Labor, Capital Spending Top 2022 Budgets

Budgeting for 2022 is complicated by rapidly changing circumstances and market conditions. GGA Partner Henry DeLozier offers insight into areas where budgetary impact will be greatest. 

Budgeting for 2022 is complicated by rapidly changing circumstances and market conditions. For most experienced hands, anticipating changes within their industry and business is far easier than predicting the breadth and depth of the impact the changes will have on their budgets. Here are two significant categories where budgetary impact will be greatest:

1. Labor costs

Historically, the cost of labor and employee benefits represent the largest line item in a golf course’s operational budget. A trend toward a $15-plus per hour minimum wage and desperately low labor supply conditions will only increase the budgetary impact of labor and benefits. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the resulting impacts on labor, two truths are becoming evident:

  • Those clubs and courses that kept staff on the payroll and continued long-term relationships with their employees are being rewarded in two ways. First, those courses are not having to search a tight labor market for replacements. Second, course care and upkeep have been sustained by committed and knowledgeable employees who have a running head start on those clubs that have been forced practically to start over.
  • Working knowledge of your specific course and conditioning expectations promotes a more cost-effective recovery process.

But what if circumstances and decisions beyond your control have forced you into a game of agronomic catch-up? Here are some remedial actions to consider:

  • Update your agronomic plan to state your expectations for course conditioning. New employees need (and want) to understand what is expected of them. Be thorough. Be enthusiastic. Show how much you care.
  • Plan for robust new hire training. Pair experienced hands with newcomers. See that the veterans describe the values and standards of the work to be done with the same clarity and as enthusiastically as teaching the job’s “how to” components. Train the trainers to ensure across-the-board engagement and understanding. Plan daily technical training for your round-up sessions to bring new hires up to speed and promote consistency.
  • Hire veterans. There are approximately 19 million veterans in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. As the increasing number of veterans mustering out of service expands, many trained and mature workers are searching for jobs. Some three-quarters of these veterans saw wartime service. Take the steps to learn more about those who have given so much and see how much they can give to your operation.

2. Capital maintenance

Capital spending for most golf facilities has expanded decidedly as an improving economy loosened purse strings and made more money available for deferred capital maintenance spending. Financial analysts at our firm note that capital spending is up by more than 55 percent at U.S. golf facilities, with most projects focusing on course renovations and restorations of historic designs, greens reconstruction and new bunker projects.

With the upsurge in golf’s popularity in the wake of the pandemic, many facilities have experienced growth in rounds played and membership enrollments. According to Golf Datatech, rounds played in 2020 increased by 13.9 percent over 2019 and through the first quarter of 2021 are up another 24 percent. The increased demand for tee times has given owners and managers new confidence to expand facility spending.

What are the smart moves being made by superintendents? They’re updating capital project rosters and renewing long-awaited requests for capital to upgrade facilities. And they’re not waiting. They’re describing the features and benefits of the intended projects and supporting financial projections with trustworthy third-party analysis.

In these uncommon times, it is important for turf pros to remember the sun does not shine on the same dog’s back every day. Market demand will shift. Access to labor will change. But the self-imposed high standards for most superintendents will remain and the expectations of enthusiastic golfers will expand. Prepare your 2022 budget carefully and with a broader understanding of social, economic and market conditions.

This article was authored by Henry DeLozier for Golf Course Industry magazine.

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.

Mid-Year Predictions for the Second Half of 2021

At the start of the new year and in the spirit of planning, the thought leaders at GGA Partners sat down to predict what we believed to be coming throughout the year and shared our 2021 Predictions on the Shape of the Next Normal. Now, halfway through 2021 with the spring season in the books and summer underway, we reconvened GGA leaders for a mid-year check-in on predictions for the latter half of the year.

1. Ensuring fair and equitable access to amenities remains top of mind, especially on the golf course

A trending topic throughout the industry is golf’s demand surge and how long it will sustain, much has been written on this point and those who are closely watching rounds played metrics anticipate a clearer reading by the end of the summer.

Stephen Johnston, GGA’s founding partner, expects that private clubs will see the surge continue to elevate rounds played by members which will likely increase issues relating to compaction of tee traffic and accessibility.  He predicts the benchmark regarding average number of rounds per member to be higher by approximately 10% following the pandemic and also increased golf course utilization by members’ spouses and family members.  Both factors will create a greater demand for tee times at private clubs.

Johnston believes some clubs may need to consider permitting round play by fivesomes instead of foursomes, potentially catalyzing logistical challenges such as a greater need for single-rider power carts in order to maintain speed of play at the same rate as foursomes with all players using power carts. For club managers and course operators, this entails an increased need for current and detailed evaluation of the benefits of membership and the relationship between playing privileges and the practical ability to book a tee time and get on-course.

2. Effective demand management is key and will shift from agile, flexible approaches to new operating standards as demand stabilizes

During the pandemic and throughout 2020, many golf, club, and leisure businesses recognized the increased need to more accurately and routinely measure the utilization of amenities, adapting operations management to react quickly to change.

Craig Johnston, head of GGA’s transaction advisory practice, anticipates an evolution in this one-day-at-a-time, agile monitoring approach into a new and more formalized standard of operating procedures.  “At the start of 2021, we said we would see clubs provide flexibility and experiment with various operational changes,” he explained.  “With the pandemic feeling like it’s steadily moving toward the rear-view mirror, members will be expecting clubs to begin instituting the ‘new normal’ operations and the data compiled by clubs in the first half of the year will be critical to deciding on the new normal.”

Johnston believes that membership demand will continue to be strong through the second half of the year and that it is likely utilization will reduce marginally as members begin travelling again for work and social obligations.  Even with a marginal reduction in utilization, demand for private club services will remain strong and will continue to put pressure on capacity and access in most clubs.

Senior Partner Henry DeLozier encourages club and facility operators to embrace short-term continuations of high demand while keeping an eye on the future and the non-zero probability of a demand shift in the coming years.  “Clubs must create pathways to sustain demand while navigating utilization volume.  It is unwise to place hard or irreversible limitations on capacity while clubs are at historic maximums for demand and usage,” cautioned DeLozier. “Clubs will do well to establish a clear understanding of demand and utilization to enable innovative programs which serve to fill periods of low demand in the future.”

3. Ongoing uncertainty about the pandemic’s long-term impact on club finances will increase the review and reevaluation of club financial projections to ensure sustained budget flexibility

While data regarding utilization, participation, and engagement throughout the summer months continues to be captured and consolidated, business leaders should not delay their financial planning and instead get to work on reevaluating finances and updating their future forecasts.

“Now is the time to review, evaluate, and reset club debt levels,” emphasized Henry DeLozier. “Clubs need to recast financial projections based upon elevated joining/initiation fees arising from high demand.”

In support of alacrity in financial planning, DeLozier notes that labor shortages spurred by the pandemic will increase payroll-related costs at a material level. He also predicts that comprehensive risk review is needed at most clubs to evaluate possible impacts arising from cyber-crime and/or declining club revenues during 2022.

Beyond internal shake-ups in utilization or operations, club leaders should be anticipating external impacts that could impact their financial plans.  A hypothetical example raised by DeLozier is if the U.S. economy were to become more inflationary.  In such a circumstance he believes clubs would see an increase in the costs of labor and supplies which would necessitate increases in member dues and fees, a deceleration of new-member enrollments as consumer confidence dips, and a slight slow-down in housing demand.

Right now, uncertainty remains with respect to the virus as well as the resulting economic impact from the pandemic. From a financial standpoint, clubs will do well to advance their forward planning while retaining budget elasticity.  “It will be imperative for clubs and boards to build flexibility into their budgets and agility into their operations,” added Craig Johnston.

4. Existing governance practices, policies, and procedures will be revisited, refurbished, and reinvigorated

A litany of new ways of operating and governing the club arose as a result of the pandemic, some of which suggest an efficacy that can be sustained in a post-pandemic environment.  Essential to assimilating these adaptions into new standards of procedure is a review of existing governance practices and the documentation which supports them.

“At a time when boards can measure the full range of financial performance metrics, updating club governing documents is a primary board responsibility,” noted Henry DeLozier.  “Board room succession planning must be formalized to prepare clubs for the inevitable downturn from record high utilization.”

In considering the nearly overnight adoption of technology tools to enable remote meetings and board-level deliberations, partner Michael Gregory noted a substantial increase in the use of technology tools that go beyond virtual Zoom meetings.  “The pandemic has allowed clubs to test online voting,” he explained.  “For many clubs, once things return to normal, their bylaws won’t allow for the continued execution of online voting unless they make changes.”

“We have seen the adoption and implementation of online voting to be a huge success for the clubs who have tried it for the first time,” said Gregory. “Members love it, it’s easy, it’s convenient, it leads to higher participation from the membership, and many clubs are in the process of changing their governing documents to allow for online voting as a result.”  The challenges and opportunities of employing online voting are detailed in our piece on taking club elections digital, which features a downloadable resource that can be shared among club boards.

5. In human resources, expect to see deeper reevaluations of compensation structures and employee value propositions

Weighing in from across the pond, Rob Hill, partner and managing director of GGA’s EMEA office in Dublin, predicts that club leaders will face bigger challenges in human resources throughout the remainder of 2021.

The first of three particular items he called out is a reevaluation of compensation.  “Making decisions about employee pay is among the biggest challenges facing club leaders in the wake of the coronavirus shutdown,” stated Hill. “As they begin compensation planning for the rest of the year and into 2022, these leaders not only have to consider pay levels, but also the suitability of their mission and operating model to thrive in a post-pandemic world.”

Citing his recent experiences in the European market, Hill shared that club leaders are challenged with finding new ways to operate smarter and more efficiently, while also looking for innovative ways to implement sturdy, low-cost solutions that their employees will love.  Which leads to his second point, that there will be a renewed emphasis on what employees love and how clubs, as employers, can provide an enhanced value proposition for their employees.

“As employees get back to work onsite, employers are finding that what their people value from the employment relationship has changed,” Hill explained.  “Where pay has been viewed as largely transactional in the past, clubs may need to provide new types of benefits, especially programs that provide more flexibility, financial security, and empowerment to retain and motivate their people.”

Lastly, there is likely to be considerable movement of talent over the coming year brought on by employees’ new work-life ambitions and financial imperatives, said Hill, “As demand for their skills and experience grows, the very best talent will seek out employers that demonstrate they view employees not as costs but as assets and reflect this in their approach to compensation.”

Recalling our start-of-year prediction that the movement of people and relocation of companies will reshape markets, partner Craig Johnston added, “The relocation of people continues to be a prominent trend and one that is likely to continue in the second half of the year.”  For club employers, it’s not just the changing physical locations which impact the cost and supply of labor, but also the expectations of employees as they seek out competitive new roles and work experiences.

6. The repurposing and reimagining of club facilities, amenities, and member-use areas will continue

The pandemic pushed to the fore the need for clubs to adapt their facilities to match changes in the ways members use and enjoy their clubs.  A combination of practical evolutions for health and safety and circumstantial evolutions drawn from widespread ability for members to work remotely created increased desire for clubs to offer more casual outdoor dining options and spaces to enable members to conduct work while at the club.

Partner Stephen Johnston believes these sentiments will continue to near-term facility improvements at clubs.  “With more flexibility in the workplace and members working from home periodically, there will be a need at the club for members to do work or take calls before their tee time or their lunch date,” he said.  “It has been evident for some time that members generally prefer to enjoy outdoor dining and since, throughout the pandemic, it has become apparent that guests draw greater comfort in outdoor experiences, I see a greater demand for outside patio and food and beverage service.”

As society begins to reopen and communities begin to stabilize, time can only tell precisely how clubs will continue to evolve their operations, whether that be scaling back pandemic-relevant operations or doubling-down on new services and efficiencies.  Evident in our work with clients are significant efforts to reorganize club leaders, reevaluate operations, and retool plans for a successful future in the new normal.  Here are a few highlights of efforts clubs are making for the next normal:

 

  • Reinvigoration of governance processes and engagement of leaders to ensure alignment between boards and club strategic plans.
  • Renewed surveying of members to keep a pulse on how sentiments have changed from pre-pandemic, during pandemic, and currently as communities stabilize.
  • Enhanced adoption and application of electronic voting as clubs reevaluate membership structures, governing documents, and operating policies amidst “displaced” members.
  • Reconfiguring of budgets, capital plans, and long-range financial models.
  • Refinement and advancement of membership marketing strategies, tactics, and materials.
  • Tightening relationships between facility planning, capital improvements, and member communications campaigns.

Executive Search: General Manager at Mount Vernon Country Club (FILLED)

Mount Vernon Country Club logo

GENERAL MANAGER
MOUNT VERNON COUNTRY CLUB
Alexandria, VA

The Club

Founded in 1961, Mount Vernon Country Club is a member-owned golf and country club in Alexandria, Virginia, located 19 miles from Washington, D.C. The Club features an 18-hole championship golf course with work from golf course designers Russell Roberts, Ed Ault, and most recently, Bill Love. The course winds its way through the original forest of George Washington’s Mount Vernon farm and is enhanced by the presence of Dogue Creek, a Potomac River Chesapeake tidal tributary which lends a water hazard challenge on 14 of Mount Vernon’s 18 holes.

Mount Vernon Club is a family-friendly environment primarily focused on golf and dining. The Club offers five distinct food and beverage locations for Member’s enjoyment. The pool complex features a pool and the Barracuda Grill. The Clubhouse consists of the administrative offices, kitchen, member dining areas, lounge and banquet facilities. The Club currently benefits from a full membership with a growing wait list.

Mount Vernon Country Club Overview:

  • 700 Members (Golf: 475, Other: 225)
  • Initiation Fee (Resident Member Golf: $32,000)
  • Annual Dues (Golf: $7,068 and Capital Dues $1,236)
  • $8.30M Gross volume
  • $3.70M Annual dues
  • $2.30M F&B volume
  • $3.30M Gross payroll
  • 120 Employees in-season; 90 off-season
  • 9 Board members

The General Manager Position

The General Manager reports to the Board and coordinates with the President of the Board on a regular basis. The General Manager 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 of the club. This includes the preparation of the annual operating and capital budgets and management of operations to attain the desired results.

The General Manager coordinates all management functions and works in concert with committee chairs to assist in the development of proposed policies, programs, events, etc.

The General Manager is the lead coordinator of programming and development of synergy among all departments. Overseeing the internal and external marketing strategies for membership growth and member engagement is a critical part of the position. The General Manager will work with the Board to develop the current long- range plan which will include significant upgrades to the golf course and amenities.

The General Manager should have a strong presence and seek to be highly visible to the membership and staff. The General Manager sets the tone for consistently treating members with first class hospitality and is responsible for communicating these expectations to the entire staff.

Important Individual Characteristics:

  • A naturally enthusiastic personality and passion for the club management profession.
  • A natural leadership style which promotes staff and membership engagement and camaraderie.
  • Ability to act as a thought partner with the board and committees.
  • The ability to communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing.
  • Disciplined follow-through to ensure the vision and goals of the Club come to fruition.
  • Ability to cultivate a high-level of member services and satisfaction.
  • Possesses a strong understanding of top-notch food and beverage experiences for Club members and guests.
  • Effective fiscal management through delivery of actual operational and capital results in alignment with approved budgets.
  • Maintains a high level of visibility to members and staff as the face of the Club.
  • Understands the importance of digital communication and can utilize web and social media tools to communicate with the staff and membership.
  • Ability to develop a dedicated team with a shared vision.

Candidate Qualifications

  • A minimum of 5 years of progressive leadership and management experience in a private club environment. Current Assistant General Managers or Clubhouse Managers at well-recognized clubs, with verifiable records of achievement will also be considered.
  • A Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited college or university, preferably in Hospitality Management or Business.
  • Certified Club Manager (CCM) 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.

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, June 25, 2021.

Documents must be saved and emailed in Word or PDF format (save as “Last Name, First Name, Mount Vernon GM Cover Letter” and “Last Name, First Name, Mount Vernon GM Resume”) 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 Mount Vernon Country Club, please visit www.mountvernoncc.org.

Executive Search: Assistant GM at The Minikahda Club

ASSISTANT GENERAL MANAGER
THE MINIKAHDA CLUB
Minneapolis, MN

The Club

Located minutes from downtown Minneapolis, MN, The Minikahda Club is much more than a collection of amenities. The Club experience is focused on providing superior social and recreational experiences based on the values of family, fellowship, integrity, respect, and inclusiveness.

Founded in 1898, The Minikahda Club is the oldest country club west of the Mississippi and a premier club in the region. The City of Minneapolis has grown up around Minikahda. A group of young picnickers were so impressed by the spot they found atop a hill overlooking Lake Bde Maka Ska, they acquired the land and set out to form a club for social functions and golf. The name Minikahda comes from the Dakotah, a combination of two words meaning, “by the side of the water.” The Club logo, in fact, depicts a Native American shield, similar to the artifact framed in the Clubhouse.

The Minikahda Club is a year-round full-service club with a vast offering of social, dining and sport activities. The Club has approximately 1,275 members, comprised of approximately 475 families and a single class of membership. From a financial standpoint, the Club is debt-free, has a substantial reserve fund, a waiting list for membership and is well positioned for success.

The historic Donald Ross designed golf course has played host to a number of major events including the 1916 US Open, the 1927 US Amateur, the Walker Cup in 1957, the Women’s Amateur in 1988, the Curtis Cup in 1998, and the US Senior Amateur in 2017. The course is ranked among the best in the state by Golf Digest and was ranked #102 in Golfweek’s Top classic courses in 2020.

In 2018, the classic Ross designed golf course was re-grassed, and the golf shop was replaced with a new building that provides a year-round practice facility. A modernized pool snack bar and a new lakeside bar on the second floor of the Clubhouse was also added at the same time.  Currently, the Club is in the process of developing a long-term strategic and facilities master plan.

Members enjoy a variety of racket sports including tennis and paddle tennis. The tennis and paddle tennis programs are designed to appeal to newcomers and seasoned players alike.  A full calendar of clinics, mixers, and socials provides ample opportunities to meet new players and make new friends.

The pool is a very popular member amenity enjoyed by all from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Located on the edge of a hill with breathtaking views of Lake Bde Maka Ska and downtown Minneapolis, members enjoy swimming programs, relaxation and dining poolside.

At the heart of Minikahda is the beloved 60,000 square foot Clubhouse.  The Club offers multiple dining rooms for every gathering, from the formal Dining Room and intimate patio overlooking Lake Bde Maka Ska, to a family friendly Grille as well as 1898, the newly added adult-only bar with beautiful views of the lake and downtown Minneapolis. Multiple outdoor terraces and a deck with spectacular views highlighted by incredible cuisine prepared by our culinary team are all part of why Minikahda members and guests consider The Minikahda Club one of the best places to dine in the Twin Cities.  The Club also boasts a beautiful ballroom for significant life or member events. Indoors, outdoors, big or small, whatever the need, we are humbled and honored to serve our members and guests.

The Minikahda Club Overview:

  • 1,275 Members (approximately 475 families)
  • Initiation Fee: $75,000
  • Annual Dues: $10,000
  • $10.5M Gross Volume
  • $5.5M Annual Dues
  • $5.2M Gross Payroll
  • $3.2M F&B Volume pre-COVID-19
  • Peak Season: 300 Employees; Off-season: 120 Employees
  • 13 Board Members
  • Average age of members is 52

The Assistant General Manager Position

The Assistant General Manager is ultimately responsible for all clubhouse, food and beverage, aquatics, and facilities operations daily, including the general housekeeping over these areas. The Assistant General Manager is responsible for all aspects of the operation in the absence of the General Manager/COO and performs specific tasks as requested.

This managerial position works closely with, and reports directly to, the General Manager/COO, and provides quality leadership and contributes to the positive atmosphere of the Club and associated operations. He/she will also prepare annual department budgets in concert with the GM/COO.

The AGM will enhance the “club culture” and is responsible for the dissemination of hospitality, friendliness, and goodwill among members, guests and staff. His/her goal is always to help members and guests enjoy the facilities and events of the Club. In addition to building relationships with Club members, guests, and employees, he or she provides support to the respective committees and advisory groups as well. Being the “public face” of these operations with a hands-on approach and an understanding that full member and staff engagement is critical to success in this position.

The AGM consistently provides anticipatory hospitality along with superb dining and other food and beverage experiences for the Club’s membership and their guests. Alignment with the Executive Chef and Food & Beverage Director is very important to this position to ensure collaborative, innovative, harmonious relationships between front and back of house operations.

Primary Responsibilities

Member Services:

  • Consistent sincere and significant engagement of members, highly visible to members and staff in the dining areas of the club is of the utmost importance. The AGM is ultimately responsible to ensure that all member dining and club events are well-conceived and executed along with all amenities.
  • Provide quality leadership in a positive and upbeat manner for the members, guests and staff.
  • Create and maintain a first-class service culture throughout the club campus and its amenities.
  • Address and resolve all member and guest complaints and suggestions, general service, employee attitude, maintenance, and presentation of the clubhouse operations.

Employee Relations:

  • Oversee the recruiting, hiring and development of clubhouse and various food service venue personnel.
  • Oversee ongoing training programs complete with up-to-date training manuals to ensure exceptional service in all parts of the club’s operation.
  • Provides for training and future development of all subordinate managers and supervisors subject to budget approval by the General Manager/COO. Instill the concept of being “team players” in all employees. Continue to coach, counsel, and evaluate departmental staff.
  • Ensures that a positive spirit and healthy work environment exists throughout the club operations, one that is free of safety risks and all forms of employee harassment.
  • Maintain an effective communication program where employees are treated in a fair, structured and consistent manner.
  • Function as an administrative and communication link between departments in the club.
  • Guarantee that all clubhouse employees are regularly trained and certified in areas that help guard the safety and well-being of our members, guests and other employees including, but not limited to responsible alcohol service, safe food handling, etc.
  • Help to facilitate a team environment with morale, high ethical standards and efficient use of resources to position The Minikahda Club to be a preferred employer of choice in the community.

Financial Management:

  • Works jointly with the Controller and General Manager/COO to prepare the annual operating and capital budgets for all clubhouse and service operations, assists in managing and controlling the operations to attain the desired results.
  • Monitors the budget each week/month and directs the taking of corrective action as necessary to assure that the budgeted goals are attained.
  • Provides input to all clubhouse and service personnel regarding annual budgets, capital spending plans, fiscal controls and operational guidelines.
  • Responsible for all labor cost payouts and maintains them within the constraints of the budget and through close coordination and with approval from the General Manager/COO and Controller.
  • Monitors payroll records to control overtime and maintain labor costs within budgetary guidelines.
  • Supervises the purchasing, receiving, safekeeping and disbursement of operating supplies and equipment to maximize quality and profitability.

Personnel Management:

  • Displays very hands-on approach and leads the staff by example. Must be approachable to staff, members and guests.
  • Assists the General Manager/COO in developing and implementing long-range (strategic) and annual (business) plans, operating reports, forecasts and budgets.
  • Works with Human Resources to develop long term staffing needs for area of responsibility.
  • Responsible for the hiring, discipline, termination and documentation of all clubhouse and service staff.
  • Reviews all accidents, works with HR and Safety Committee in completing accidents reports and implementing improved procedures.
  • Attends meetings of senior management and carries out directives because of these meetings and any other requests of the General Manager in a timely manner.
  • Serves as an ad-hoc member of appropriate club committees and advisory groups.
  • A warm personality, a sense of humor and the ability to work effectively with all levels of the internal staff and members.
  • Works with Executive Chef, Food & Beverage Director and others to develop P&L statements prior to each event, makes appropriate notes following events and files information for future use.
  • Works with Executive Chef on menu development.
  • Works with the F&B Team to organize and market special club events.
  • Furthers his/her own continued development as a club management professional as a member of CMAA. With the assistance and approval of the General Manager/COO participates in appropriate seminars/training programs, thereby enhancing his/her value and quality of services to The Minikahda Club.

Operational Responsibilities:

  • Understands and abides by The Minikahda Club policies and departmental procedures. Suggests changes and may direct the implementation of change.
  • Provides content for and manages communications and marketing information for department.
  • Assures that the Clubhouse operations and campus venues are run in accordance with all applicable local, state and federal laws.
  • Disseminates information effectively and coordinates activities between departments on a timely basis.
  • Keeps the General Manager/COO informed of all potential problems and activities related to the smooth operation of the clubhouse and other food service venues.
  • Oversees inventory management throughout departments and completes a periodic china, glass and silver inventory to maintain par levels.
  • Coordinates and approves all entertainment in consultation with General Manager/COO and others.
  • A sharp eye for detail in the overall management of the operation.
  • Responsible for regularly reporting of performance and financial data, i.e. weekly report to General Manager/COO.

Direct Reports

Executive Chef, Food & Beverage Director, Catering Director, Member Engagement Director, Pool, Locker Room, Housekeeping and Valet Teams.

Candidate Qualifications

  • A minimum of 5 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 immediately.

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 Wednesday, June 23, 2021.

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

 

Lead Search Executive

Patrick DeLozier
Managing Director
GGA Partners™
(501) 258-2911
patrick.delozier@ggapartners.com

 

For more information about The Minikahda Club, please visit www.minikahdaclub.org.

 

Staffing For Success: Part 3

Game Plan – Henry DeLozier‘s monthly column in Golf Course Industry Magazine – continues its series on staffing for success with the third of three installments. After looking at how the pandemic has afforded club and course managers the opportunity to reevaluate their teams (Staffing for Success: Part 1) and strategies for finding and hiring the right team members (Staffing for Success: Part 2), we turn to creating a culture that inspires and retains top performers.

Culture: The Secret Sauce of Success

A Supreme Court justice once defined obscenity by not defining it. “I know it when I see it,” Justice Potter Stewart famously said in 1964. It seems that an organization’s culture might fit into the same category: difficult to define, but obvious once illuminated.

The difficulty in defining organizational culture is because it is so many things at once. An amalgamation of personality, values, reputation, purpose, style and traditions framed by a set of written and unwritten rules developed over time and considered inviolable. Put them all in a pot, let them simmer for a while — a few years or maybe a few decades — and what’s left is culture!

Culture then is nothing less than an organization’s heart and soul, and its importance rivals any other asset or advantage. It is the glue that holds the organization together. It inspires loyalty in employees and motivates them to act consistently and pridefully. It influences them to perform at a high level because they feel a responsibility to uphold their end of the cultural bargain.

Culture is also an important factor in retaining top performers. Randstad, the international employment and recruitment firm, lists toxic cultures with poor pay, limited career opportunities, lack of challenging work, lack of recognition and work-life imbalance as the leading reasons people leave their jobs. There is an urgent need to pay attention to the culture growing around your club or course or risk losing top talent.

If this amorphous entity known as culture is so critical, what steps can you take, what keywords can you prioritize for search engines and what KPIs do you elevate to bake it into your organization? If only creating or transforming culture were so easy. Every winning culture is part of a unique set of attributes and characteristics that cannot be invented or imposed. It must be discovered from within.

But that doesn’t mean you should sit back and wait for culture to reveal itself — or for it to form in ways that could be detrimental to your future success. The road to a sustainable and winning culture ensures that employees:

 

  • Understand the club’s/course’s vision and how they contribute to it. When everyone knows where their leaders are steering the ship, it’s much easier to get people onboard and for employees to feel good about rowing.
  • Know how their performance is measured and what their personal success looks like. What results are expected? Are there both quantifiable and qualitative measures?
  • Are consistently recognized for contributions that meet and exceed goals. Nothing is more motivating than recognition in front of colleagues.
  • Recognize a commitment to diversity and inclusion. Employees of color and minorities want to see evidence that their opinions and work is valued and that they’re on a level playing field.
  • Feel that their managers are taking steps to safeguard their health and well-being. In a post-pandemic world, employees want to feel confident that their job is not putting them and their families in danger.
  • Are rewarded through a set of personal, flexible, creative benefits. Baby boomers, millennials and Gen Xers think about benefits and perks differently. To make them meaningful, managers must understand what each employee values most.

In addition to helping retain top performers, an engaging and embracing culture also has competitive advantages, particularly when it comes to sustaining high performance. Bain & Company research found that nearly 70 percent of business leaders agree that culture provides the greatest source of competitive advantage. In fact, more than 80 percent believe an organization that lacks a high-performance culture is doomed to mediocrity.

Culture may not be the easiest thing to define, but you can take steps that encourage a culture in which your organization thrives. You can’t rush culture, but you’ll know it when you see it.

This article was authored by Henry DeLozier for Golf Course Industry magazine.

Staffing For Success: Part 2

Game Plan – Henry DeLozier‘s monthly column in Golf Course Industry Magazine – continues its series on staffing for success with the second of three installments. After looking at how the pandemic has afforded club and course managers the opportunity to reevaluate their teams and redefine job descriptions in Staffing for Success: Part 1, we turn to finding and hiring the right team members.

As businesses reshape themselves into leaner and more efficient operations, top performers are the best value their money can buy.

A great many Americans are currently unemployed and looking for a job. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 6.7 percent of the labor force — more than 10 million people — is out of work. Finding top performers for rising needs in club management roles should be easy work, right? If only it were a simple matter of statistics.

As management professionals in any business know, the magic is finding the right person for the right job. With the war for talent continuing to escalate, we turn to three experts to help us identify the best practices for optimum staffing in these turbulent times.

Jim Collins: Get the right people on the bus

Step one, as management thinker Jim Collins advises in his bestseller “Good to Great,” is to start by “getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats” before heading down the proverbial highway. In other words, focus on “who” before determining “what.”

Those who build great organizations make sure they have a busload of people who can adapt and perform brilliantly no matter what comes next. Selecting the right people is a matter of clearly deciding what types of people — attitudes, talents, backgrounds, skillsets — are needed to enable your team to accomplish great things.

Jeff Bezos: Ask these three questions

The Amazon founder uses a straightforward three-question guide for hiring key employees. Bezos’ three questions offer direct application to the management of golf and private clubs and are particularly useful during unpredictable circumstances.

1. Will you admire this person?

“If you think about the people you’ve admired in your life, they are probably people you’ve been able to learn or take an example from,” Bezos says. This discipline requires that management first knows who he or she is and has a clear-eyed understanding of the strengths and benefits that are needed for any position. Hiring managers do well to ask themselves:

  • What traits and attributes inspire me to be my best?
  • What do we need?
  • To what do we aspire?

2. Will this person raise the average level of effectiveness of the group they are entering?

Will the candidate increase the efficiency within the organization? Is he or she able to see around the corner and anticipate needs? Are they willing to challenge established norms and traditions? (Should course setup be executed in the afternoon instead of first thing each day? Can mechanical work be executed after hours by veterans who need extra work?)

3. Along what dimension might the person be a superstar?

Listen to candidates’ answers. Push for details. Ask follow-up questions to understand how your candidate thinks and imagines your operation. One is more likely to be a superstar when he or she is encouraged to make others better.

Regina Hartley: Hire the scrapper

Throughout her 25-year UPS career — working in talent acquisition, succession planning, learning and development, employee relations, and communications — Hartley has seen how people with passion and purpose will astound you when given the opportunity. That’s why she says, “Hire the scrapper.” She defines scrappers as people who have had to fight against the odds to get ahead. They differ from those she calls the “silver spoons” — people who have had clear advantages in their lives and from birth seem destined for success.

Before tossing the résumé of someone who has obviously scrapped his or her way to the experience and skills that qualify them for a job in your organization, at least give them an interview, Hartley says: “A résumé tells a story. A patchwork quilt of odd jobs and experiences may signal a lack of focus and unpredictability. Or it may indicate a committed struggle against obstacles.”

This article was authored by Henry DeLozier for Golf Course Industry magazine.

Read Staffing for Success: Part 3

Staffing For Success: Part 1

This month, Game Plan – Henry DeLozier‘s monthly column in Golf Course Industry Magazine – kicks off a three-part series on staffing for success. First in the series is a look at how the pandemic has changed staffing needs and why superintendents and managers should consider reorganizing their teams and redefining job descriptions. Parts two and three will look at finding, hiring and retaining the right team members and creating the culture that inspires and motivates top performers.

“Never let a good crisis go to waste” is a quote often attributed to Winston Churchill in the days following World War II. Scholars question whether Churchill ever spoke those exact words, but as we make tentative steps to emerge from a pandemic-induced crisis of our own time, the lesson it implies — finding opportunity amidst great difficulty and challenge — rings as timely and as relevant as it would have in Churchill’s day.

In the still-churning wake of the global health pandemic of 2020, maybe the first place we should look for opportunity is with our own staffs. As COVID-19 raced through communities across America, thousands of golf clubs and facilities found themselves on either side of a dilemma. For those places where golf was booming, stretching tee sheets, golf car fleets and maintenance staffs to their limits and beyond, the question was whether to staff up to handle the surge or stay with current staff levels, figuring the wave would eventually crest and return to some semblance of normal. For places the boom never reached, the questions were: How long can we manage to keep our current team intact before payroll takes too much of a bite from dwindling revenues? And among those eventually let go, who will we bring back and who no longer has a place on our team?

By now, many of those calculations and decisions have been made and the ramifications felt. But the lessons they taught should not only endure, but also inform future staffing plans. In the heat of crisis, owners and managers learned who on their teams could take on more responsibility, who had leadership potential and who had reached their ceiling. They learned where they needed additional resources and where resources might be redeployed for better coverage and results. Now it’s time to put those lessons to work with redesigned organization charts and job descriptions.

One thing is for sure: a dynamic job market has changed even more in the last 12 months with continued disruption on the horizon. “The fallout will fundamentally change recruiting and hiring practices long after the pandemic has passed,” recruiting strategist Jack Whatley recently told Forbes.com.

Another certainty is that the war for talent will continue to escalate. Top performers will be in even greater demand because as businesses reshape themselves into leaner, more efficient operations, those top performers are the best value money can buy.

“Twenty years ago, all interns had mechanical skills and no computer knowledge. Now it is just the opposite. They all know how to operate computers, but they can’t change a spark plug,” says Rick Tegtmeier, the long-tenured and highly respected golf course superintendent at Des Moines Golf & Country Club. “It sure doesn’t hurt someone to work at a lesser-budget golf course operation and learn more of the skills that help you become a more rounded superintendent.”

There will never be a better time to take all the names off your org chart and rethink the needs of the club and course, the time and talent required of each of those needs, and the right names to place in those roles. As you go through that exercise, be aware that the pandemic and its economic reverberations have also changed employees’ perspectives.

Workers have had a lot of time recently to reevaluate their careers and question their next moves. Am I in the right job in the right industry? Where could I find more happiness and greater security for me and my family? Is this a stable environment and can I count on a stable paycheck? Where will I be exposed if (or when) another crisis emerges?

“Safety and job stability are at the top of mind for the job seeker now — and that changes what they want in a job,” Whatley says. “Businesses will have to become employee-centric as well as customer-centric.”

Hopefully, you and your facility have weathered this crisis without too much damage. Now’s the time to take advantage of an opportunity it has afforded.

This article was authored by Henry DeLozier for Golf Course Industry magazine.

Read Staffing for Success: Part 2

2021 Predictions on the Shape of the Next Normal

When we were introduced to COVID-19 in March 2020, no one had any indication that ten months later the number of cases and its toll on society would continue to rise. The introduction of a vaccine is promising, but the road ahead remains filled with uncertainty as to when the next normal will arrive – and what shape that normal will adopt.

Since its inception, GGA Partners has traveled the globe working with private clubs, golf courses, investors, real estate developers, resorts, municipalities, and financial institutions. This has provided unique insight into the state of golf, private club, and leisure businesses from many different perspectives.

We have observed that even before the coronavirus pandemic, significant change was underway across the private club landscape. As we prepare for the “new normal” the thought leaders at GGA sat down to predict what they believe is coming in 2021 and beyond.

1. COVID-19 accelerates change already afoot in governance

According to Senior Partner Henry DeLozier, the change brought on by the pandemic is going to necessitate even more rapid change in governance, which GGA has seen clubs struggle with this past year.

“In corporate America, the concept of stakeholder capitalism was at the forefront in 2020 and that has transcended to the private club space,” commented DeLozier. “We’re hearing members across the private club spectrum questioning why they do not have a larger voice in their club and how board selections, as well as decisions, are being made.”

Private clubs that do not have current and effective governance will suffer from decreased member satisfaction and a constant churn of its membership base.

2. The capability to communicate effectively and efficiently will be key

Linda Dillenbeck, GGA’s director for the firm’s communications practice, stated that there continues to be a need to assist clubs in their efforts to communicate effectively and efficiently.

“It is basic human nature that people do not like change,” said Dillenbeck. “To minimize the disruption of pending changes, it is incumbent upon the management team and board of directors to clearly communicate the what, how, and why of their decisions then allow members to voice their opinions. This provides the level of two-way communication members are demanding.”

In addition to communications about club finances and capital improvements, clubs need to improve the use of the data they have collected to provide tailored communications to members. For example, notices about evolving restrictions on golf events should only be sent to those who play and those about activities for families with children don’t need to be sent to empty nesters.

Beyond member communications, clubs that will be successful in 2021 will be those which can retool and refine their external communications to ensure the message of what truly makes the club unique is presented clearly.

3. Greater work flexibility will impact club utilization in new and challenging ways

Report after report has trumpeted the tremendous increase in rounds played during the pandemic. According to GGA Director John Strawn, that is in large part due to work-from-home adaptations which are providing greater flexibility in how and when employees complete their daily tasks.

“People have more control over their work lives,” said Strawn. “Golf experienced fewer restrictions during the pandemic and that has brought out many new and fringe players leading to full tee sheets at both private and public golf courses.”

Full tee sheets are causing negative feedback from those who play more frequently as there is a belief that those not paying full dues are taking coveted tee times. To solve the problem, Strawn predicts clubs will need to revisit their strategies and ultimately their business models more frequently to ensure they are meeting this new and different demand effectively. Flexibility will be critical until the long-term impact on golf demand is better understood.

While clubs continue struggling to ensure fair and equitable access to the tee or courts while accommodating increased demand, Senior Associate Andrew Milne added that clubs should expect that best practice solutions may shift regarding reservations and tee sheet management to include lottery systems and Chelsea systems to ensure dissatisfaction among members is minimized. Understanding that new reservation management approaches may change the value proposition for members, a clear plan and message acknowledging this, and for measuring and adapting the approach as the future becomes clearer, will be important.

4. Clubs must better understand what women want from their club

According to the National Golf Foundation, while only one in five golfers are women, females represent a disproportionately higher percentage of beginners (31%).

Women ease into the game for a variety of reasons; to spend time with their family, to compete, to be outdoors, and to enjoy the support, community, and socialization. As these women age and consider joining a club, they will choose the clubs that shape programs, staff, activities, and offerings to blend the female competitive group with the group that is more interested in the social community.

“We’ve known for some time just how important the role of women and the family dynamic is regarding the decision on whether to join a private club,” commented GGA Director Murray Blair. “For clubs to succeed in 2021 and beyond, they will need to understand how women are impacting the decision-making process and implement the necessary adjustments to make them feel welcome, whether they play golf or not.”

5. Operational efficiencies gained during the pandemic will carry forward in 2021, and their challenges will too

Among the most remarkable takeaways from 2020 was the ability for clubs to adapt their operations and service offerings swiftly and effectively in the face of facility closures, variable human resource availability, and rapidly changing restrictions for public health and safety.

Contactless payments, varying tee time intervals, and pace dispersion tactics are pandemic-inspired efficiencies which GGA Associate Andrew Johnson predicts will continue.

Adding to the list, GGA Director Ben Hopkinson expects clubs will become more efficient at managing grab-and-go meals, take-out dining, and mobile ordering, following the best practices of companies like Uber Eats and DoorDash.

New ways of operating have also brought about new challenges, some of which will persist into 2021 and require even more new solutions to be generated at clubs and courses.

GGA Senior Associate Andrew Johnson expects that the increased costs associated with COVID-19 mandated protocols such as labor for sanitation and cleaning, as well as elevated maintenance expenses due to increased rounds, will remain through 2021.

Clubs that effectively determine what increased interest and golf participation means for facility accessibility, program creation, membership categories and associated privileges will find increased membership satisfaction and interest from new prospects.

6. The pandemic’s impact on club finances will remain uncertain, expect to see more measurement, flexibility, and experimentation

Despite successful adaptations in club operations and economic relief opportunities afforded by governments and municipalities, the full extent of the pandemic’s economic impact will remain varied across club types depending on business structures and market areas.

GGA Senior Manager Martin Tzankov, remains concerned about the financial position of many clubs and believes the brunt of the economic impact has yet to be seen.

“The reliance of clubs on dues increases and capital assessments has been particularly apparent this year and may have stretched the value proposition too far for some,” stated Tzankov.  “2021 will show the clubs where a clear and present value proposition is being presented to members, who in turn, will continue to pay the cost of belonging.”

GGA Partner Derek Johnston believes there are clubs that will be able to increase pricing and sustain the increases in the long-term and there are clubs that will overshoot the mark. Johnston expressed concern that some clubs may move joining fees too high, too fast; golf businesses may move their green fees too high, too fast; and some may move away from tee sheet management practices too quickly.

“Nobody knows what’s coming.  If clubs have experienced less attrition than in the past, it may be due to members being unwilling to give up their safe sanctuary, but when things begin to stabilize post-vaccine that may not persist,” he explained.  “I believe that a portion of the historical attrition hasn’t been abated, just held back.  There will be increased attrition over the next 12-24 months and there may not be the same demand there to replace those who leave, especially as other social and lifestyle pursuits become more widely available again.”

2021 will be a time for clubs to experiment.  A measured, flexible approach to joining fees and dues will be a prudent approach this year.

7. A club’s success will in part be driven by its sum of parts in 2021

Craig Johnston, a partner and head of GGA’s transaction advisory practice, emphasized that the success of clubs during and following the pandemic will in part be driven by its sum of parts. Johnston explained “A private club may include a fitness center, retail store, several restaurants, a golf course, and a marina. The pandemic has impacted the utilization and thus success of all those ‘parts’ differently, and therefore the overall success of the club will largely be dependent on the club’s product or shall we say parts mix.”

“Every club is going to be different depending on its type of business and the operations which comprise it, the extent and variability of pandemic-related changes means that comparatives are going to need to be refined,” continued Johnston.  “Clubs that understand and appreciate the challenges and successes of the various parts of their business will be in a better position to realign and optimize heading into the ‘new normal’.”

8. The movement of people and relocation of companies will reshape markets

Our news feeds have been full of stories about high-profile people and companies moving out of California into Texas, as well as the movement of bankers to Florida from New York. If looking at this as a trend, you might imagine seeing increased need and greater attrition among clubs in the California and New York markets and, conversely, excess demand for clubs in markets like Texas and Florida.

According to GGA Manager Alison Corner, it will be important for clubs to understand the movement of people – not just the movement away from major urban centers and into the suburbs, but also the movement of companies and the actual physical locations of corporations – because they may have drastic impacts to how certain club and leisure businesses perform over the next 5 – 10 years.

Clubs that are mindful of these relocation trends will help themselves to recognize and either seize new opportunities, or mitigate future risks.

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