By Michael Williams, Contributor, Golf Business
NGCOA's 27th annual Multi-Course & Resort Operators Retreat (MCOR) was held last month in Charleston, SC. It was only my second time attending the event, but I was looking forward to it for a variety of reasons, not least of which that I would be serving as Master of Ceremonies for the first time.
MCOR is a unique gathering – part social event, part strategy session, part learning symposium.
Last year's was in a familiar location but an unfamiliar place on the calendar. There was a sense of gratitude and relief at MCOR 2021, a sense that the event was a defiant declaration that, much like the golf industry during the pandemic, the men and women who operate the places where so many had found relief were determined to gather to appreciate the great windfall that so unexpectedly came with the onset and endurance of the pandemic.
At MCOR22, there was more certainty, more reconnection with familiar places and faces. The event, one of the best attended in its history, was full of the same warm spirit of a family reunion – the rare one where the members of the family actually like each other. It amazed me that even with my brief time being connected to NGCOA and its members, so many attendees welcomed me as an old friend. I have traveled far and wide, and I can say without reservation that there is no more comfortable room than a group of people who like golf and each other.
The warmth of the event was matched by the intensity of the working sessions. I once heard it said of a great orator that they could speak to a crowd that included a 4th grader and a Nobel laureate and at the end of the presentation, both would have learned much and have been well-entertained. The speakers at MCOR demonstrated the same aptitude for connecting with their audience and effectively relaying information across that connection.
Some of the most knowledgeable speakers in the industry spoke about the gains of the past two years, ways to hold onto those gains and the powerful social and economic factors that threaten those gains. Anna Liotta of Resultance spoke passionately and eloquently about the differences in generational cultures and the necessity of understating the motivations of younger generations, which is essential to attracting and retaining talent. Anirban Basu gave a brilliant presentation about the current economic climate and its implications for owner/operators. And NGCOA CEO Jay Karen did double duty, leading a spirited open discussion of the most pressing golf industry issues of the day with the entire attendee base and then conducting a fascinating one-on-one interview with USGA CEO Mike Whan.
Just like golf swings, golf conferences have can be quite different but still be effective. Some are long and deliberate with lots of moving parts slow while others are quick and simple. MCOR is more the latter; think Nick Price in his prime. What amazes me is the efficiency of the event, the ability to pack so much into such a short time and make almost all of it available to every attendee. As I said my farewells to the attendees and to the amazing NGCOA staff that makes MCOR happen, I was already blocking off my calendar for the 2023 version. For owners and operators of multiple courses interested in truly tapping into the heart, soul and mind of the golf industry, it is a must-attend event year in and year out.