Executive Search: General Manager for Essex Golf & Country Club


General Manager
Essex Golf & Country Club

The Club

Essex Golf & Country Club, located in LaSalle Ontario, has long been regarded as one of Canada’s finest golf clubs, having been recognized on several occasions as one of the world’s top 100 golf courses.

Founded in 1902, the Club has been situated on its present site since 1929. Designed by legendary golf course architect Donald Ross, Essex has played host to the Ontario Open in 1922, 1949 and 1951, the 1934 Ontario Amateur and the Canadian Ladies Amateur in 1964.

However, the event that established Essex as one of the outstanding courses in Canada was the 1976 Canadian Open. In 1998 Essex hosted the world’s finest female golfers by staging one of the four “Majors” on the LPGA tour, the du Maurier Classic. In 2002, Essex marked its 100th anniversary by hosting the PGA Senior Tour’s AT&T Canada Open. This made Essex only the 3rd club in Canada to host a PGA, Senior PGA, and LPGA event.

Essex has a strong and active membership consisting of over 900 golfing members and social members.


Essex is a premier private club providing its members and guests with exceptional golf, dining and social facilities and activities. Essex also invites referred guests to the Club to use the facilities for a limited amount of golf tournaments; weddings, corporate meeting and other banquets. The Club provides an outdoor pool for the seasonal enjoyment of members and guests.

Club Facilities

  • 18-hole championship golf course
  • Dining
  • Swimming pool

Club Overview

  • Active adult golf members: 699
  • Total members: 904
  • Initiation fee: $15,000
  • Annual dues: $4,967
  • Gross revenue: $7.6M
  • F&B revenue: $2.3M
  • Average member age: 53
  • Rounds of golf annually: ~28k
  • Full-time equivalent employees: 67
  • Total active employees: 235

Position Summary

The General Manager (“GM”) leads the Management Team and is responsible for the management of the club in its entirety. The GM is hired by the Board of Directors, reports to the President of the Board, and is responsible for carrying out the Board’s policies. The GM is accountable for all aspects of the club and ensures the synergism of all club activities.

The GM functions as the Board’s “bridge” to the staff and Committees and enables the Board to avoid the intricacies and short-term focus that is the staff’s responsibility. This allows the Board to work more exclusively on the strategy and long-term focus of club governance. The GM frequently reports to the Board on the effectiveness of the club’s policies, operations, and new programs.

The characteristics and key attributes of the successful GM being sought by the Selection Committee include leadership, professionalism, outstanding interpersonal skills, strategic vision, financial acumen, an understanding of digital marketing, and a high bias for implementation. The GM must consistently ensure, across all areas of the organization, member service which meets the standard of a premier facility.

Primary Responsibilities


  • Develop an effective working relationship with the Board of Directors and Committees.
  • Create and implement premiere Member and guest services throughout all areas of the club.
  • Hire, train, motivate, evaluate, appropriately compensate, inspire, and lead staff in a professional and equitable manner including setting annual objectives for staff.
  • Follow industry trends, benchmarks and best practices and develop strategies that maintain the Club’s positioning.
  • Serve as an ambassador of the Club, effectively marketing to prospective new members.
  • Be well-known and visible to the membership.


  • Guiding and assisting the Board in the development and formulation of Club strategies and policy.
  • Working with committees, as needed, to facilitate the formulation and execution of short- and long-term programs.
  • Attending all Board Meetings and where appropriate, attending Committee meetings.
  • Developing performance objectives and measures of progress.
  • Performing such other duties as the Board may specify.


  • Be fiscally responsible to ensure an exceptional member experience.
  • Ensure that the Club is operated in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
  • Provide timely, relevant, and accurate reporting, including key indicators, performance metrics and benchmarking.
  • Maintain a long-term financial plan that incorporates cash flow planning along with membership recruiting strategies.

Golf Operations:

  • Ensure the golf course is of the highest standard of condition and playability.
  • Ensure that the teaching capabilities and quality of teaching experience are the highest possible standard.
  • Ensure that the Pro Shop provides goods and services that are commensurate with the highest standards and that prices are competitive.
  • Nurture the spirit of the game, fostering a community atmosphere through participation, player development, competition, and enjoyment.

Member Experience:

  • Deliver a consistently exceptional experience by providing a high-caliber food and beverage offering, quality service and Member social programming.
  • Skilled at training staff to continually improve the member experience by reviewing and enhancing service standards and best practices .
  • Encourage participation and pride of membership through communication and engagement.
  • Consistently communicate with the membership.
  • Administer Club rules and reporting member infractions or violations.

Key Attributes

The ideal candidate possesses strong interpersonal skills, is a proven collaborator and relationship builder who possesses the following core competencies, experience, and attributes:

  • An innovative and strategic thinker with strong business acumen and passion for continuous improvement.
  • Able to display sound judgement and make complex decisions in support of the Club’s Vision and Mission.
  • A dynamic leader and motivator that prides themselves on the accomplishments of their team and the willingness to provide ongoing constructive feedback.
  • Demonstrates exceptional verbal, written and interpersonal communications skills and can effectively interact in both large and small group settings.
  • Member experience-driven and service culture attitude.
  • A “stickler” for details in all areas of club operations.
  • Conduct themselves in a responsible and professional manner.
  • Able to be diplomatic and tactful, yet firm, when dealing with Member constituents.
  • Self-starter, results-orientated and hands-on when needed.

Qualifications and Skills

  • Experience as a leader in a private club environment or other similar top tier facility.
  • A passion and understanding of what it means to deliver a consistently excellent member experience.
  • Experience developing and implementing strategic plans, including overseeing the development of large capital improvement projects.
  • A General understanding of facilities management .
  • A post-secondary degree in business or a golf-related program.
  • A Certified Club Manager designation is preferred (CCM).
  • Experience reporting to a Board and an understanding of club governance.

Direct Reports

Golf Course Superintendent, Head Golf Professional, Food & Beverage Manager, Accounting & Administration, Clubhouse Operations, Executive Chef


The successful applicant will receive an attractive compensation package commensurate with experience and qualifications along with a comprehensive health benefits plan and pension program.


IMPORTANT: Interested candidates should submit a resume along with a detailed cover letter which addresses the position qualifications and describes your alignment/experience with the prescribed position by October 29th at 5:00pm EDT.

Documents are required to be submitted in Word or PDF format (save as “Last Name, First Name, Essex GM Cover Letter” and “Last Name, First Name, Essex GM Resume”) respectively to: execsearch@ggapartners.com.

We thank all applicants for their interest but will only contact those selected for an interview.

Lead Search Consultants: 

Michael Gregory
Managing Director & Partner
GGA Partners™

Kathy Grayson
GGA Partners™

For more information on Essex Golf & Country Club, visit www.essexgolf.com


GGA Partners Expands Executive Search Practice, Appoints Kathy Grayson, Director

Grayson brings GGA’s fast-growing search practice over 35 years’ experience in executive recruitment, career coaching, and organizational leadership across the private club industry.

July 20, 2023

GGA Partners, an international consulting firm working with some of world’s leading golf courses, private clubs, resorts, and residential communities, announced today the appointment of Kathy Grayson as Director in the firms’ Executive Search practice.

“Kathy is a proven leader with a strong executive recruitment background. Her energy and ability to connect with employers and private club leaders at all levels are immediately evident,” stated Michael Gregory, Partner and Managing Director at GGA Partners. “Kathy brings the track record and experience that will benefit our growing Executive Search practice immensely.”

Grayson comes to GGA Partners with a distinguished record of executive recruitment experience. Most recently, she served as Executive Recruiter and Career Consultant with the PGA of America, where she was instrumental in growing their executive search services. In this role, Grayson provided strategic direction and leadership through proprietary expertise in career coaching, behavioural assessment, and education.

Prior to joining the PGA of America, Grayson served as Director of Global Events and Sales Manager at Callaway Golf Company and as Regional & Strategic Accounts Manager at the Antigua Group.

“I have always admired and respected the GGA brand, and I am honored to join the GGA Partners Executive Search team,” said Grayson. “My years of experience in career coaching and executive recruitment has taught me that building and fostering relationships is paramount. So, I look forward to working with GGA clients across the country to build and grow effective teams that meet club objectives and elevate members’ experience.”

Grayson is an active member in the private club industry, serving as a member of the National Club Associations’ Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee, speaker at regional and national PGA events and is a Guest Speaker at Florida Gulf Coast University.

Grayson will begin her role with GGA Partners in August 2023 and will be based in Bonita Springs, Florida.

About GGA Partners (www.ggapartners.com)

GGA Partners™ is an international consulting firm and trusted advisor to many of the world’s most successful private clubs, resorts, and residential communities. We are dedicated to helping owners, asset managers, club and community leaders, investors and real estate developers tackle challenges, achieve objectives, and maximize asset performance.

Established in 1992 as the KPMG Golf Industry Practice, our global team of experienced professionals leverage in-depth business intelligence and proprietary global data to deliver impactful strategic solutions and lasting success.

GGA Partners has offices in Toronto, Canada, Phoenix, West Palm Beach, USA, and Dublin, Ireland.

For further information, contact:

Michael Gregory
Partner & Managing Director
t: 416.524.0083
e: michael.gregory@ggapartners.com