Golf Is Wind Behind Sails of Jay Ship

By Brian Hurlburt,

Golf is a game that brings people together, and that is precisely the reason Southern Nevada Golf Association member Jay Ship loves and appreciates the sport. Off the course, Ship is the CEO of X’s and O’s of Success, while on the course, he belongs to the Kirby Golf Association (KGA), one of 90+ member clubs within the SNGA.

“Golf has afforded me the opportunity for the last 40 years to spend time with different members of my family and to make new friends,” says Ship, who won the Suffolk County Conference Championship in Long Island as a high school senior. “It is a game that I love, and I will continue to play and compete at it for as long as my body lets me.”

Ship plays to about a 6.5 handicap and was the 2023 KGA Player of the Year. Ship also plays in SNGA tournaments throughout the year and says being a part of the SNGA has many meanings.

“A few years ago, when I first re-engaged my membership, it was all about the opportunity to play competitive golf again,” Ship says. “But as I have become more familiar with the organization, the first thing I think about is that the SNGA is a group of people who have an extreme passion for growing the game of golf throughout Southern Nevada.”

X’s and O’s of Success was co-founded by D.J. Allen and former UNLV Head Basketball Coach Lon Kruger, and provides corporate training and coaching services to businesses locally and across the country. The company focuses on helping adult learners create sustainable changes in behaviors that will benefit their lives and careers.

“Life is a team sport, and when people embrace that philosophy, they flourish,” Ship says. “To be successful, adult learners need to be entertained and engaged. We have created a series of trainings and coaching based on the foundation of sports metaphors and lessons learned on or off the field or court.”

Ship developed a passion for leadership development while playing baseball at Le Moyne College in Syracuse. He was named the team’s first official captain in more than 25 years and quickly learned how a good leader can impact a team.

Recently, Ship put his leadership skills to good use and volunteered to help the SNGA staff and board of directors undergo a 5-year strategic planning process.

“The fact that the group was willing to seek out professional, outside help was the initial sign about how serious they took the endeavor,” Ship says. “The SNGA bylaws require that the organization must assess themselves and put a plan in place, but it was clear that they were not just checking the box to meet the requirement. They spent a lot of time and put a lot of effort into developing the plan that will serve Southern Nevada golf well for the next five years.”

Ship believes the organization clearly understands the mission.

“My biggest takeaway was that they will never stray from the organization’s most basic core value, which is providing opportunity and growing the game of golf in this area,” Ship says. “They value their status as a United States Golf Association Allied Association and they understand that a big part of what they do is supporting golf’s governing body. But the SNGA also does not shy away from creating additional value for the membership. It seems like hardly a week goes by where there is not some opportunity or value being presented to members by the organization.”

Ship hopes more golfers take advantage and join the SNGA. Currently, the membership stands at 17,000, but a goal is to reach 20,000.

“Joining the SNGA will not just fulfill whatever competitive needs a golfer has, but he or she will have an opportunity to play great golf courses, while making a bunch of new friends along the way,” Ship says.

Check out the official website for more information about X’s and O’s of Success.

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