Executive Search: COO/General Manager for Highlands Falls Country Club
- August 12, 2022
- Placement, Private Clubs, Executive Search
Chief Operating Officer/General Manager
Highlands Falls Country Club
Founded in 1958, Highlands Falls Country Club is a private, member-owned club in Highlands, North Carolina. The quaint town of Highlands, NC sits at 4,118 feet in the mountains of western North Carolina and is surrounded by the neighboring states of Georgia, Tennessee and South Carolina. Highlands is a short drive from Atlanta, Greenville, Knoxville, Charlotte and Asheville. For more information on Highlands, visit www.highlandschamber.org.
Perched high atop the Highlands Plateau, where incredible views stretch for miles and miles, is Highlands Falls Country Club, a small and close-knit club community which has just completed a $3.5 million renovation of the clubhouse to expand outdoor dining and create a unique indoor/outdoor bar and grill area. With updated features, extended dining areas, and sweeping views, it serves as a stylish, luxurious gathering place for members and guests – the response from the membership has been overwhelmingly positive.
Highlands Falls offers all the amenities and activities you’d expect, and then some. Whether members prefer golf, croquet, pickleball, tennis, bridge, fishing, swimming, dining, working out, participating in the convertible club, or a combination of all the above, they enjoy their play surrounded by mountain views, cool summer temperatures, an incredible waterfall, and folks who can’t wait to welcome you to the community.
Highlands Falls offers a newly renovated 18 holes of pure golf pleasure on a dramatically beautiful course designed by Bill Bergin, a noted golf course designer. The Club also works closely with the USGA, who have spoken highly of the course conditions. The Croquet facilities include two full Croquet lawns, and a stunning Croquet Pavilion. Highlands Falls recently hosted the USCA championships at their croquet facilities. The Sports Complex includes a tennis center with three Har-Tru courts and four pickleball courts, all of which offer interactive programs and regular social events for all skill levels. The Club has a Fitness facility with wonderful views of mountains and lakes that includes a weight room, locker rooms, a group fitness room, and is replete with spa services, personal training, and group classes. The Pool complex includes the swimming pool and aquatic fitness activities. The Clubhouse consists of the administrative offices, kitchen, member dining areas, lounge, and banquet facilities, and offers engaging activities for all ages, such as the highly popular Bridge program and fun-filled Junior Camp.
Members love to talk about how incredible the dining experience is at Highlands Falls, which offers both casual and formal dining options, well-priced lunch and dinner menus, special theme dinners, phenomenal wine dinners, a la carte brunch every Sunday, and special dietary accommodations upon request. The kitchen is lead by executive chef Shawn Olah, who has been featured in Club + Resort Chef and Golf Kitchen magazines. Whether hosting a small private party, throwing a large private event, or entertaining special guests, Highlands Falls provides the perfect combination of private elegance and impeccable service.
Highlands Falls Country Club Overview
- 308 Members (Golf: 218, Other: 90)
- Initiation Fees (Golf: $65,000, Social: $55,000 )
- Annual Dues (Golf: $13,836)
- $5.0M Gross Volume
- $3.6M Annual Dues
- $1.0K F&B Volume
- 9 Board Members serving rotating three-year terms
- JONAS is used for accounting and POS
- Average age of members is 73
- Club season currently runs from May 1 to November 1
- Club is located in the Highlands Falls community which has a separate homeowners association
For more information about Highlands Falls Country club, please visit clubhfcc.com.
The COO/General Manager Position
Highlands Falls is replacing a highly-regarded retiring 16-year leader who has strong relationships with members and staff and a passion for the food and beverage operations. The remaining management team includes a combination of long-tenured employees and recent hires. The General Manager (GM) has total operational responsibility for the Club and reports to the president of the Club, who also chairs the Board of Directors (Board). The GM oversees a private country club with one golf course, multiple dining venues, and a broad array of other amenities including croquet, tennis, pickleball, pool, and fitness center. The General Manager will be expected to be highly visible and engaging with the membership and team members. The GM will also work closely with the Board as an innovative thought leader as the Club continues to evaluate continued investments in facilities and employees.
- Coordinate the development and execution of the club’s long-range and annual business plans to achieve the mission of the club
- Prepare comprehensive operating plans and budgets, obtain approval from the Board, and operate in accordance with approved budgets
- Maintain a long-term capital budget to assure the sustained material condition of all physical assets of the club
- Manage capital projects including budgeting, contracting, scheduling and reporting regularly to the Board
- Plan, develop and approve specific operational policies, programs, procedures, methods, rules, and regulations in concert with board-approved policies
- Direct the recruiting and training of all staff including designing a recruiting strategy that is economical and delivers consistent and appropriate staffing levels and training
- Work with legal advisors and others to successfully recruit seasonal food and beverage and golf course maintenance employees through government regulated seasonal employee programs (e.g., H2B, F1 and J1 visa programs)
- Build a team to deliver a strong Food and Beverage experience to a seasoned membership, many of which are seasonal members at other successful clubs
- Establish employee rules and regulations, work schedules, internal controls, and a performance appraisal system
- Assure that the highest standards are set and achieved in providing member service and satisfaction
- Ensure that the club is operated in accordance with all applicable local, state, and federal laws
- Ensure compliance with regulatory and other governmental agencies that have oversight of various club assets and operations, including utility regulation, water quality, and environmental statutory law compliance
- Provide the Board and committees with relevant information on trends and developments in the club/residential community business
- Ensure that the committees established by the Board are well-supported and operate in accordance with board-approved policies and directives
- Oversee security, risk management, and health and safety programs to ensure that measures are in place to protect members, employees, staff, and club physical assets
- Ensure that the Board is thoroughly informed on the status of club operations, member satisfaction, and financial performance
- Oversee new membership development initiatives and be involved in new member activities
- Provide a comprehensive communications program that keeps all appropriate constituencies informed on relevant matters
- Provide regular membership communications via Club email, social media updates, member meetings, and casual interactions
- Interact with local community leaders and organizations
- Perform other duties and functions as the club board may direct that are consistent with this job description
- Executive Assistant & Administration
- Director of Food and Beverage
- Executive Chef
- Director of Agronomy/Golf Course Superintendent
- Director of Golf
- Director of Sports and Fitness
- Head Tennis Professional
- Director of Facilities and Infrastructure
- Membership Coordinator
Core Leadership Competencies
- Ability to define a simple and understandable vision of success for the management team
- Ability to see the big picture, take stock, identify problems/needs, and conceptualize solutions/strategies
- Ability to focus on the essentials, to attend to detail, and to follow through on decisions
- Ability to achieve results and complete tasks/projects
- Ability to create a sense of followership among subordinates
- Ability to attract and develop a strong supporting management team
- Ability to demonstrate a strong member satisfaction ethic and to interact with the membership in a frequent and friendly manner
- Ability to communicate effectively
- Ability to articulate the highest performance and ethical standards, demand compliance, and move swiftly and positively when corrective action is warranted
- Ability to be hands-on and very engaged when needed
- Ability to cope with day-to-day pressures and maintain a healthy and positive culture
- A minimum of 7 years of progressive leadership and management experience in a private club environment.
- A Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited college or university, preferably in Hospitality Management or Business preferred.
- Certified Club Manager (CCM) or in active pursuit of designation preferred.
Note: A pre-employment drug screen and background check will be required. The position is available immediately.
Salary & Benefits
Salary is open and commensurate with qualifications and experience. The Club offers an excellent bonus and benefit package.
IMPORTANT: Interested candidates should submit résumés along with a detailed cover letter. The detailed cover letter should clearly outline your qualifications, why you would like to be considered for this position at this stage of your career and why Highlands Falls Country Club and the Highlands, NC area will be beneficial to you, your family, your career, and the Club if selected. The resume and cover letter should be submitted by September 7, 2022.
These documents must be saved and emailed in Word or PDF format (save as “Last Name, First Name, HFCC GM Cover Letter” and “Last Name, First Name, HFCC GM Résumé”) respectively to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
All requested information, along with references, should be emailed to the address above.