Kevin Drum is stepping down after more than 12 years in the position and will now consult from Pinehurst, N.C. Pat Meck has been promoted to Operations Manager of the association.
The Mississippi Gulf Coast Golf Association (MGCGA) has announced that Kevin Drum has resigned as the organization’s Executive Director after more than 12 years in the job. Drum who pioneered development of the area’s first golf destination marketing initiative, will remain involved with the association by providing consulting services from his office in Pinehurst, N.C.
“I have worked for 12 years to get all three of the state’s coastal counties (Jackson, Harrison, Hancock) working together to promote golf and get golf a seat on the state tourism board,” Drum said. “Both of those goals were accomplished this last month with the formation of the Coast Regional Partnership. Since we accomplished these major goals, I felt the timing [of my resignation] was good for area courses and myself.”
Since being hired by the MGCGA in 2001 to develop a golf tourism marketing program, Drum was responsible for developing the organization’s first bylaws, funding model and a long-term strategic plan with input from all stakeholders. Using the Myrtle Beach, S.C. area out of a model, he developed a partnership of golf courses, hotels and tourism promotion entities to establish the area’s first golf destination marketing organization. In doing so, Drum created the trademarked “Golf Coast” brand and developed the Official Golf Guide of the Gulf Coast, the area’s first golf web site (www.GolfCoast.com), and the area’s largest computer tee-time network, at a time when very few golf courses had computers or internet access.
Outgoing MGCGA President Mike Buckley, of Grand Bear Golf Club, said Drum had been instrumental in creating the “Golf Coast” brand and leading the state’s golf industry through three potentially devastating crises—Hurricane Katrina, the recession, and the BP oil spill. “These events did nothing but increase Kevin’s strong feelings toward the coast and his commitment to making golf grow,” added Buckley. “Where other parts of the country are seeing a continuous decline in golf rounds, golf on the coast has remained steady over the last few years. We will continue to enjoy the benefits of Kevin’s work for many years to come.”
“Kevin has worked tirelessly for our association for 12 years, his work has put us in a strong position going forward and we will continue to be a big part of the tourism industry on the Mississippi Gulf Coast,” added the MGCGA’s incoming President, Russ Bloom of The Oaks Golf Club.
Jack Norris, President of the Gulf Coast Business Council, said Drum and the Golf Association had played a key role in efforts to regionalize tourism leadership and development on the Coast and had identified clear strategic objectives. “Early on, Kevin and board leadership embraced the effort and advocated bringing all tourism stakeholders to the table for the advancement of the entire industry,” he added.
The Gulf Coast Tee-Time Network now connects area courses and hotels, is a model for golf tourism destinations, and also allows consumers to book tee-times online. During his tenure as Executive Director, Drum served on the Governor’s Tourism Committee on Katrina Recovery and also served on the Governor’s Oil Spill Tourism Recovery Committee. He received over 30 awards, including the 2005 Tourism Promotion of the Year award from Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour.
In making the announcement, Drum added, “I am excited about the future of Mississippi Gulf Coast golf tourism since the signing of the new tourism bill where the golf association has a seat. This is the right time for the golf association and member courses to take the reins and work toward integrating our golf marketing organization assets closer to the new tourism organization, to ensure there is no duplication of efforts.”
Following Drum’s departure, Pat Meck, who has served the MGCGA for over seven years as Office Manager, will be promoted to Operations Manager and report directly to the association’s Board of Directors. “I have left the association in the excellent hands of Pat Meck and a Board of Directors of area golf courses that’s committed to building on our success of increasing golf tourism,” said Drum.