“Collecting and Connecting” a Key Segment of Our Industry: A Post-MCOR Recap


By Michael Williams, Contributor, Golf Business 


One of my favorite weeks on my annual golf calendar is NGCOA’s Multi-Course & Resort Operators Retreat, or MCOR. MCOR23 was the 28th consecutive year of the event, which is amazing in itself when you think about some of the things that have happened in the world during that period. This year’s edition, my third, was a return to the golf mecca of Monterey, California. It was also a return to normalcy after the pandemic that adversely affected so many lives and industries but set the golf industry on an upward trajectory that shows no immediate signs of abating.

MCOR is by definition attended by the owners and operators of multiple facilities. It is also attended by those that service those facilities, from agronomy to accounting services and everything in between.

In previous versions, I had been tasked with either hosting or presenting in some fashion, but for this edition my assignment was to be a focused observer of the event, absorbing the content and assessing the impact on the attendees – a bit different because of the way it was programmed. NGCOA Director of Education Taylor Wall worked with NGCOA members and MCOR23 co-chairs David Pillsbury (CEO, Invited) and Jim Hinckley (CEO, Century Golf) to select topics and speakers for MCOR. The result was a slate of panelists and presenters that was among the most intellectual, accomplished, insightful and compelling group that I have seen at any conference in any industry.

One thing that struck me was the gravitas of the meeting. The speakers included captains of industry, predictors of global trends and high-ranking public servants including Tyler Goodspeed, a former chairperson of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors. These panelists were informed and experienced professionals who had valuable insights about the impact of current trends and topics on the golf owner operator. The discussion on course acquisition that included Jordan Klein (Managing Director,  Baird Global Investment Banking), Weston McCurry (Principal - Private Equity, Apollo Global Management), Jeff Woolson, (Managing Director, CBRE’s Golf & Resort Group) and moderated by Jim Hinckley (CEO, Century Golf Partners) was a fascinating exchange between intermediaries that had been on both sides of hundreds of millions of dollars of deals. They gave the audience, a knowledgeable one, a master class in the art of the golf deal.

But the most impressive part of the conference for me was the range and the weight of the themes that were discussed. Golf was, and still is by some, considered to be a simple and quaint operation that is mostly local in scope. But the reality, especially for owner/operators of large portfolios of courses, is that the large issues in the world are the key issues in golf. As a political commentator, I was impressed by the realization among the MCOR assembly that the macro issues of the day like inflation, international conflicts, supply chain disruptions, and artificial intelligence must be understood in order to survive and thrive in today’s market and beyond.

MCOR is a warm and friendly gathering, but it is also a valuable intellectual summit that collects and connects a crucial component of the golf industry. It’s a privilege every year to be in the rooms where the information is translated into the ideas that will shape the game for years to come. One question: any chance of having it in Hawaii? Just throwing it out there.


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Michael Williams is a contributor for Golf Business, host of Golf Business LIVE, and is the Executive Director for Cyrano Communications (Washington, DC). He is also a contributor for Voice of America (Washington, DC), a member of the USGA Golf Journal Editorial Board, and a contributor for PGA.com. In 2005, Michael launched his first radio show on FOX News Radio Sticks and Stones, a critically acclaimed show that covered golf, business and politics. Since that launch, Michael has established a reputation as a savvy broadcaster and as an incisive interviewer and writer. An avid golfer himself, Michael has covered the game of golf and the golf lifestyle including courses, restaurants, business, travel and sports marketing for publications all over the world.

** The views and opinions featured in Golf Business WEEKLY are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of the NGCOA.**