Jay Karen named CEO of NGCOA

Jay Karen has been named the new chief executive officer of the National Golf Course Owners Association. He will replace Michael Hughes, who after 25 years in the role, announced in January that he would be stepping down as CEO. Karen will begin Oct. 1.

Karen, who formerly served as director of partner relations and membership from 1997 to 2007, returns to lead the organization, which represent more than 3,000 golf course owners and operators worldwide.

Karen hopes to bolster the NGCOA’s relevancy and increase membership through various strategies including strengthening chapter relations, expanding member services, modernizing online curriculum and amplifying legislative advocacy.

“The bedrock of the golf industry is the golf course owner,” Karen said in a news release. “Therefore, I’m eager to aggressively build on Mike Hughes’ remarkable accomplishments of helping owners and operators run more successful businesses.” 

Most recently, Karen served as CEO of Select Registry, a collection of more than 300 inns, bed and breakfasts, and boutique hotels. For seven years prior, he was CEO of the Professional Association of Innkeepers International. He was responsible for “A Better Way to Stay promotional campaign and a strategic partnership with TripAdvisor, which elevated the organizations revenue, according to the release.

“Jay Karen brings fresh, new ideas, motivation and a profound love of golf to the NGCOA,” Matthew Galvin, President of the NGCOA.  “While we look forward to a smooth transition and exciting changes, we are grateful to Mike Hughes for his legendary and expert leadership as he’s leaving the organization at a high point.”


During his time at the NGCOA, Hughes led the formation of the Golf Industry Show, the second-largest and fastest-growing trade show in golf. Hughes has also served as Chairman of the Executive Committee of GOLF 20/20, a member of the Board of Governors of the National Golf Foundation, an Advisory Board member of the World Golf Hall of Fame and Chairman of WE ARE GOLF. 

What is next for Hughes is still unknown as he is “still formulating the plan.”

Established in 1979 and headquartered in Charleston, S.C., the NGCOA’s membership includes owners and operators of daily-fee, semi-private, private and resort courses. 

Add new comment

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.
If you enjoyed this article and would like to sign up for a FREE digital subscription, click here!