31 Years | 31 Lessons – Lesson 1

 

Managing a private club is  not an easy task. It requires knowledge, stamina, fortitude, patience and a sense of humor. With each new year comes new challenges, opportunities and lessons to learn.

When GGA Director Colin Burns, CCM, joined the firm, he shared the lessons he learned over a lifetime in the hospitality industry, as an advocate for club management and his three decades as the general manager of Winged Foot Golf Club with our team. In hearing those lessons, we were reminded how success comes from doing the right thing every day.

We asked Colin to record his common sense and professional advise for us to share with you. Today we present the first of Colin’s 31 Years | 31 Lessons videos. We will be releasing all 31 on our LinkedIn page over the next several months in the hope you find these lessons helpful as you navigate your own path to success as a leader in our industry.

Watch Lesson 1

 

A Club Leader’s Perspective [2023]

A Club Leader’s Perspective: Emerging Trends & Opportunities for 2023 

Latest research produced in collaboration with the Club Management Association of America examines  pressing needs in club management.

In brief:

  • Industry survey of over 230 club leaders across the US highlights the perspective of club leaders on the current challenges facing the industry.
  • A Club Leader’s Perspective explores the state of the industry from the perspective of those in club leadership roles, and what influences their decisions.
  • Club leaders weighed-in on emerging trends and challenges across five primary areas:
    • Industry outlook 
    • Access and utilization
    • Membership experience insights
    • Capital and finance
    • Inflationary impacts on service

We’ve surveyed club leaders regularly since the start of the pandemic, including in-depth looks at challenges, sentiments and opportunities over the past two years. During this time, many clubs faced an global health crisis, supply chain interruptions, labor challenges and escalated membership levels. In 2023, optimism regarding the economic outlook of the industry remains high despite looming recessionary impacts.

Access the full report for further insights.

Read now

About GGA Partners

GGA Partners™ is an international consulting firm and trusted advisor to many of the world’s most successful golf courses, 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, Ontario; Phoenix, Arizona; Bluffton, South Carolina; and Dublin, Ireland. For more information, please visit ggapartners.com.

GGA Partners is proud to be a long-standing CMAA Business Partner.

About CMAA

Founded in 1927, the Club Management Association of America (CMAA) is the largest professional association for managers of membership clubs with 6,800 members throughout the US and internationally. Our members contribute to the success of more than 2,500 country, golf, athletic, city, faculty, military, town, and yacht clubs. The objectives of the Association are to promote relationships between club management professionals and other similar professions; to encourage the education and advancement of members; and to provide the resources needed for efficient and successful club operations. Under the covenants of professionalism, education, leadership, and community, CMAA continues to extend its reach as the leader in the club management practice. CMAA is headquartered in Alexandria, VA, with 42 professional chapters and more than 40 student chapters and colonies. Learn more at cmaa.org.

For further information, contact:

Samar Abdourahman
Manager, Marketing and Communications
GGA Partners
t: 416-333-5008
e: samar.abdourahman@ggapartners.com

A Club Leader’s Perspective [2022]

A Club Leader’s Perspective: Emerging Trends & Challenges 

Latest research produced in collaboration with the Club Management Association of America examines the perspectives of private clubs and what trends are motivating their decisions.

In brief:

  • Industry survey of over 200 club leaders across North America highlights the perspective of club leaders on the current challenges facing the industry.
  • A Club Leader’s Perspective explores the state of the industry from the perspective of those in club leadership roles, and what influences their decisions.
  • Club leaders weighed-in on emerging trends and challenges across five primary areas:
    • Industry outlook within the post-Covid-19 ecosystem
    • Human resources and workforce demands
    • Membership experience and programming
    • Capital planning and long-range improvement strategies, and budgeting and forecasting
    • Inflationary impacts on service

We’ve taken the pulse of club leaders regularly since the start of the pandemic, including in-depth looks at challenges and sentiments in 2021. Over the past two years, many clubs were forced to adapt to evolving public health regulations, supply chain shortages, labor challenges and sky-rocketing membership levels. Despite these challenges, club leaders are largely positive about 2022. 

Access the full report for further insights.

Read now

About GGA Partners

GGA Partners™ is an international consulting firm and trusted advisor to many of the world’s most successful golf courses, 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, Ontario; Phoenix, Arizona; Bluffton, South Carolina; and Dublin, Ireland. For more information, please visit ggapartners.com.

GGA Partners is proud to be a long-standing CMAA Business Partner.

About CMAA

Founded in 1927, the Club Management Association of America (CMAA) is the largest professional association for managers of membership clubs with 6,800 members throughout the US and internationally. Our members contribute to the success of more than 2,500 country, golf, athletic, city, faculty, military, town, and yacht clubs. The objectives of the Association are to promote relationships between club management professionals and other similar professions; to encourage the education and advancement of members; and to provide the resources needed for efficient and successful club operations. Under the covenants of professionalism, education, leadership, and community, CMAA continues to extend its reach as the leader in the club management practice. CMAA is headquartered in Alexandria, VA, with 42 professional chapters and more than 40 student chapters and colonies. Learn more at cmaa.org.

For further information, contact:

Samar Abdourahman
Manager, Marketing and Communications
GGA Partners
t: 416-333-5008
e: samar.abdourahman@ggapartners.com

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.

 

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

A Club Leader’s Perspective: Emerging Trends & Challenges

GGA Partners Releases A Club Leader’s Perspective on Emerging Trends & Challenges Research Report

More than 500 club leaders weigh-in on trends, challenges, and pressing needs in club management emerging in the wake of the global health crisis. Now available for download.

TORONTO, Ontario (June 15, 2021) – GGA Partners, an international consulting firm and trusted advisor to many of the world’s most successful golf courses, private clubs, resorts, and residential communities, has released the results of an industry-wide research survey of more than 500 club leaders.  

The 2021 A Club Leader’s Perspective: Emerging Trends & Challenges report is a collaboration between GGA Partners and the Club Management Association of America. Researchers and analysts from both firms partnered in the development and analysis of the findings.

The research, which serves as a contemporary update on pressing needs in club management, takes a look at emerging trends and challenges from the perspective of those in club leadership roles, capturing insight from 515 club leaders, the majority of whom serve as general managers, COOs, and CEOs of private clubs in North America.

A Club Leader's Perspective: Emerging Trends & Challenges

Club leaders weighed-in on emerging trends and challenges across five primary areas: 1) industry outlooks and the ripple effects of COVID-19, 2) human resources and workforce demands, 3) the membership experience, value proposition, and programming, 4) capital planning and long-range improvement strategies, and 5) financial position, budgeting, and forecasting.

“Even before the pandemic, significant change was underway across the private club landscape,” explained Derek Johnston, a partner in the firm. “The crisis has not only accelerated these nascent changes but also introduced new obstacles and challenges for clubs to overcome. The findings of this report will be a useful reference tool for club leaders as they navigate an uncharted path forward and reset for growth beyond the coronavirus pandemic.”

This latest report is a continuation of the GGA Partners Perspective research initiative, a series of surveys the firm deployed in the spring of 2020 which dive into the attitudes, preferences, and industry outlooks of distinct club industry cohorts. The prior installment, A Member’s Perspective: The Shifting Private Club Landscape, featured findings from a global survey of more than 6,300 private club members on their attitudes toward the club industry during the pandemic and how they expect clubs to respond.

To view the research results and key insights found in A Club Leader’s Perspective: Emerging Trends & Challenges, click on the link below.

Download the report here

 

About GGA Partners

GGA Partners™ is an international consulting firm and trusted advisor to many of the world’s most successful golf courses, 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, Ontario; Phoenix, Arizona; Bluffton, South Carolina; and Dublin, Ireland. For more information, please visit ggapartners.com.

About CMAA

Founded in 1927, the Club Management Association of America (CMAA) is the largest professional association for managers of membership clubs with 6,800 members throughout the US and internationally. Our members contribute to the success of more than 2,500 country, golf, athletic, city, faculty, military, town, and yacht clubs. The objectives of the Association are to promote relationships between club management professionals and other similar professions; to encourage the education and advancement of members; and to provide the resources needed for efficient and successful club operations. Under the covenants of professionalism, education, leadership, and community, CMAA continues to extend its reach as the leader in the club management practice. CMAA is headquartered in Alexandria, VA, with 42 professional chapters and more than 40 student chapters and colonies. Learn more at cmaa.org.

GGA Partners is proud to be a long-standing CMAA Business Partner.

 

Media Contact

Bennett DeLozier
Manager, GGA Partners
602-614-2100
bennett.delozier@ggapartners.com

You’re Now the Leader

In today’s world, where technology, media, and consumer demand intersect in a constant state of disruption, leadership starts with understanding and dealing with change. Henry DeLozier provides perspective on how superintendents can rise to the challenge.

Times have sure changed. Now you’re the one whom young men and women — the ones who aspire to your position one day — look to for guidance and assurance. And it’s in those hopeful faces, full of equal amounts potential and self-doubt, that your biggest challenge and the most important aspect of your job lies.

It’s called leadership. And in today’s world, where technology and media and consumer demand are intersecting in a constant state of disruption, leadership starts with effectively understanding and dealing with change. Among the biggest changes for golf course superintendents in the last decade:

 

  • Agronomic knowledge has become “table stakes.” Knowing the science of growing grass efficiently and effectively has gotten most superintendents into the game. The superintendent is often the best-educated member of the management staff in many facilities. There is no way to overstate the importance and reach of agronomic knowledge, and yet the job is so much more now.
  • Techniques have advanced. Generations of superintendents schooled in the college of hard knocks have found new and innovative solutions to age-old problems. These solutions have resulted in more efficient usage of water, advanced and less damaging pesticide management, and improved playing conditions arising from healthier and denser turf.
  • Environmentalism is of top-tier importance. If everyone was as diligent an environmental steward as golf course superintendents are, we would live in a better, safer world. Trained in the chemical sciences and well informed through professional resources like GCSAA, new generations of superintendents have introduced planet-friendly solutions to fertility and water scarcity challenges.
  • Golfers’ expectations have become more robust and detailed. In their insistence on improved playing conditions, golfers — God love ’em — have continued to push for tournament-quality conditions daily. Their demands, not unlike the quality demands of consumers for any other product or service for which they pay a premium, add stress and push budgets across the country.

If those are some of the major changes currently affecting the superintendent’s world, what might be over the horizon in terms of effective leadership qualities? From our perspective, it’s retaining your best talent. Although job-hopping in many industries has slowed this year as economic uncertainties weigh on employees, the situation could change as the economy and job market continue to improve, especially if employees aren’t feeling supported by their employer. It’s a challenge shared by your peers in organizations across the board.

“Employees crave a rewarding and purposeful workplace atmosphere. Now is the time for organizations to evaluate what is working well for their people, and what’s not resonating,” says Laine Thomas Conway of Alight Solutions, a global consulting firm. “When employees feel their employers are continually improving their offerings and working to enhance the employee experience, they are likely to remain positive and committed to their organizations, and in turn, employers can better retain top talent.”

In other words, says Tom Wilson, the CEO of Allstate Insurance: treat employees like customers. “They don’t pay you in dollars, but in hard work. That has led us to an employee choice model in the new world,” he says. Here are several tactical suggestions to help your team members:

 

  • Education grants for the children of your crew. When the club or golf course funds educational support for the children of its workers, your crew will see you as the employer of choice.
  • Field days for employees’ children. Help families share in the workplace culture and pride with your team. Most children want to see where their parents work, and what cooler place is there than a golf course?
  • Regular feedback sessions. Give employees the same feedback opportunities customers have with retailers and service providers.
  • All-team meetings. Help crew members understand their place in the overall team effort, including other departments and functions at the club and course.

It’s no longer enough to react to changes affecting our careers. To be an effective leader and to encourage your best players to remain part of the team, we must anticipate the next wave of change heading in our direction.

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

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