Executive Search: General Manager for Country Club of Charleston

General Manager

Country Club of Charleston

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The Country Club of Charleston is a prestigious private club located in the heart of Charleston, South Carolina. Since its establishment in 1900, the club has cultivated a rich heritage, offering its members a well-managed, family-oriented environment that caters to their diverse interests. In 1925, the club moved to its present location on the McLeod Plantation, which consists of 900 acres on the Ashley River. The 26,000 sq. ft. clubhouse, considered a focal point in Charleston, was built on top of a bluff overlooking Charleston Harbor.

The Board of Directors is committed to overseeing the club’s operations to promote a vibrant atmosphere for both social and sporting events, all within the context of its pristine facilities.  The club is currently planning a full golf course renovation to commence in December 2025.

The Country Club of Charleston has a rich tournament history and a long tradition of supporting the game of golf. The Azalea Invitational is hosted every year before the Masters. Today the Azalea has developed into a National Amateur Event with players from across the country and an impressive list of former champions.  The Club also hosts the Beth Daniel Junior Invitational and the Azalea Senior each year.  In addition to the invitational, the Club has hosted 27 State Championships, the 2019 U.S. Women’s Open, and is actively pursuing additional major amateur championships in the next 5-10 years.


Established: 1900 (124 Years Old)

Initiation Fee: $85,000

Annual dues: Full membership $10,200

Total Number of Members: 896

Total Employees: 162

Direct Reports

Food and Beverage Manager; Executive Chef; Director of Finance and Administration; Director of Golf; Golf Course Superintendent; Director of Tennis; and Director of Facilities.


18-hole championship course, par 72, designed by Seth Raynor in 1925.

6 outdoor lighted courts (5 Har-Tru Clay & 1 Har-Tru Hard Court).

Outdoor resort-style, zero-entry pool.

Family Activity Center (FAC), a 24/7 fitness facility with a wide range of equipment and classes.

Dining Facilities:

Lounge/Bar that seats 32

Formal Dining Room that seats 35

Casual Grill Dining Room with Terrace Seating that seats 98

Outdoor Pool Café that seats 70

Upstairs Ballroom that seats 200



Lead a thriving private club environment:  The General Manager plays a pivotal role in shaping the member experience by overseeing all Club operations. Your focus will be on creating a welcoming and exceptional environment that fosters member satisfaction and loyalty.

Champion Strategic Growth:  You’ll work collaboratively with the Board of Directors to develop and execute a long-term vision for the Club.  This includes identifying and implementing innovative strategies that enhance member experience and optimize financial performance.

Build a High-Performing Team:   You’ll foster a collaborative and results-oriented work environment, empowering your team to deliver exceptional service.  Your leadership skills will be crucial in building strong relationships with staff, identifying and developing top talent.

Drive Operational Excellence:  You’ll ensure efficient and cost-effective club operations, implementing continuous improvement initiatives that elevate service standards and member satisfaction.


To be successful in this role, you will need to demonstrate the following competencies. These same areas will be a focus for your performance evaluation, ensuring clear expectations and ongoing support.


  • Models Hospitality and Service Excellence: Creating a welcoming and exceptional experience for members and guests. Setting high standards for service and ensuring staff are well-trained and empowered to deliver.
  • Leadership – Interpersonal: Building strong relationships with members, staff, and board members. Demonstrating empathy, active listening, and effective communication skills to foster collaboration and address concerns.
  • Displays Emotional Intelligence: Being aware of and managing one’s own emotions, while understanding the emotions of others. This allows for navigating complex situations and building trust.
  • Leads Change & Supports Innovation: Championing new ideas and initiatives that improve the club’s operations and member experience. Effectively communicating and managing change processes to gain buy-in from members and staff.
  • Club Governance: Understanding the legal and ethical frameworks that guide private club operations, including member rights and responsibilities, board structures, and regulatory compliance.
  • Strategic Management: Developing long-term plans that consider the club’s vision, mission, and competitive landscape. Setting goals, allocating resources, and measuring progress.
  • Accounting: Understanding financial statements, budgeting, cost control, and financial analysis specific to the private club industry.

Targeted Qualities:


  • Builds High-Performing Teams: Creates a collaborative environment where staff thrive and departments work seamlessly together.
  • Develops Top Talent: Identifies and mentors high-potential staff, addressing any skill gaps through training and development.
  • Member-Centric Leadership: Cultivates a “Members First” culture by prioritizing member needs and fostering strong relationships.

 Strategic Vision

  • Innovation Champion: Drives positive change by championing new ideas and initiatives that enhance member experience and club operations.
  • Action-Oriented Planning: Develops clear action plans to achieve strategic goals, translating vision into tangible results.

 Financial Acumen

  • Cost-Conscious Management: Demonstrates a strong understanding of private club finances and implements strategies to optimize costs while maintaining service excellence.

 Communication & Results

  • Engaging Communicator: Effectively communicates with members and staff, fostering transparency and buy-in for changes.
  • Data-Driven Decisions: Analyzes member feedback (surveys) and other data to identify areas for improvement and measure the success of initiatives.
  • Results-Oriented: Sets clear goals, motivates the team, and ensures achievement of objectives.

Candidate Qualifications

Educational Requirements

  • Hospitality/Business Management degree preferred.
  • In lieu of a degree, substantial private golf club or hospitality experience will be considered.
  • CCM and CCE certification preferred.


  • Previous success as a General Manager at a Private Country Club.
  • A minimum of 5 – 7 years of progressive Private Club management experience, strong financial acumen, exceptional administrative skills, and thorough knowledge of food and beverage. We are looking for someone who:
    • Has identified and led initiatives and programs to enhance member experience and increase Club usage.
    • Has implemented a vision of success for F&B, addressing staffing, service, training, standards, consistency, member experience, policies/procedures, etc.
    • Experience hosting Invitational and Championship Tournaments.
  • Experience developing/implementing long-range (strategic) and annual (business) plans, operating reports, forecasts, and budgets, with a strong understanding of hospitality and service balanced against financial efficiencies.
  • A team builder in the industry who has a history of attracting, developing, and retaining a high-performing team.
  • A personable style and visibly engaged presence with members, guests, and staff.


The successful applicant will receive an attractive compensation package commensurate with experience and qualifications. Other benefits include:

  • Health, Dental, and Vision insurance per Country Club of Charleston benefit package.
  • 401(k) plan, paid time off
  • Professional dues and educational allowance with emphasis on continuing education.
  • Relocation assistance


IMPORTANT: Interested candidates should complete an application and include a resume outlining your credentials along with a detailed cover letter which addresses the experience and qualifications and describes your alignment with the position by June 20, 2024.

Documents are required to be submitted in Word or PDF format (save as “Last Name, First Name, CC of Charleston Cover Letter” and “Last Name, First Name, CC of Charleston Resume”).

Apply Now

Lead Search Consultant: 

Michael Gregory, Managing Partner & Director
GGA Partners™



For more information about the Country Club of Charleston please visit: https://www.countryclubofcharleston.com/


4 Priorities for Private Club Boards

“When the ox is in the ditch, there is much work to be done.” In most private clubs, the “ox” is a troubling or confounding situation that could – or should – have been avoided. Noted private club attorney, Robyn Nordin Stowell of the Spencer Fane LLP law offices admonishes clients who have not called before putting the ox into the ditch. “Clubs are so well managed and led these days that after-the-fact guidance should be unnecessary,” she says.

Want to keep the ox out of the ditch at your club? Attend to four practices that reduce risk and keep your club on solid ground.

1. Execute twice-per-year legal reviews with your club attorney.
Meet with your legal advisors to anticipate emerging challenges or issues on which the club and its servant leaders should be anticipatory; Among the concerns one should voice are:

• Board Minutes – In your review of our board meeting minutes, do you see any matters of concern or legal risk that should be corrected? Board minutes should be reviewed to minimize misstatements which could pose future risks to the club or its directors.
• Membership Program and Representations – Membership demand since the pandemic has filled most clubs still using membership documents that were created before CY 2020 when most clubs were aggressively seeking more members.
• Governance and Disciplinary Practices – The board should review its disciplinary practices to ensure that those practices conform to current standards of best practice…and state statutes.

2. Conduct an annual risk assessment with your property and casualty insurance provider.
One of the most rapidly increasing costs for most private clubs is property and casualty insurance…if you can obtain it. With rates increasing as a reflection of the overwhelming risks insurers are experiencing – whether wildfires, hurricanes, and tornadoes – in addition to the usual slip/fall risks, club leaders should evaluate risks with the understanding that most insurance premiums are a factor of annual club revenues adjusted (multiplied) by a risk factor that is established across business segments. Ask your insurance representative to conduct a risk assessment that may result in savings for the club – unless your club is not in safe operating condition.

3. Meet with the club’s auditor 90 days before the scheduled annual audit.
Many club leaders dread the annual audit. Embrace this independent, third-party review of the club’s books as an opportunity to improve operational results, which may reduce financial risks throughout the club. Your auditor sees many clubs and can provide financial benchmarks in addition to sound business advice.

4. Execute an annual evaluation of your club’s cyber security.
“The cyber battlefield never sleeps,” says Joseph Saracino, CEO of Cino Limited, which specializes in cyber security for private clubs. “In today’s world, many of us are sitting ducks, waiting to become the next cybercrime victims to be publicized by the media.” If an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, take aggressive steps to ensure that the club’s members can rely upon a safe haven for themselves and their families.

Planning and acting ahead of the problem are a sure sign of effective servant leadership. Will you wait for the problem to put your club in the ditch or prevent the problem? Pretty easy choice when you think about it.

GGA Partner Henry DeLozier penned this article for BoardRoom Briefs. It appeared in the May 18, 2024 edition.

Executive Search: General Manager for Royal Colwood Golf Club

General Manager
Royal Colwood Golf Club

Apply Now

Royal Colwood Golf Club is a private golf club located in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Designed by Arthur Vernon Macan in 1913, Royal Colwood is a traditional style parkland championship course set amongst 450 year-old Douglas Firs and majestic Garry Oaks. The course continues to be ranked amongst Canada’s best. The membership of Royal Colwood includes all ages, skill levels, and walks of life, and is united by the common love for the grand game of golf. One of a select few in the world, Royal Colwood received its Royal designation from King George V in 1931. Royal Colwood members enjoy full reciprocal playing privileges at 68 private clubs, of which 42 enjoy the Royal designation, around the world.


Age of Club: 111
Entrance fee: $15,000
Annual dues: $4,500
Total Number of Members: 731
Total employees: 73

Vision, Mission, and Values:

To Be the Club of Choice on Vancouver Island

To be the best golf club on Vancouver Island operated for the benefit of all members, their guests and future members, in a financially sound manner that promotes the game of golf, the unique heritage of our club and the benefits and responsibilities of private club membership.


  • Community of Members – We recognize and celebrate member contributions, accomplishments, shared values and common interests.
  • Fun – Each and every day members have fun and enjoy their club.
  • Stewardship – Each generation of members leaves the club in better condition for the next generation.
  • Grow the Game – We further the development, growth and enhancement of the game of golf.
  • Accountability – We conduct our business with sound financial management practices and in a transparent, fair, and consistent manner.
  • Respect – We maintain positive and respectful relationships with employees, vendors, neighbours, local governments etc.


Position Summary:

Reporting directly to the elected President, and thereby the Board of Directors (Board) at large, the General Manager (GM) serves as chief operating officer of the Club. In alignment with the Club’s vision, mission and values, the GM’s primary role is to lead and ensure the effective operations of the Club, to build continuously the quality of the Royal Colwood experience by the Club’s members and guests, and ensure our course continues to be ranked and known as amongst Canada’s best.

  • You will manage all aspects of the Club including; all activities; communications involving members, their guests, employees, community, government and industry; coordination of the development, and implementation of marketing programs for member recruitment and food and beverage services. You will be responsible for all operating policies and procedures, for developing, implementing, and monitoring the operating and capital budgets, and for controlling costs, and for all human resource policies and processes.
  • You will lead the management team, demonstrate modern and innovative leadership practices and will promote a positive, engaging and superior service culture. You are a pro-active, empowering leader and developer of teams, ensuring that appropriate superior standards of operation are in place and consistently executed.
  • Highly visible and interactive, you are professional in personal style, demeanor and presence, and are comfortable interacting with our members, guests, staff and all other stakeholders. You possess proven experience leading a team of friendly, engaging and passionate staff who are sincere about delivering an excellent member experience. Extensive and progressive management experience in a well-regarded hospitality, private club or exceptional member/guest service environment is required. Experience leading a golf club will be a definite asset.
  • You must be able to demonstrate strong financial literacy, proven skills relevant to success in a changing golf club world, and have an intuitive strength in building consensus, setting clear and measurable goals, and executing effectively to meet these targets. You understand the elements of good governance, best practices, human resource management and legislative responsibilities. Leader and developer of teams, ensuring that appropriate superior standards of operation are in place and consistently executed.

The GM will be responsible for the following:

  • Implements and administers all policies and direction established by the Board and provides strategic advice and recommendations to the Board and Committees about all matters of operation. Attends and records meetings of the Club’s Executive Committee and Board and coordinates and serves as ex-officio member of appropriate Club committees.
  • In alignment with Board direction and approval, leads development of the Club’s annual business plan and provides regular reports to the Board on progress.
  • For effective Club operations, develops, implements and evaluates operational policies, programs, initiatives, procedures and processes, ensuring the Club is operated in accordance with all applicable local, provincial and federal laws and ensuring the appropriate care and maintenance of all the Club’s physical assets and facilities.
  • Leads development of operating and capital budgets according to the budget calendar, monitors monthly and other financial statements, manages cash flow and establishes controls to safeguard funds and proposes effective corrective actions to the Board as required. This includes ensuring compliance with purchasing policies and procedures.
  • Leads development, implementation and evaluation of marketing initiatives for member recruitment and retention and ensures a strong new member orientation experience to all aspects of the Club.
  • Establishes and pursues opportunities for promotion and marketing of the Club’s facilities and services.
  • Develops and maintains a robust communications strategy for internal and external audiences to support the effective recruitment and retention of members, ensure a professional, high-quality guest and member experience, and safeguard the well-regarded reputation of the Club. This includes leadership presence and connection with members and guests and developing and implementing feedback opportunities and/or surveys of members’ satisfaction to identify actions to improve member and guest experience at the Club.
  • Represents the Club locally, nationally and internationally and communicates the Club’s positions in discussions with neighbours, community, governments, and the golf industry to enhance the prestige of the Club, protect the interests of the Club, and support the community.
  • Supervises all department heads ensuring the highest standards and effective operation of their respective departments and the effective operation of the managerial team at large. This includes developing and implementing human resources programs, initiatives, policies and procedures to ensure effective recruitment, training, development, and retention of motivated, engaged and service-oriented staff. The GM also serves as the representative of the Club as employer in negotiating the union agreement for grounds crew employees.
  • Maintains membership with the Club Management Association of Canada and other professional associations. Attends conferences, workshops and meetings to keep abreast of current information and developments in the field.

Knowledge Skills & Abilities:

  • Strong leadership and empowerment skills – demonstrating modern and innovative leadership practices to ensure a positive, engaging and superior service culture.
  • Passion for service excellence – pursues and ensures a culture of superior service through all Club operations.
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills – highly visible, interactive, personable and professional and comfortable interacting with members, guests and stakeholders at all levels.
  • Strong strategic planning and implementation skills.
  • Strong relationship builder with an intuitive strength in building consensus, fostering trust, listening to understand, and solving problems creatively.
  • Exceptional results orientation and goal setting – strong administrative/managerial skills and exceptional results orientation with the ability to translate Board direction into actions and results and executing effectively to ensure success of Club operations.
  • Strong financial literacy to effectively oversee all financial operations and ensure financial success.
  • Proven skills relevant to success in a changing golf and club industry world.
  • Proven skills providing internal and/or external data to support Board decisions and strategic direction. This is supported by developing good external and internal relationships.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills.
  • Knowledge of good governance, best practices, human resource management and relevant legislation (e.g. BC Society Act, Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, BC Liquor Control and Licensing Act, BC Employment Standards)

Direct Reports:

Food and Beverage Manager; Executive Chef; Director of Finance and Administration; Head Golf Professional; Golf Course Superintendent; and Maintenance Manager.


The salary range for this position is $160,000 – $230,000 and commensurate with experience and qualifications. The successful applicant will receive an attractive compensation package along with a comprehensive health benefits plan and pension program.


IMPORTANT: Interested candidates should complete an application, including a resume along with a detailed cover letter which addresses the qualifications and describes your alignment/experience with the prescribed position by June 10th, 2024.

The documents must be saved as a PDF (save as “Last Name, First Name, Royal Colwood).

Apply Now

Lead Search Consultants: 

Michael Gregory
Managing Partner
GGA Partners™

George Pinches
GGA Partners™





3 Keys to Consensus Based Strategy Planning

Private clubs operate within a unique ecosystem where member satisfaction, financial sustainability, and strategic foresight intersect. To navigate this complex landscape successfully, effective planning requires a consensus-based approach to strategy development.

Consensus-based strategic planning in private clubs requires club leaders to develop strategic plans that align the goals of multiple stakeholders, including members, employees, management, boards and committees. It emphasizes collaboration, communication, and shared decision-making processes to ensure that the strategic direction of the club reflects the collective interests and priorities of all involved parties. This approach fosters a sense of ownership, engagement, and commitment among stakeholders, leading to more effective implementation and sustainable success for the club.

The development process involves synthesizing member feedback, conducting comprehensive research, collaborating with experts, and ensuring financial viability. Here’s how these elements come together to form a robust strategic framework.

Informed Member Feedback: At the heart of every successful club strategy lies the voice of its members. However, gathering member feedback is not merely about soliciting opinions but rather about structuring the feedback process strategically and with a sound research methodology. Members who are in essence the customers of private clubs, are unique in two distinct ways: First, many are also owners, with a vested interest in the club’s success beyond the member experience. Second, they often don’t want the club to operate strictly like a business in certain aspects, as members typically prioritize experiences over financial performance. Considering these factors, it is essential to design surveys and engagement platforms that prompt members to prioritize their preferences and consider trade-offs. While member input is vital, it is just one data point to be considered alongside research and industry expertise.

Comprehensive Research: Comprehensive research is essential for private clubs to develop a robust strategic plan. This involves analyzing internal dynamics like membership demographics, financial performance, and member satisfaction, alongside benchmarking against peers and industry standards. Understanding market trends and using dynamic financial models for scenario analysis adds depth, helping clubs anticipate shifts and make informed decisions. This research-driven approach not only optimizes resources and enhances member experiences but also forms the foundation for consensus-based strategy, aligning stakeholders and ensuring strategic alignment.

Expert Collaboration and Maintaining Impartiality: Developing a consensus-based strategy requires collaboration among experts with diverse skill sets. This includes individuals proficient in business, finance, law, hospitality and strategic planning. However, it’s essential to recognize the nuances of the private club industry and leverage management and external industry experts to bridge knowledge gaps effectively. Maintaining impartiality throughout the strategy development process is critical. Balancing diverse interests and opinions within the club requires a data-driven approach that prioritizes objective analysis over personal preferences. By leveraging data and insights, clubs can make informed decisions that benefit the collective interests of their members while ensuring organizational resilience and growth.

Private clubs are unique and operate in a complex landscape. Employing a consensus-based approach to strategic planning is an important process to ensure your club is positioned to thrive now and in the future.

Matt Clarfield is a Manager at GGA Partners specializing in helping clients develop comprehensive strategic plans. To reach him, email matthew.clarfield@ggapartners.com.