Congratulations to our 2023 CGCOA Award Recipients!

Celebrating Excellence and Service in the Golf Industry

CGCOA is pleased to announce the recipients of our 2023 CGCOA Annual Awards!

Course of the Year

Desert Willow Golf Resort (Kemper Sports), Palm Desert, CA

Community Environmental

Crystal Springs Golf Course (CourseCo), Burlingame, CA

For the Good of the Game

Dave Sams (Brookside Golf Course/Rose Bowl)

Ted Horton Distinguished Service

Zeb Welborn (19th Hole Media)

Employee Excellence (Southern California)

Marc Lilleberg (American Golf)

Employee Excellence (Northern California)

Carlotta Brown (Lake Chabot Golf Course/Touchstone Golf)

This year’s recipients have demonstrated exceptional commitment, innovation and leadership, embodying the values that define the California Golf Course Owners Association.

Award winners were recognized at the CGCOA/GCSASC Joint Annual Meeting on November 3 at Dove Canyon Golf Club in Trabuco Canyon.

Congratulations to our 2023 CGCOA Award recipients!

Thank you for your continued dedication to advancing the golf industry.

The Incredible Power of Social Media for Your Golf Course

The below message is on behalf of CGCOA Sponsor 19th Hole Media.

Michael Block’s Inspiring Journey, and the Incredible Power of Social Media for Your Golf Course

Dear Esteemed Members and Friends of the California Golf Course Owners Association,

What a ride it’s been! Michael Block, Head Golf Professional at Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club, recently became a household name through an awe-inspiring performance at the PGA Championship. His PGA Club Pro status, heartfelt interviews, the unforgettable ace at the 15th hole, and a grand 15th place finish made for an exciting spectacle. With this feat, he secured an exemption for next year’s PGA Championship.

It’s no surprise for us as we fondly remember the 2020 California Golf Course Owners Association Employee Excellence Award being bestowed upon Michael. The award is a recognition of exceptional customer service skills, remarkable leadership, and excellent teamwork, all of which he showcased at the PGA Championship, reaffirming our decision to nominate him in 2020.

As the championship unfolded and Michael’s journey gained momentum, Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club’s social media platforms were abuzz. His earnest and emotional interviews resonated with the audience and propelled the club’s digital presence to new heights. His pair up with Rory, followed by his fairy tale round on Sunday, set the digital world alight.

19th Hole Media (Welborn Media) took the helm of live-tweeting the round and ensured continuous digital coverage of Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club and Michael Block. Capturing these moments was not only thrilling but also one of the most impactful events we have ever been a part of.

With a decade-long experience in handling Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club’s social media, we have witnessed the power of digital presence in action. From attracting celebrity golfers like Albert Pujols and Teemu Selanne to gaining international golf influencers’ attention, social media has been instrumental. It has also helped the club to retain top teaching professionals, promote successful events, and build an extensive waiting list for club membership.

Last week alone we generated 3,654,206 impressions, 140,088 engagements, and 725 new followers.

Why does your golf course need social media? Here’s why:

• Retain, Attract, and Grow Talent, Influencers, and Business: A vibrant social media presence allows your golf course to highlight key staff members and their efforts, attract influencers, and expand business reach.

• Capitalize on Big Opportunities: The PGA Championship’s unexpected turn was a testament to how an active social media presence can capture pivotal moments and transform them into business opportunities.

• Engage and Connect with Golfers: Engaging with golfers posts after their visit to your course by reacting to their tags, reviews, and promotional content significantly boosts the likelihood of their return.

Let us help you bring the power of social media to your golf course. We are offering a free social media consulting session for your golf course. Please email me at to arrange a session at your earliest convenience.

Thanks for everything!

Zeb Welborn

President of Welborn Media & 19th Hole Media

Now Available! Tree Care Solutions for Your Common Tree Challenges

Now Available! Tree Care Solutions for Your Common Tree Challenges
Webinar Recording

You can view the recording of the recent webinar Tree Care Solutions for Your Common Tree Challenges on April 26 by Lisa Smith (Registered Consulting Arborist, ISA Board Certified Master Arborist, ISA Tree Risk Assessor Qualified).


We received great feedback on this webinar, including from Ed Smilow, Golf Course Law:

“I just had to reach out and say what an absolutely wonderful presentation it was. I only wished it had gone on for another hour as I was soaking it all in and wanted more… I counsel numerous golf courses throughout the State of California and will encourage them in the proactive measures you have suggested to enhance their facilities, properly maintain their tree populations and reduce the risk of tree failures.”

USGA Collaboration a Positive Sign For the Business of Golf

The USGA has made a concerted effort in recent years to forge a closer relationship with GCSA chapters and Golf Course Owners Associations, and their outreach and collaboration is worthy of acknowledgment and appreciation. It is also a very positive sign for the business of golf, as the golf community is stronger when we are unified and collaborative.

Specifically, the USGA was instrumental in the planning and implementation of the Northern California and Southern California Water Summits that took place in 2022, and plans are already underway for additional conferences in the western states in 2023, including the possibility of a more public water focused event at the US Women’s Open at Pebble Beach in July.

Staying on the topic of water, and USGA’s commitment to educating course operators about waterwise practices, USGA Agronomist Brian Whitlark recently penned the following succinct and informative article advising the importance of being proactive in water conservation strategies: Get Out In Front of Water Regulations.

In addition to supporting the allied associations through the dedication of resources to association events such as the Water Summits, there has been a recognizable effort on the part of USGA to invite allied associations to participate in USGA networking events and meetings, including the upcoming USGA Annual Meeting in Napa and receptions at the GCSAA Annual Conference, and providing resources for use in allied association publications.

Thank you to USGA for their obvious efforts to support and bring the golf community closer together. We are appreciative, and golf stands to benefit from the collaboration!

Marc Connerly, Executive Director