Executive Search: GM/COO at Grandfather Golf & Country Club


Linville, NC



The history of Grandfather Golf and Country Club starts in 1885 when businessman Hugh MacRae first viewed the Linville River Valley and the rugged peaks of Grandfather Mountain. MacRae was so awestruck by the area’s natural beauty that he immediately wrote his father, Donald MacRae of Wilmington, N.C., for support to purchase a tract of land. The tract, which stretched from Pineola past Linville Gap, encompassed all of Grandfather and Grandmother Mountains, Linville Ridge, lnvershiel, part of Sugar Mountain, and what is now Grandfather Golf and Country Club.

Donald MacRae consented to the purchase, and along with a few other investors, including department store founder of Philadelphia John Wanamaker, Linville Improvement Company was formed. By 1889, Hugh MacRae had purchased a total of 15,570 acres, mostly from S.S. Lenoir, for whom the city of Lenoir is named.

The area quickly became a popular summer resort for golf and health and is a visual reminder of MacRae’s native Scotland. By 1944, Linville Company sold 3,000 acres to the Linville Resorts Property Owners Association. Included in the sale were the golf course designed by Donald Ross (creator of the Pinehurst Golf Club), Eseeola Lodge, horseback riding facilities, and the townsite of Linville. In 1952, the Linville Company was dissolved, and the remaining 11,000 acres were divided between four family members, including Mrs. Hugh MacRae, daughter Agnes MacRae Morton, as well as Agnes’ children, Agnes Morton Cocke Woodruff and Hugh Morton.

Aggie’s share of the lands included 1,958 acres in the Linville River Valley, two miles north of Linville. Having spent most of her summers growing up in Linville, her love of the High Country remained strong. Aggie, a three-time state ladies’ amateur golf champion, invested her inheritance, and – with the help of highly-respected golf course designer Ellis Maples and cofounders Hugh Morton, her brother, and John Williams, their friend – her vision turned to reality with the opening of Grandfather Golf and Country Club in 1968, where friendly amenities surround some of the best mountain golf in the world.

Vision Statement: “To be one of the pre-eminent, family-oriented clubs in the Southeast.”





  • 480 Members: capital of 434, club/social of 28, legacy of 18
  • Initiation Fee of $85,000
  • Annual Dues: $18,100 for club operations and capital expenses and $4,500 for village fees
  • Budgeted total expenditures for fiscal year 2021 of $15 million (includes club, capital, and village)
  • Food and beverage volume of $1.5 million
  • Gross payroll of $6 million
  • Strong balance sheet and positive cash flow
  • 220 employees (165 seasonal, 55 year-round)
  • Nine board members plus one ex-officio
  • Average age of members is 67
  • Championship Golf Course ranked second in North Carolina and first in the West Regional ranking and first among private courses in North Carolina per the North Carolina Golf Panel
  • Club community ranked seventeenth in the top 200 resort communities in the U.S. by GolfWeek
  • Grandfather Village is an incorporated municipality


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. The GM oversees a country club with two golf courses, multiple dining venues, and a broad array of other amenities. Further, the GM has comparable responsibilities to a city or county manager as it pertains to overseeing all aspects of the incorporated municipality of Grandfather, including managing common property and infrastructure, maintaining roads, operating a state-regulated water/sewer utility, and providing security services. Finally, the GM directs a real estate operation that markets and sells residential properties within the village and that supports the attraction of new members.

Primary Responsibilities


  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Provide a comprehensive communications program that keeps all appropriate constituencies informed on relevant matters
  • 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

Direct Reports


  • Chief Financial Officer
  • Manager of Human Resources & Administration
  • Director of Agronomy
  • Director of Golf
  • Director of Recreation
  • Head Tennis Professional
  • Head Croquet Professional
  • Director of Security
  • Director of Facilities and Infrastructure
  • Clubhouse Manager
  • Executive Chef
  • Communications Director
  • Membership Coordinator
  • Manager of Community Housekeeping
  • Head Broker of Grandfather Club Properties

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 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 articulate the highest performance and ethical standards, demand compliance, and move swiftly and positively when corrective action is warranted
  • Ability to cope with day-to-day pressures and maintain a healthy and positive culture

Candidate Qualifications


  • 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.
  • 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 August 1, 2021.


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 which addresses the qualifications and describes your alignment/experience with the prescribed position by Wednesday, May 12, 2021.

Documents must be saved and emailed in Word or PDF format (save as “Last Name, First Name, Grandfather GM/COO Cover Letter” and “Last Name, First Name, Grandfather GM/COO Resume”) respectively to: execsearchus@ggapartners.com. Please email résumé with references.

For more information about Grandfather Golf & Country Club, please visit www.grandfatherclubnc.com.

Executive Search: General Manager at Camp Lake James


Nebo, NC

The Club:

Camp Lake James is an incredible lakeside adventure center in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, just 45 minutes east of Asheville, NC, surrounded by thousands of acres of public land with access to hundreds of miles of hiking and biking trails.

Perfectly situated in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina, Camp Lake James is a private, member-owned social club which offers the ultimate in lake lifestyle. The Camp is a rustic resort where neighbors socialize, stop by for lunch or drinks on the dock, lounge by the pool or slip into the hot tub, take a paddleboard or kayak out on the lake, hit up the gym, or play lawn games and roast marshmallows at the fire pit.

The Camp has everything members and guests need to relax, play, and create special memories with family, friends, and neighbors. Members of the community spend their days kayaking or canoeing on clear mountain waters, cooling off in the pool, or unwinding around a crackling campfire while roasting marshmallows. After a day on the lake, nothing is better than kicking back at the Social Hall and getting a bite to eat at the County Line Canteen.

The expert staff at the Camp ensure that time spent here is truly memorable and the Activities Director organizes events throughout the year and plans unique, popular events for all ages. Members enjoy wine tastings, camping and ski trips, holiday parties, bonfires on the beach, movies under the stars, family sports, games, crafts, and a dinner club.

Members soak-in nature walks along the shores of Lake James while listening for native frog calls or enjoy a glass of wine during Friday nights “Drinks at the Dock” and Saturday Socials with friends and neighbors. A day at the Camp holds as much or as little diversion as they desire.

Members are warmly welcomed and enjoy resort-style amenities at Camp Lake James when they purchase a home or homesite in 1780 or Old Wildlife Club, both dazzling communities on Lake James. A limited number of recreational licenses enable others to join the Camp, affording access to a resort-style pool, outdoor spa, tennis courts, fishing pond, state-of-the-art fitness facility, and much more.

Camp Lake James At A Glance

– Social Hall & County Line Canteen
– Resort-style pool, outdoor spa, and toddler pool
– State-of-the-art indoor fitness facility
– Beach area with canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards
– Expo Center with bar, snacks, lounge and fireplaces
– Tennis and pickleball courts
– Outdoor amphitheater & fire pit
– Game room & lawn games
– Hully Gully fishing pond
– Boat docking for members
– Neighborhood trail access

Camp Lake James Overview

– 321 Member families (homesites)
– $1.80M Gross volume
– $750K Annual dues
– $600K Rental revenue
– $250K F&B/Events volume
– 25 Employees in-season; 8-9 off-season
– 5 Board members

The General Manager Position:

The General Manager of Camp Lake James is responsible for maintaining a constant focus on the Camp’s commitment to instill a culture of continuous improvement and elevation of the member experience in every area of the operation. An understanding of and appreciation for the nuances and training involved in cultivating this type of cultural environment is required.

The General Manager reports to the Board of Directors and coordinates with the President of the Board on a regular basis. The General Manager implements the policies established by the Board and the Camp’s bylaws. He/she develops operational policies and is responsible for the creation and implementation of standard operating procedures for all areas. This includes the preparation of the annual operating and capital budgets and management of operations to attain the desired results consistent with strategic vision and planning.

The General Manager coordinates all management functions and works in concert with committee chairs in assisting them in the development of proposed policies, programs, events, etcetera.

The General Manager is the lead coordinator of programming and development of synergy among all departments. Overseeing the Camp’s strategies for high levels of member engagement and satisfaction with Camp experience is a critical part of the position.

Connecting with members and staff is a top priority, the General Manager should have a strong presence and seek to be highly visible to the membership and staff. He or she sets the tone for consistently treating members with first class hospitality and communicates this expectation to the entire staff as well. The overarching focus of the General Manager, and the focus instilled in his or her team, should be on the overall member experience.

Important Individual Characteristics:

The General Manager is responsible to “lead by example”, the camaraderie and engaging nature that is seen throughout the Camp must be exemplified by the General Manager in a natural and intuitively engaging style. He/she must “walk the talk” and exhibit a passion for developing and maintain an environment of extreme hospitality.

– A naturally enthusiastic personality and passion for the club management and hospitality profession.
– A natural leadership style which promotes staff and membership engagement.
– A mind for innovation and action with an ability to act as a thought partner with the board, committees, and homeowners.
– The ability to communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing.
– Experience overseeing small-scale and large-scale service and facility enhancements.
– Ability to create and implement strategic plans, with disciplined follow-through to ensure the vision and goals of the Camp come to fruition.
– Ability to cultivate a high-level of member services and satisfaction.
– Possess a strong understanding of top-notch food and beverage and event experiences for Camp members and guests.
– Effective fiscal management through delivery of actual operational and capital results in alignment with approved budgets.
– Maintain a high level of visibility to members and staff as the face of the Camp.
– Understands the importance of digital communication and can utilize web and social media tools to communicate with the staff and membership.
– Ability to anticipate how the Camp needs to evolve, done by being actively networked in the club industry and being on the forefront of trends in hospitality, club management, and lifestyle communities.

Candidate Qualifications:

– A minimum of 3-5 years of progressive leadership and management experience in a private club or hospitality environment.
– A Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited college or university, preferably in Hospitality Management or Business.
– Active involvement in CMAA or similar organizations where there is a strong network of peers that stay actively abreast of the industry, trends, and opportunities is preferred. Possessing a Certified Club Manager (CCM) designation, or working toward achieving one, is an advantage for applicants.

Note: A pre-employment drug screen and background check will be required. The position is available October 20, 2020.

Salary & Benefits:

Salary is open and commensurate with qualifications and experience. The Camp offers a compensation package which includes a performance bonus plus full benefits.


IMPORTANT: Interested candidates should submit resumes along with a detailed cover letter which addresses the qualifications and describes your alignment/experience with the prescribed position by Friday, November 13, 2020.

Documents must be saved and emailed in Word or PDF format (save as “Last Name, First Name, Camp LJ GM Cover Letter” and “Last Name, First Name, Camp LJ GM Resume”) respectively to: execsearch@ggapartners.com. Please email resume with references.

For more information about Camp Lake James, please visit camplakejames.com and lakejames.com for videos and information about the area.