Award of Merit winner Jack Nicklaus thanks course owners for ‘second career’

The Clubs of Cordillera Ranch recognized as Course of the Year during NGCOA’s annual Celebration Dinner and Awards Gala
Jack receiving the National Golf Course Owners Association's Award of Merit from NGCOA CEO Mike Hughes (right) and incoming President Matt Galvin.

Jack receiving the National Golf Course Owners Association’s Award of Merit from NGCOA CEO Mike Hughes (right) and incoming President Matt Galvin.

After being recognized as the NGCOA’s 2014 winner of the Award of Merit for long-term contributions to the game, Jack Nicklaus thanked course owners for his “second career” and praised them as “pioneers of our game.”

Nicklaus, who has been as successful designing golf courses as he was conquering them during his record-setting playing career, told attendees at the NGCOA’s Annual Conference in Orlando earlier this month that course owners “are the reason why I have been blessed to enjoy a second career—or life—outside of playing the game of golf.”

“You gave me a new passion, a new love,” Nicklaus said, referring to his company’s design of some 380 courses in 36 countries and 39 U.S. states. “I owe a heartfelt thanks to every owner and operator who has believed in me and has given me the opportunity to turn an avocation into a vocation.

“Owners have been the pioneers of our game, the stewards and caretakers of today’s game and the innovators for tomorrow’s game. For that, we all owe them our thanks.”

At the NGCOA’s annual Celebration Dinner and Awards Gala, the association also recognized the 2014 Course of the Year and winners of its other top awards.

The Jack Nicklaus Signature Course at The Clubs of Cordillera Ranch, a community which sits on 8,700 acres in the heart of Texas Hill Country, was named the NGCOA’s 2014 Course of the Year. The award honors a member course demonstrating excellence in course quality, ownership and management and for contributions to its community and to the game.

About 40 minutes north of San Antonio, The Clubs of Cordillera Ranch is a Nicklaus design that winds its way over 780 acres of rugged landscape. Cordillera opened in May 2007 and has taken a consistent position among the state’s top-ranked courses.

Finalists for the Course of the Year Award included Miacomet Golf Course in Nantucket, Mass.; Jack Kramer’s Los Serranos Country Club in Chino Hills, Calif.; and Tam O’Shanter Golf Course in Canton, Ohio.

The NGCOA’s Annual Conference is the golf industry’s largest gathering of owners and operators of daily fee, private, resort and municipal courses.