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GCBAA mourns passing of former Executive Director Paul Foley

By |  May 11, 2020 0 Comments

Paul Foley, a golf industry leader who served as executive director of the Golf Course Builders Association of America (GCBAA), died of complications from the coronavirus on April 17.

Foley had already retired from a successful career as an executive at the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company and several automotive industry groups when he found a way to combine his passion for golf with his management abilities at GCBAA. He served from 2006 to 2011 when he turned over the reins to current executive director Justin Apel who had served as his second-in-command.

During his tenure, Foley dealt with the impact of the downturn in golf construction brought on by overbuilding, recession and changes in the market. He also helped to professionalize GCBAA with improved certification, new standards, educational opportunities and public relations efforts to grow awareness of the value of choosing GCBAA members for golf construction projects.

He was also instrumental in growing the GCBAA Foundation Sticks for Kids program through a partnership with the National Recreation and Parks Association. The program grew from just 11 sites to more than 500 in all 50 states when Foley retired.

Foley’s extensive corporate experience paid off as well. “He was able to balance development of good member programs and services with the need to make us a better business operation,” said Apel. “I learned so much from that; the ability to get into our members world and understand their businesses and then use the organization to try to create the programs that would help them. He started the evolution of our membership from a fraternal organization to a group that rightly expects a return on their investment. That philosophy and the way he managed our small office is still in place today.”

Foley is survived by his wife, Judy, four children and nine grandchildren.



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