30 Golf Inc. Fall 2014
No. 16 Mike McCarley
President, Golf Channel
2013 Ranking: 25
While the game of golf may not be growing, the Golf Channel ratings are. And
Mike McCarley has been lauded much
for his stewardship. Named president just
three years ago, he has helped make the
channel the fastest growing network in
television. It scored its highest April view-
ership this year, even though Tiger Woods
was not part of the Masters.
Since 2011, its daily viewership has
climbed more than 54 percent. The chan-
nel, co-founded by Arnold Palmer and
launched in 1994, is now available in more
than 120 million homes in 83 countries.
McCarley has also overseen the consolidation of the channel’s digital operations
and GolfNow.com, the goliath third-party
online tee time operation it also owns.
While some golf course operators have
been critical of GolfNow because it sells
bartered tee times, the fuss is testament to
the power it wields over golf courses.
No. 17 Eric Wilborts
Owner, Blue Green Groupe Saur
2013 Ranking: Not Ranked
Eric Wilborts, a former tennis pro, is hav-
No. 18 Blake Walker
ing pretty good luck with a sport that
features a dimpled, not a fuzzy, ball. A
After a slow start, the business took off
the last few years. The number of courses
went from 53.5 to 101.7, making Blue
Green the largest operator in Europe and
the fastest-growing management com-
pany in the world. A few years ago he pre-
dicted he would hit 200 courses by 2015.
He just might.
CEO and Managing Partner
Arcis Equity Partners
2013 Ranking: Not ranked
Blake Walker sent a few shock waves
around the world of golf when it was
announced that the firm he runs, Arcis
Equity Partners, was buying CNL Lifestyle
Properties’ portfolio of 48 golf courses.
The acquisition, according to Steve
Ekovich, managing director of the
National Golf & Resort Properties Group