Executive Search: Head Golf Professional at Exmoor Country Club (FILLED)

HEAD GOLF PROFESSIONAL
EXMOOR COUNTRY CLUB
Highland Park, IL

The Club

Founded in 1896 as Illinois’ third golf club, Exmoor is a private, full-service country club, located in Highland Park, Illinois, 28 miles north of Chicago. With a championship golf course designed by Donald J. Ross, Exmoor continues to fulfill its original mission – as a family club devoted to the game of golf, while offering a growing range of sports and social opportunities. Sports at Exmoor include golf, curling, tennis, swimming, ice skating, platform tennis, cross country skiing and the fastest growing sport in America — pickleball. Members of all ages enjoy a year-round schedule of exciting social activities.

The Club’s mission is to provide the finest golf, sporting, and social experiences for its community of member families and their guests all year long.

The Club maintains high standards for club governance, with an elected leadership that promotes member involvement to attain excellence in Club facilities and member services. Exmoor has earned a reputation for attentive service, modern facilities and fine cuisine. In the late 1890s, the club played an important role in establishing and growing the game of golf in the Midwest. During its 125-year history, Exmoor has hosted more than 20 national golf and curling championships. Our members have won national championships in both sports and have competed in official Olympic golf and curling competitions.

Since its founding, Exmoor members have embraced family activities with a focus on participation, skill development and good sportsmanship. As much as Exmoor values its traditions, today, the spirit of Exmoor is youthful, vibrant, and inclusive.

Exmoor Country Club Overview

  • 570 members (Golf: 370, Other: 200)
  • Initiation Fee (Resident Member Golf: $75,000)
  • Annual Dues (Golf: $13,200)
  • $9.2M Gross Volume
  • $4.5M Annual Dues Volume
  • $4.6M Total Gross Payroll
  • 22,000 Annual Golf Rounds
  • $650,000 Golf Shop Sales
  • Club-owned golf shop, recently transitioned
  • Number of Employees (Club (FTE): 94, Seasonal: 71)
  • Number of Golf Employees (4-5 year-round employees, 15 added during season)
  • 11 Board Members
  • Average age of members is 58

Exmoor Country Club Golf Facilities Overview

  • 18-hole golf course designed by Donald Ross
  • Full driving range with 24 hitting stations
  • Large short game practice area with 3 short practice holes
  • Indoor Golf Performance Center with 3 heated hitting bays (1 bay is a teaching/fitting studio with V1 video system and Trackman)
  • Teaching staff includes: Full-Time Director of Instruction (also lead club fitter), Head Golf Professional, 2 Assistant Professionals with 1 spearheading the Junior Golf Program
  • Current Golf Course Architect of record, Andrew Green
  • Recently hosted the 2018 Constellation Senior Players Championship and will host the 2022 Western Amateur Championship.

The Head Golf Professional Position

The Head Golf Professional reports directly to the General Manager/COO and coordinates with key management personnel on a regular basis, including the General Manager, Golf Committee, Grounds and Greens Committee, and Executive Staff. The Head Golf Professional implements the policies established by the Board of Governors and the Club’s bylaws. He/she develops operational policies and is responsible for the creation and implementation of standard operating procedures for all areas.

The Head Golf Professional is the lead coordinator of programming and development of synergy among all golf programming, amenities, and services. It is imperative that the Head Golf Professional operate at both a tactical and strategic level, maintain financial accountability, and manage and develop all aspects of golf services. Exemplary service is key in attaining excellence in the member experience.

Driving excellence in the golf experience through training is a critical part of the position. The Head Golf Professional supervises the following positions: Professional Golf Staff, Caddie Master, Golf Merchandiser, Starter/Rangers, and other Outside Services Personnel. Candidates must assume ultimate responsibility for all golf staff, the golf shop, member lessons, special events and tournaments, while working closely with other management for any operational specifics, for course prep, and all golf events needed.

The Head Golf Professional should have a strong presence and seek to be highly visible and accessible to the membership and staff. They set the tone for consistently treating members with a first-class golf experience and communicate this expectation to the entire staff as well.

Primary Responsibilities

  • Oversee the management and performance of all golf shop and applicable department operations and services; assure high standards and total member and guest satisfaction.
  • Work with Golf Shop Merchandiser to oversee a profitable amenity that is consistent with member demographics and needs; oversee and perform monthly inventory.
  • Oversee and enforce golf shop operations policies, procedures, controls, and fee structures to ensure the safekeeping of assets, inventory, resources, sales transactions, and department financial performance.
  • Oversee, manage, and submit golf employee’s payroll on a bi-weekly basis; produce a weekly work schedule.
  • Oversee all fiscal areas and performance for the golf operations and golf shop including planning, budgeting, forecasting, monitoring, and correction.
  • Prepares business plan for all golf operations and golf shop with key aspects of fiscal accountability, operational strategy and marketing strategy for tournaments, special member events, and shop sales.
  • Exhibits clear vision of Exmoor Golf in planning, communications, and staffing.
  • Responsible for recruiting, interviewing, managing, and developing all staff related to the Golf experience at Exmoor; is current on continual learning options for staff and budget accordingly; assumes prominent and positive leadership role to foster employee engagement.
  • Executes golf events that deliver high satisfactory ratings.
  • Must be aware of trends and how they may apply to Exmoor; be continually aware of what is working and what isn’t, what can be improved or updated.
  • Maintain valuable and ethical relationships with other Club Professionals, and suppliers, as well as other geographic locations to maintain awareness of competitive practices and trends.
  • Maintain effective communications with staff for optimum delivery, particularly Engineering, Human Resources, Catering/Events, and Communications.
  • Maintain effective communications with membership for special announcements, weekly e-mail notice – collaborates directly with Director of Membership and Communications and Senior Graphics Designer for desired results.
  • Ensure health and safety regulations for members and staff by working closely with the Safety Coordinator.
  • Create and supervise junior, family, and player development instructor programs.

Important Individual Characteristics

  • A naturally enthusiastic personality and passion for the golf industry.
  • A natural leadership style which promotes staff and membership engagement.
  • The ability to communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing.
  • Disciplined accountability to ensure that the training and standards of the Golf department are consistently met.
  • Ability to cultivate a high-level of member services and satisfaction.
  • Possess a strong understanding of top-notch golf experiences for Club 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 golf operation at the Club.
  • Ability to cater to various interests and the playing ability of the entire membership demographic.
  • Ability to develop a dedicated team with a shared vision.
  • Must possess strong leadership ability, influencing skills, demonstrate strong motivational ability.
  • Should be results oriented to align Golf strategy to Exmoor’s strategic plan, annual budgets and projected target achievements.
  • Should have strong verbal communication skills, presentation skills, and project confident and energetic qualities that produce service excellence.
  • Exhibit energy and enthusiasm, maturity of character, creative approach, member focus, logical thinking.

Candidate Qualifications

  • A minimum of 7 years of progressive leadership and management experience in the golf industry. Current Head Professionals or Assistant Golf Professionals at well-recognized clubs, with verifiable records of achievement will also be considered.
  • Educational credentials in hospitality or golf, a Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited college or university in Hospitality Management, Business, or Sports/Golf is an advantage for applicants.
  • Professional Golf Association (PGA) Certification designation as a Class A member of the PGA is required; maintaining memberships in other appropriate professional organizations preferred.
  • 3-5 years’ experience in Golf Management or equivalent experience in Golf Management, preferably a PGA Head Golf Professional; demonstrated continual personal and professional development in the sport.
  • Should be CPR/AED certified and know first aid.
  • Be well versed in relevant software programs for communications, POS, Outlook, and reservations, golf current management software.
  • Be current on the latest and most relevant player development methods of techniques.
  • Skilled professional in the playing of the game.

Note: A pre-employment drug screen and background check will be required.

Salary & Benefits

Salary is open and commensurate with qualifications and experience. The Club offers an excellent bonus and benefit package.

Inquiries

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 Friday, July 30, 2021.

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

 

Lead Search Executive

Patrick DeLozier
Managing Director
GGA Partners™
843.707.5210
patrick.delozier@ggapartners.com

 

For more information about Exmoor Country Club, please visit www.exmoorcountryclub.org.

Executive Search: Director of Golf Course at Cherokee Country Club

DIRECTOR OF GOLF COURSE
CHEROKEE COUNTRY CLUB
Knoxville, TN

 

The Club

Founded in 1907, Cherokee Country Club is a private, member-owned country club which has a long tradition dedicated to enriching the lives of its members and their families by providing the finest in dining, social, and recreational interests in a private club environment.

Cherokee Country Club is recognized as one of Knoxville’s greatest assets, featuring a classic, elegant Clubhouse, top-quality athletic and social activities, and a golf course designed by the legendary Donald Ross.

The Club’s goal is to promote and elevate golf so that the pursuit of the game is an important part of members’ lifestyle and recreational pleasure. Cherokee offers golf at its finest and is truly an exceptional golf experience for all levels of players. A classic 18-hole Donald Ross links-style course opened in 1907 and is supported by golf facilities that include an extensive golf shop, practice range, practice putting and chipping green.

Members are afforded access to the most prestigious tennis facilities in East Tennessee. The Club is home to nine outdoor and four indoor courts in addition to an outstanding pro-shop and each court is accentuated by a beautiful east Tennessee Valley view.

Recognizing the growing emphasis of a healthy lifestyle, Cherokee strives to provide the ultimate fitness and wellness experience through its fitness center and health program, which is operated by Performance Training, Inc. (PTI). Members enjoy a comprehensive health and fitness experience through a variety of services which include personalized training, group exercise classes, nutrition coaching, physical therapy and rehabilitation, as well as fitness assessments and consultations.

The Cherokee Aquatic Center and Overlook Bar and Grill offer a fun and safe gathering place for children and adults alike. Featuring both a family and a competition pool, the resort-style facilities were recently renovated to include kids’ entertainment zones and a pool bar. The Family Pool includes zero-entry access, Baja shelves, shade sails, slash fountains, and an adult lounge area. The competition length pool is wonderful for swimming, lap and severs the competitive Cherokee Swim Team.

Cherokee provides a wide selection of dining venues to accommodate members’ dining needs and the experienced culinary team is one of the finest in the Southeast. Whether it’s a quick bite to eat in the Pub, or dinner with the family in the Sequoyah Room, the Club’s talented staff are there to make sure all of members’ dining needs are met.

Since its inception, Cherokee has been the recreational home for generations of families and the Club’s story is about more than brick and mortar; about more that golf, swimming, bowling, and tennis; and about more than bridge, music, and social events. Cherokee Country Club’s story is about the hard work and hearts of generations of people, people who stand together, play together and work together.

Cherokee Country Club Overview

 

  • 914 Members
  • Initiation Fee (Resident Member Golf: $40,000)
  • $15M Gross Volume
  • $5.0M Annual Dues
  • $4.70M Gross Payroll
  • Average age of members is 58
  • Greens: Bent Grass
  • Fairways: Bermuda
  • Tee Boxes: Bermuda/Zoysia

The Director of Golf Course Position

The Director of Golf Course reports to the General Manager/COO and coordinates with the Greens Committee Chair on a regular basis. The Director of Golf Course implements the policies established by the Board of Directors and the Club’s bylaws. He/she develops operational policies and is responsible for the creation and implementation of standard operating procedures for all areas.

The Director of Golf Course is the lead catalyst for driving excellence in the golf experience and establishing standards for agronomic practices are critical part of the position. The Director of Golf must facilitate an environment where staff is involved and enthusiastic, with open communication and respect for themselves, members, guests and the property.

The Director of Golf Course should have a strong presence and seek to be highly visible to the membership and staff. They set the tone of pride in setting the course conditions for a first-class golf experience.

Primary Duties

 

  • Responsible for all phases of Golf Course Maintenance and Agronomic operations and related personnel.
  • Works closely with, advises, and coordinates with the Head Golf Professional on any issues related to golf course maintenance.
  • Plans and assists in the direction, construction, and maintenance of the grounds.
  • Plans and assists in the design of landscape plans for facility grounds and implements the plan.
  • Administers and enforces all Club rules, regulations, and policies for staff.
  • Supports and assists with membership seminars and orientations as applicable.
  • Works closely with the General Manager/COO and Board to operate the Golf Course in a fiscally responsible and professional manner.
  • Must be able to work independently and be a self-starting problem solver.
  • Provides technical, operational, and safety training for employees to ensure that staff is working within OSHA, club safety, state and federal guidelines for safe working conditions.
  • Oversees subordinates in proper and safe operation and maintenance of mechanical and power equipment. Plans and budgets for additional or replacement capital equipment.
  • Supervises and participates in the application and recording of chemical applications (fertilizers and pesticides) on the Club’s grounds in compliance with all local, state, and federal regulations.
  • Supervises and controls all maintenance expenses associated with Golf Course Operations, including payroll, supplies, chemicals, and fertilizers.
  • Develops an annual operating budget and plans for maintenance and capital improvement projects.
  • Maintains, records, and completes required reporting which includes ordering parts, supplies, and equipment as needed.
  • Schedules maintenance practices around member play and outings to maximize efficiency and minimize disruption to members.
  • Coordinates snow removal and winter maintenance activities when necessary.

Knowledge & Skills Required

 

  • Knowledge of management and maintenance of greens, fairways, and roughs.
  • Knowledge of use and operating standards of equipment and tools used in golf course construction and maintenance work.
  • Skill in recruiting, supervising, training, monitoring, evaluating, and motivating personnel.
  • Interpersonal skills to resolve conflict resolution professionally.
  • Knowledge of safe use, mixing, and application of chemicals and commercial products.
  • Knowledge of the game of golf, golf rules, and methods of play.
  • Ability to anticipate personnel, equipment, and material requirements related to golf course maintenance and repair assignments.
  • Ability and knowledge to lay out irrigation patterns, drainage patterns, construct tees and/or greens.

Candidate Qualifications

  • 5-7 years’ experience as a Golf Superintendent or 1st Assistant
  • 2-year Degree or Certificate in Turf Management (or related field, like agronomy, horticulture, plant science, soil science).
  • Advanced computer skills required for financial reporting and control of operations, including use of Microsoft Office Suite.
  • Valid Driver’s License.
  • Certification by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America is preferred.

Note: A pre-employment drug screen and background check will be required. The position is available February 3, 2021.

Salary & Benefits

Salary is open and commensurate with qualifications and experience. The Club offers an excellent bonus and benefit package.

Inquiries

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, February 3, 2021.

Documents must be saved and emailed in Word or PDF format (save as “Last Name, First Name, Cherokee DOGC Cover Letter” and “Last Name, First Name, Cherokee DOGC Resume”) respectively to: patrick.delozier@ggapartners.com. Please e-mail résumé with references.

 

Lead Search Executive
Patrick DeLozier, Director
GGA Partners
(501) 258-2911
patrick.delozier@ggapartners.com

 

For more information about Cherokee Country Club, please visit cherokeecountryclub.com.

Executive Search: Director of Golf at Druid Hills Golf Club

DIRECTOR OF GOLF
DRUID HILLS GOLF CLUB
Atlanta, GA

 

The Club:

Tucked away in the historic Druid Hills neighborhood, our members consider their club a sanctuary just minutes away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Atlanta. Established in 1912, Druid Hills has a rich tradition while offering the full array of services one would expect from a modern private club. Druid Hills Golf Club serves as an in-town haven for its members and their families by providing timeless golf and contemporary club experiences.

Famed course architect Bob Cupp redesigned Druid Hills to the “golden age of golf.” The course is both playable and challenging. Perfectly blended with the natural surroundings of Druid Hills, each round is an enjoyable experience. There is a complete and newly renovated practice facility with a driving range and a short game practice area.

A day at Druid Hills offers a chance to golf, play tennis, swim, or workout in our first-class fitness center. For dinner, the Club’s dining rooms offer the opportunity to sample unique dishes that focus on seasonal, fresh, farm-to-table ingredients. Druid Hills Golf Club – so much more than an exceptional golf experience.

Druid Hills Golf Club Overview

 

  • 1,030 members (Golf: 580, Other: 450)
  • Initiation Fee (Resident Member Golf: $85,000)
  • Annual Dues (Golf: $7,500)
  • $14.3M Gross Volume
  • 33,000 Annual Golf Rounds
  • $4.70M Gross Golf Shop Payroll
  • Average age of members is 53

The Director of Golf Position:

The Director of Golf reports to the General Manager/COO and coordinates with the Golf Committee Chair on a regular basis. The Director of Golf implements the policies established by the Board of Directors and the Club’s bylaws. He/she develops operational policies and is responsible for the creation and implementation of standard operating procedures for all areas.

The Director of Golf is the lead coordinator of programming and development of synergy among all golf programming, amenities, and services. Driving excellence in the golf experience through training is a critical part of the position.

The Director of Golf should have a strong presence and seek to be highly visible to the membership and staff. They set the tone for consistently treating members with a first-class golf experience and communicate this expectation to the entire staff as well.

Important Individual Characteristics:

 

  • A naturally enthusiastic personality and passion for the golf industry.
  • A natural leadership style which promotes staff and membership engagement.
  • The ability to communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing.
  • Disciplined accountability to ensure that the training and standards of the Golf department are consistently met.
  • Ability to cultivate a high-level of member services and satisfaction.
  • Possess a strong understanding of top-notch golf experiences for Club 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 golf operation at the Club.
  • Ability to cater to various interests and the playing ability of the entire membership demographic.
  • Ability to develop a dedicated team with a shared vision.

Candidate Qualifications:

 

  • A minimum of 7 years of progressive leadership and management experience in the golf industry. Current Head Professionals or Assistant Golf Professionals at well-recognized clubs, with verifiable records of achievement will also be considered.
  • Educational credentials in hospitality or golf. A Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited college or university in Hospitality Management or Business is an advantage for applicants.
  • Professional Golf Association (PGA) Certification designation preferred.

Note: A pre-employment drug screen and background check will be required. The position is available November 25, 2020.

Salary & Benefits:

Salary is open and commensurate with qualifications and experience. The Club offers an excellent bonus and benefit package.

Inquiries:

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, December 16, 2020.

Documents must be saved and emailed in Word or PDF format (save as “Last Name, First Name, Druid Hills Director of Golf Cover Letter” and “Last Name, First Name, Druid Hills Director of Golf Resume”) respectively to: patrick.delozier@ggapartners.com. Please e-mail résumé with references.

 

Lead Search Executive
Patrick DeLozier, Director
GGA Partners
(501) 258-2911
patrick.delozier@ggapartners.com

 

For more information about Druid Hills Golf Club please visit dhgc.org.

Folding Multiple Plans Into One

There’s an old saying about plans – more specifically about the lack of a plan: “Without a plan, any path will get you there.” We wholeheartedly agree with that adage, but acknowledge a flip side that raises a question that many diligent planners confront: How to effectively integrate multiple plans into one comprehensive and cohesive plan that guides your overall operation?

The analogy that comes to mind is the challenge facing airlines with thousands of passengers on any given day, each trying to get to his or her destination. The airline has flight plans for hundreds of aircraft and tries to mesh all of those planes and flights into a fairly seamless plan to get you where you want to go. Most days it works, but not without a lot of coordination.

There are three stumbling blocks that derail effective planning efforts: 1) lack of coordination among stakeholders and contributors, 2) poor scheduling and time management for due diligence and preparing materials, and 3) confused or confusing desired results. These three project killers diminish the quality of the overall plan and undermine the credibility of the planning team.

For golf course and facility leaders, the challenge is considering the information gathered through market analysis, financial evaluation and board input alongside the plans of superintendents and those managing food and beverage, membership and financial operations. And then bringing all the information, insights, recommendations and plans together to support the club’s or facility’s objectives. For managers of each of these functions, the same challenges exist, if only on a smaller scale.

If you’re currently in your planning cycle, and charged with pulling discrete plans and input together so the end product doesn’t feel disjointed, consider these five steps:

1. Sync every plan to the vision.

No matter which area of the club or facility the plan is focused on, it should clearly map to the overall vision – the club or facility’s long-term, forward-looking aspiration, what we like to think of as an organization’s North Star. You should be able to see this in the plan’s objectives and priorities. With multiple workflows, the project leader must maintain an overall understanding of the project and ensure all plans are headed for the same airport, even if they’re taking different runways.

2. Outline specific steps along the way.

Define project milestones, the steps that will help you get there at a predetermined time and those responsible. Schedule regular check-in meetings to make sure all pilots have their planes headed in the same direction. It’s much easier to make mid-course corrections than to wait until all planes have landed and plans submitted.

3. Designate one holding place for project inputs and research.

See that all team members participating in the project planning process have transparent access to information and a full understanding of progress. Lacking a central repository of project information, important pieces of information can be misplaced, overlooked or lost. This also helps projects from getting siloed and managers feeling isolated.

4. Prioritize workflow.

On expansive projects or ones that involve multiple contributors, establish which components are most critical to the overall project plan. This step enables effective planners to allocate time, financial and human resources. Sequential planning guides the team in accomplishing mission-critical tasks and components.

5. Maximize productivity through careful scheduling.

If a golf course superintendent is preparing an agronomic plan, for example, it is important to make sure each assistant and technical expert is scheduled to deliver information in a timely manner. Stagger the timelines, monitor the cross-disciplinary dependencies, and eliminate duplications and redundant production.

Most managers have broad responsibilities and must combine resources to produce comprehensive and workable plans. Developing a disciplined process for research, input and development is the key to successfully landing all of your plans and making sure they support the same vision and goals.

This article was authored by GGA Partner Henry DeLozier for Golf Course Industry Magazine

Using Technology to Your Operational Advantage

In what ways are clubs realizing operational gains through new technology solutions? GGA’s Martin Tzankov outlines the solutions helping clubs to reduce costs and enhance the playing experience.

Golf and innovation do not always go hand in hand. Attempts to bolt new age technology into a traditional game and well-established club structures have often produced mixed results.

However, this doesn’t prevent club leaders constantly being inundated with new platforms, systems and applications, each with the promise of revolutionizing club operations or the member experience.

To help bring a meaningful commercial focus to this conversation, the following are some new technologies that are taking seed and proving their worth in providing actionable business intelligence, operational gains, and cost savings.

Keeping members moving

As much as we want to allow members to move around the course at their own pace, maximizing their enjoyment and social opportunity, there will often be certain individuals who create discontent through slow play.

While you may, at least anecdotally, know who these individuals are, there is often an absence of cold, hard proof.

This is where GPS-technology comes in. It’s now possible to track individual member movements around the golf course and monitor how long it takes them to play an average round. Armed with this intelligence, club leaders can address this issue and make significant inroads to solving problems around pace of play.

Clearly, there’s a balance and sensitivity to be struck when tackling this topic, and individual circumstances and other variables come into play. For this reason, you may wish to only address individuals who are repeat offenders at peak times of play – in other words, those who impede the experience for other members and guests. In any case, the data you obtain from the GPS-technology will play a fundamental role in overcoming this all too common problem.

Cutting down maintenance

There’s another side to GPS-technology; one which has the potential to unlock major cost savings. By tracking the movements of players, you can quickly establish a picture of where the common ‘pinch points’ or bottle necks lie on the course, areas where players tend to hit and lose balls, or particular hazards they find difficult to overcome.

This data will allow you to work with your superintendent more closely and proactively; looking at the root causes of the problems players face and, indeed, don’t face when navigating the course.

While there are design and maintenance tactics which can help mitigate lengthy ball searches in notorious areas, the real cost savings come from the areas where players tend not to venture…

By determining where these areas lie on the golf course through player tracking data, you can take the decision to reduce inputs and turf management in the knowledge this will not impact the playing experience. The benefits of increased maintenance efficiency to the Club are extensive. Financially, the Club will realize substantial cost savings from a reduction in chemical inputs and by doing so improve the long-term ecosystem of the course environment. From a labor perspective, reducing the managed area of the golf course will free up the workforce to increase its focus on other areas of the course and development projects. Whatever timeline you attach to these changes, the tangible long-term benefits are there and waiting to be realized.

Real-time security and data

A wave of clubs can be found upping their game when it comes to security. We have witnessed clubs installing technology such as retina scanning, geofencing, or keycards and access fobs to know who is at the club and when.

While security is the fundamental motivation behind such a move, the data this presents to clubs can prove invaluable in learning more about member engagement. Yes, there is a time commitment involved in analyzing and extracting some real value from this information, but if it can help you learn more about how some members’ engagement has tailed off, or which facilities or events they are engaging with over others, you can develop tactics to re-engage these members and boost their satisfaction levels.

Take events as an example. You may have a successful, thriving events program but find that a combination of POS and member data reveals that these are only really popular among elder members, while younger members are largely absent. We already know that the injection of younger members into these events is viewed favorably by elder members, and increased socialization will encourage a greater sense of attachment to the Club. So, it makes sense to conduct analysis into younger members’ attitudes, wants and needs from an events program so you can build on its success and make it more inclusive too.

A final thought

When it comes to implementing new technology, my message is this: be open to change. Your club may have established processes or ways of doing things, and it can be uncomfortable when technology threatens to change those. This will result in some clubs shying away when, actually, those that prosper will be accepting of the fact that change is inevitable. Not only that, they will see the opportunity change can bring.

For advice on introducing new technology to your Club, connect with Martin Tzankov.

Strategic Intelligence at Work

Guest author – Lonnie Lister, General Manager, Portland Golf Club

Lonnie Lister attended the University of Arizona for a degree in music education.  He worked on the wait staff at private clubs during his college summers and found that he was drawn more to club management than to a music career. Prior to joining PGC as its GM in January 2017, Lonnie was the GM at Skyline Country Club in Tucson, AZ where he spent 23 years working in various areas of the Club. Lonnie is active in CMAA and has served on the board of the Greater Southwest Chapter.


Portland Golf Club has a rich history, but like other private clubs it faces ongoing challenges.

The city of Portland has grown tremendously over the last decade, leading to dramatic shifts in both the market and demographics.

While this growth brings opportunity, it also brings about change.  For us that change impacts a number of areas – specifically around membership recruitment and retention; staff hiring and retention, and being able to control operating costs without compromising the service we provide to members.

With this in mind, the board of Portland Golf Club voted last year to adopt GGA’s Strategic Intelligence (“SI”) platform, which features several components: a Market Scan, a Member Survey, and an assessment of the Club’s “Operational Vital Signs” which compares our performance to clubs of similar stature both within our market and in other markets.

Selective targeting

The initial Market Scan, which revealed potential member households within a two to five-mile radius of the Club, was fascinating.  We learned that within a five-mile radius of Portland Golf Club there are more than double the number of golfing households than is typical for private clubs nationally.  That was a welcome surprise.

Though our Club is still very selective, the Market Scan revealed that there was much more potential for outreach than we’d been aware of before.

As membership recruitment and retention was our number one issue, what we learned inspired us to send a “welcome letter” from the Club to home buyers in our prime market neighborhoods.  This was not a recruitment package, but rather a gently informational welcome note – letting people who might be new to Portland know that this wonderful club exists nearby.

Taking the time to listen

As a club manager, one can often find themselves guilty of favoring (or at least focusing on) one ‘R’ over the other – namely, recruitment over retention.

But retention can fuel recruitment.

A Member Survey can inform what changes are necessary based on the actual needs that current members identify, which is vastly more effective.  And the satisfaction and sense of positivity this can create reverberates beyond the four walls of the clubhouse.

What was critical for us was surveying our membership in a way that was specific to the Club, not just a broad-brush approach.  This meant we could directly address concerns of our membership and maximize the effectiveness and insights of the survey.  Already this has delivered responses that are candid and honest, and provided a robust foundation to inform strategic decisions.

Reassuring the Board

The SI platform has also been incredibly helpful in reassuring the Board that the Club is operating efficiently.

We can see in the Operational Vital Signs report that in almost every measure Portland Golf Club is performing well.  Where we find anomalies, we can take a closer look to understand what these are, and we can then decide if they are something we need to act upon or factor into our strategic decisions.

One such anomaly we found at Portland Golf Club was that most golfers prefer to walk, explaining why our cart revenue is below national benchmarks.  This is not a trend we see changing, so rather than acquire more carts or attempt to upsell them at every opportunity, we decided to focus our efforts in other, more fertile areas for business development.

Going deeper

There’s no doubt Portland Golf Club has embarked on a journey which places strategic intelligence at the forefront of the decisions we make.

Now we are in the second year of our SI subscription and have engaged in a Market Analysis to take a deeper look into what we learned from the original Market Scan.

As analysis looks at trends, rather than simply a snapshot of the market, this will allow us to plan better in what is clearly a fast-changing region.

Portland’s metro region now numbers more than 2.4 million people.  Almost 50% of the adult population has a college degree, and in Portland Golf Club’s primary market areas that percentage is even higher.

Armed with this knowledge, we can embark on our membership recruitment and retention activity with a clear sense of who our prospective customers are and where they are situated in relation to the Club.

Empowering the manager

Given my history working in a number of different roles in the club environment, I have always felt very comfortable on the operational side of the business.  However, the three most important issues we face at Portland Golf Club are all byproducts of local market growth outside of our Club’s operations.

Strategic research is providing us with data and insights we need to address each of these issues and is helping the Club in both the short and long-term.

This journey is changing the way I think and the way our team strategizes.  It provides me with more data than I have ever had available to me at other clubs and is full of relevant information that we depend on daily.  Our management team and committees routinely refer to the intelligence reports, our budgeting process benefits from the availability of current data to support assumptions, and our Board meetings are more productive and efficient.

I now feel that there is a greater connection between the service we deliver on the ground to the level and breadth of service prospective members are looking for – because we are armed with the data and knowledge to have confidence to be more aware of market needs.

Moving forward

So, where do we go from here?  Whereas before we were a Club reacting to changes and adjusting plans for the following year, now we are a club looking 2, 3, 4, even 10 years into the future.

For a time, it felt as though the city of Portland’s growth was getting away from us.  Now, we are ready for how it will develop and who will move here, giving us the ability to refine the value proposition that this Club offers them both now and well into the future.

Learn more about Strategic Intelligence here. 

New Study Reveals The Truth About Millennial Golfers

• 75% of avid Millennial golfers will consider joining a private club in the future
• Age 33 is the ‘sweet spot’ when avid Millennials are most likely to join a club
• Flexibility, customization and non-golfer amenities among key solutions for clubs

Three-quarters of avid Millennial golfers will consider joining a private club in the future – with age 33 being the most likely age to join – but they are less minded to pay entrance fees, preferring flexible pay-for-use membership options.

These are the findings of a newly updated study, ‘The Truth About Millennial Golfers,’ published by GGA in collaboration with Millennial golfer organization Nextgengolf.

The survey of 2,275 active, avid golfers aged primarily 18-25 across the United States found that nearly half (48%) would consider joining a private club in the next 3-10 years.

The most influential factors in the decision to join a private club are recommendations from friends, family or colleagues (83%), a positive experience attending a tournament or wedding at the club (64%) and attending a reception or cocktail party to promote membership (25%).

However, the cost of membership combined with a fear of commitment and lack of utilization are among the most significant barriers to join a private club, the survey found.

Of those surveyed, 43% said they would prefer to pay more annually rather than an entrance fee, with 51% saying they would prefer a flexible membership combining a low social fee granting them full access to the club with golf on a pay-per-use basis.

The report highlights how private clubs can adapt and develop their offering to meet the needs of the next generation of members. Specifically, avid Millennial golfers see socializing and non-golf amenities such as fitness (71%), access for the entire family (65%) and a pool (62%) as important influencing factors in their decisions to join a private club.

Launching the report at the CMAA 91st World Conference in San Francisco, GGA Senior Manager Michael Gregory said: “To date there has been relatively little research into this group of golfers, yet they are the next generation of private club members and clubs need to factor this into today’s strategic planning and decision making.

“While it is reassuring that 75% of avid Millennial golfers are prepared to consider private club membership in the future, the reality is that they have different wants, needs and expectations. Clubs need to think about greater flexibility and customization in membership, targeting Millennials earlier when aspirations to join a club are higher and before family commitments kick in, plus the need for socializing and non-golf amenities.

“Otherwise, over the next ten years, private clubs vying for this target market will feel greater pressure to lower entrance fees and replace this cost with an annual capital fee.”

Matt Weinberger, COO and Co-Founder of Nextgengolf, said: “Our mission is to support, enable and provide opportunities for college students and golfers in their 20’s and 30’s – keeping them in the game and making golf more relevant.

“We hope this research provides valuable insights about Millennial golfers, the challenges they face and the opportunities for private clubs to help support the long-term sustainability of the game and the industry as a whole.”

The Truth About Millennial Golfers is available to download free of charge HERE.

Press Release – 9th March 2018.

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