreational and Competitive Play Committee. “Our attendees will greatly benefit from NGCOA’s business expertise and guidance. We want to increase the ownership of golf courses and other venues among African Americans and NGCOA will help achieve that goal.”

    This new partnership not only puts NGCOA in a better position to help the business of golf — especially as it relates to supporting currently underrepresented populations in golf with revenue-positive course ownership — it is also a tangible demonstration of the organization’s commitment to a more diverse and inclusive sport. "In order to see real progress in the business of golf,” said NGCOA CEO Jay Karen, “industry stakeholders need to walk down many paths together. This sponsorship and education-sharing allows us to take a significant step, but rest assured it is only one of many ahead. I look forward to collaborating with Jim and with my fellow industry allied organizations on helping improve the business we love.”

    To underscore its aim to drive diversity, equity and inclusion activities that serve the business of golf, NGCOA has also developed a Diversity & Inclusion Center on its website. Golf course owners and operators will find information on minority-owned and/or -focused businesses, organizations, publications and programs as well as resources for building and maintaining a healthy culture of inclusivity in their own organizations.

    For more information about the AAGE&F, please visit
  • NGCOA Offers Eight Consecutive, Business Critical Education Sessions at Golf Business RevCon 2020

    NGCOA’s newest event, Golf Business RevCon 2020, features eight education sessions, presented consecutively, all focused on golf course operations that owners, operators and others responsible for the success of golf course businesses can use to immediately increase revenue (click on the links to see full session and speaker descriptions):


    Grow Your Revenue by 5-15% with a Subscription Program! Turning Underutilized Assets into Your Best Assets!
    presented by Pat Kelley, Partner, Advance Golf Partners


    Catapult Your Green Fee Revenue Over the Top, Proven Data Driven Decisions to Increase Revenue presented by Mike Loustalot, Co-Founder and Chief Evangelist, Sagacity Golf, and Don Rea, PGA, Owner, Augusta Ranch Golf Club, Mesa, AZ


    Power Marketing to Move the Needle! Leveraging Increasing Demand to Your Benefit! presented by Kris Strauss, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Troon


    No One Goes to a Party Uninvited: How Including Diverse Communities Can Drive New Revenue Streams presented by Tiffany Fitzgerald, Founder & CEO, Black Girls Golf


    Three Ways to Replace Your Pro Shop Revenue, Use Your Retail Space to Your Advantage! presented by Allison George, Wizard of Fun, Toad Valley Golf Course


    Fun, Food and Friends, Financial Success is Not Just About 18 Holes Anymore presented by Randy Anderson, The Meadows Golf Club, Maine


    Everyone Eats, 8 Ways to Make Your Food and Beverage Operation More Profitable presented by Sean Taylor, Founder and CEO, Up To Par Management


    Amazing Customer Service CAN Increase Your Revenue, Bringing the “Feels” to Boost Revenue presented by Whitney Reid Pennell, President, RCS Hospitality Group

  • NGCOA Awards Don Rossi Scholarships to Four Students Pursuing Golf-Related Careers

    NGCOA recently awarded Don Rossi Scholarships to four students pursuing degrees in golf-related fields. Chosen from a large highly-qualified pool of applicants, this year’s four scholarship recipients are Michelle Reyes, a rising junior at Florida Gulf Coast University, Nicholas Stewart, a rising senior at N.C. State University, Maxwell Bancker and Ian Stirt, both rising seniors at Florida Gulf Coast University.

    The Don Rossi Scholarship Fund was created in 1993 by the National Golf Course Owners Association, based in Charleston, S.C. The scholarship is for college juniors and seniors who are majoring in Sports Administration, Golf Enterprise Management or Sports Management, and who intend to pursue a career in a golf-related field. This year’s scholarships total $7,500, and winners were chosen from applicants from 25 colleges and universities throughout the country. Since the program began awarding scholarship funds in 1999, more than $109,000 has been given to deserving candidates.

    “We are proud to support the education of young men and women who are excited about careers in our industry,” said Jay Karen, Chief Executive Officer of the NGCOA. “We’re pleased to make this scholarship available to such deserving students.”

    In addition to helping establish the NGCOA, Don Rossi served as president of the National Golf Foundation and was executive director of the Golf Course Builders Association of America. Rossi passed away in 1990. For more information on the Don Rossi Scholarship, visit or contact Caroline Rakar, Director of Grantmaking and Scholarships at Coastal Community Foundation at or 843-793-6120.
  • Register TODAY for Golf Business RevCon 2020

    Increasing revenue has always been incredibly critical to the health of businesses, even before the challenges that the coronavirus recently created throughout the U.S. The National Golf Course Owners Association’s newest event, Golf Business RevCon 2020, was originally designed to give owners and operators tools and techniques to build new revenue streams, identify and retrieve lost revenue, and yield better revenue out of traditional sources. Today, more than ever, boosting revenue streams could be the difference between success and failure.

    Golf Business RevCon 2020 is golf’s only event that’s all about revenue. It will offer expert education, insights and tools from leading speakers in research and data, hospitality, technology, marketing, food and beverage, entertainment and gaming, and retail. Attendees will also hear directly from other successful golf course owners and operators how they applied these and similar practices and increased revenues at their businesses. 

    Golf course owners and operators can attend RevCon20 either 1) at the ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, NV, or 2) remotely from a computer or mobile device. Those attending in Las Vegas will enjoy first-class food and top-shelf beverages at CDC-compliant properties with full safety precautions in effect, as well as golf and gaming. Remote attendees will participate in the same education sessions concurrently, and enjoy virtual activities. Attendance is complimentary for most registration types.

  • NGCOA CEO Jay Karen to Serve on ASAE and ASAE Research Foundation Boards of Directors

    The American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) announced that Jay Karen, CAE, the Chief Executive Officer of NGCOA, has been nominated to serve as a Director at Large on both the ASAE Board of Directors and the ASAE Research Foundation Board of Directors for a three-year term. The new board will be officially installed during the 2020 ASAE Virtual Annual Meeting & Exposition, August 10-12, 2020, and his term will begin September 1, 2020.

    According to its website, ASAE is “a membership organization of more than 46,000 association executives and industry partners representing 7,400 organizations. ASAE members lead, manage, and work in or partner with organizations in more than a dozen association management disciplines, from executive management to finance to technology. In 2020, ASAE is celebrating 100 years of making the world better, safer, and smarter. The centennial anniversary represents ASAE’s role as a leader and supporter of progress and innovation in the association industry.”

    Jay and seven other association executives were chosen by the Leadership Committee of ASAE and the ASAE Research Foundation as a slate "who best exemplify ASAE’s membership profile and are representative of the organization’s diversity—including geography, size, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, skill sets and areas of experience."

    “Associations play a significant role in American culture, public policy, and workforce, and we touch just about every aspect of the economy,” said Karen. “ASAE is the organization that supports the success of the people who manage and lead associations at all levels. I am honored to serve an organization that has been an important part of my personal and professional life for over twenty years.”

  • NGCOA Opens Private Online Discussion Boards for All Golf Course Owners and Operators Nationwide

    In an effort to support golf courses throughout the country during these times of crisis and uncertainty, the National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA) has opened Accelerate -- its members-only online discussion community -- to ALL golf course owners and operators. Access will be available through May 31, 2020 at no cost or obligation to the facility. Interested owners and operators can sign up for this free access at

    “If we can open the lines of communication between more golf course owners and operators, perhaps we can play a part in greater business survival and recovery,” said Jay Karen, NGCOA CEO. “Having one location where course operators can connect, share and learn as proven to be one of the most valuable benefits for our members."

    Many courses have closed temporarily or have changed normal operating procedures, while others are still completely open for play. Some owners and operators are left only with the ability to protect and maintain their investment and are trying to prioritize their spring maintenance with a very limited crew. It’s business and staff challenges like these where encouragement and advice from experienced peers provide solace; this online portal has always been useful to members but has become even more of a vital resource for this communication since this pandemic began.

    “I love having this Accelerate community in this crazy time!” said Amy Coghill, owner of Silver Lake Golf Club in Orland Park, IL. “I get great info and a sense of 'we're all in this together'."

  • NGCOA Members Can Expand Activities and Increase Revenues with New Benefits from Perfect Golf Event

    NGCOA is pleased to announce its latest corporate partner, Perfect Golf Event (PGE), a Signature Group-affiliated company and the leader in providing technical and logistical support for golf event organizers.

    Through this relationship, PGE will offer NGCOA members golf tournament software, charity golf tournament planning, golf tournament management, golf outing prizes and events and fundraising tools. The partnership also includes preferred rates and special customer care services; NGCOA members can access this new benefit through the NGCOA Smart Buy Marketplace at

    “We’re delighted to add Perfect Golf Event as an NGCOA corporate partner,” said Jay Karen, Chief Executive Officer of NGCOA. “Golf events are proven to generate revenue year-round; this partnership with PGE ensures that courses have good tools and service to plan and execute them successfully.”

    Perfect Golf Event includes customized individual event websites branded for each golf course, the ability to attract and retain profitable events and outings with repeat business and numerous referrals, increased per-outing revenue and direct Perfect Golf Event staff customer support with outing organizers to create event marketing and a player registration platform.

    “Perfect Golf Event looks forward to working with the NGCOA to help create incremental revenue for course owners and make it easier to do so with the creation of new events at their courses,” said Paul Courter, Chief Operating Officer of Perfect Golf Event. “Partnering with the NGCOA will facilitate these relationships and help present multiple opportunities for golf course businesses.”
  • Rain Bird Renews Its Annual Contract with the National Golf Course Owners Association

    NGCOA is pleased to announce it has renewed its annual corporate partnership agreement with Rain Bird Corporation, a leading global manufacturer and provider of irrigation products and services.

    Through this continued relationship, Rain Bird will continue as the exclusive irrigation provider in the NGCOA Smart Buy Marketplace purchasing program’s Agronomy category. The partnership also includes sponsorship of NGCOA’s annual Golf Business Conference, Multi-Course & Resort Operators Retreat, and new Golf Business RevCon event. Rain Bird will also become one of the founding sponsors of the Top Resort Officer center on NGCOA’s soon-to-be-launched new website.

    “NGCOA’s members have been very pleased with the rebates, products and customer service they’ve received from Rain Bird through the NGCOA Smart Buy Marketplace” said Jay Karen, NGCOA’s Chief Executive Officer. “Rain Bird has also supplied our members with irrigation education, which not only benefits their businesses but the industry as a whole. We’re delighted to be able to continue this valuable relationship.”

    NGCOA members will continue to receive exclusive rebates on Rain Bird Golf irrigation products. Rain Bird’s Total System Solutions provide complete integration of components, making them easier to manage and more efficient to operate than mix-and-match solutions, resulting in water and labor expense savings.

    “Rain Bird is proud to be NGCOA’s corporate partner,” said Stuart Hackwell, Director of Rain Bird’s Golf Division. “Rain Bird is very excited to continue to work with NGCOA golf course owner and operator members. We strongly believe that the innovative Rain Bird product line will meet the needs of member golf course owners and operators while saving water and energy. We support the NGCOA Smart Buy Program and believe the associated benefit will add significant value for NGCOA members.”