GGA Partners Expands Executive Search and Strategy Consulting Team, Appoints Dee Anna Clarke, Director

Dee Anna Clarke brings fast-growing firm over 20 years’ experience in financial management, strategy and organizational leadership across club and financial service industries..

December 15, 2022 – GGA Partners, an international consulting firm working with some of world’s leading golf courses, private clubs, resorts and residential communities, announced today the appointment of Dee Anna Clarke as Director.

“We are pleased to welcome Dee Anna Clarke to GGA Partners’,” says Partner, Patrick DeLozier. “In addition to her deep knowledge of the private club industry, she brings extensive experience in accounting, forecasting, risk management, human resources, and financial planning. With Clarke’s unique expertise, our Executive Search practice will benefit tremendously.”

Previously, Clarke spent three years as the Chief Business Officer and Vice President of Strategic Projects of SCMG, a leading provider of aquatic related services in the southeast United States. In this role, she provided strategic direction and leadership for the corporate team and enhanced the client service experience. Clarke also held the position of Chief Financial Officer for over six years with Charlotte Country Club, where she found her passion in hospitality. During this time, she also served on the board of the Carolinas Club Foundation, supporting the Carolinas Chapter of Club Management Association of America.

“I am looking forward to supporting the continued growth of GGA Partners. The firm is full of creative and talented individuals that are always looking for new ways to grow, innovate and develop. There is an incredible opportunity to deepen our client relationships through a powerful combination of our unique talent strategies as well as our unparalleled experience and expertise working with private club leaders,” noted Clarke.

“Dee Anna’s financial acumen, private club experience, and problem-solving skills will also deepen the strategy and operations consulting team at GGA.  Her ability to align club vision and strategy with human resource requirements will be of great value to GGA clients” says Partner, Michael Gregory.

About GGA Partners (www.ggapartners.com)
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, Canada; Phoenix, Bluffton/Hilton Head, USA, and Dublin, Ireland.

For further information, contact:
Samar Abdourahman
GGA Partners
t: 416-333-5008
e: samar.abdourahman@ggapartners.com

 

GGA Partners Expands Partnership Team, Appoints Patrick DeLozier as Partner

Accomplished senior executive with over twenty-year track record of leading private clubs towards excellence promoted to Partner

August 18, 2022 – GGA Partners announced today the appointment of Patrick DeLozier as Partner.

Mr. DeLozier has over 21 years of experience in the private club and hospitality industries. Prior to joining GGA in 2019, he was the Chief Operating Officer of The Alotian Club, an exclusive private club owned by Mr. Warren Stephens. As the Chief Operating Officer and General Manager at several of the nation’s most esteemed and prestigious clubs, and the Club Manager at Augusta National Golf Club, home to the world-famous Masters Golf Tournament, Patrick holds a deep understanding of private club operations.

“Patrick is a key member of our leadership team. He has led the development of our Executive Search practice in the United States, which has realized exceptional growth over the past few years,” states Derek Johnston, Partner.

DeLozier states, “One of the key attractions to joining GGA after 21 years in management roles at exclusive clubs such as Augusta National Golf Club, Colonial Country Club and The Alotian Club, was its global presence. No other firm in the private club industry could match the depth and breadth of research and access to talent that GGA offers.”

Mr. DeLozier holds Bachelor of Science in Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management with a specialization in Club Management from the University of South Carolina at Columbia. He continues to support his alma mater, serving on the Dean’s advisory board for the Hospitality, Retail and Sports Management College and as frequent lecturer. He recently earned a Certificate of Strategic Execution from Harvard Business School after completing studies covering resource allocation, job design, performance measurement, risk management and change detection and adaption.

“We are confident that our company will benefit immensely from the skills, knowledge and vast experience Patrick will bring to the Partnership team,” said Partner, Michael Gregory. Adding, “We are excited to have Patrick join as Partner and are excited for him to help us continue to drive our client-centric strategy and ultimately, the success for our firm.”

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, Canada; Phoenix, Bluffton/Hilton Head, USA, and Dublin, Ireland.

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: General Manager for Minneapolis Golf Club

Minneapolis Golf Club logo

GENERAL MANAGER
Minneapolis Golf Club
St. Louis Park, Minnesota

Minneapolis Golf Club photo

 

Our Club

Founded in 1916, Minneapolis Golf Club is a member-owned club located just seven miles west of downtown Minneapolis. The centerpiece of our Club is our Willie Park Jr./Donald Ross golf course, representing one of the finest tracks in the Upper Midwest. Our golf course provides an experience that has drawn the admiration of generations of golfers for its eminent playability, imaginative layout and supreme walkability.

The MGC golf experience also features a picturesque short game practice area, convenient driving range, indoor swing simulator, and perhaps most notably an inclusive, active and family-friendly membership who share a passion for golf and welcome players of all ages and abilities.

Beyond golf, MGC offers members, their guests and families a myriad of social activities along with indoor and alfresco dining options at the Grill and poolside and an Olympic-size pool and patio area that serves as the center of family sun in the summer.

Improvements & Future Plans

A comprehensive multi-million-dollar enhancement to the golf course, completed in 2020,  replaced every blade of grass on our classic layout. The update added modern improvements, including new bent grass tees, fairways and greens, a state-of-the-art irrigation system, improved drainage systems on the greens, thicker rough, larger green complexes and inventive hole locations. This approach carefully balanced the original design integrity of the course with the evolving demands of modern players.

In 2021, the Club embarked on the development of a 5-Year Strategic Plan. This process involved a top-to-bottom examination of our market position, operations, membership structure, utilization, communications efforts and our finances to develop a set of strategic initiatives that serve as our guide to meet the needs of our existing members as well as those who will join us in the future.

Minneapolis Golf Club amenities

Minneapolis Golf Club Overview

  • 394 memberships (Golf: 310, Social: 73, Other [Honorary, Clergy]: 11)
  • Initiation fee (Resident Member Golf: $25,000)
  • Annual Dues (Golf: $9,749)
  • $4.70M Gross volume
  • $2.60M Annual dues
  • $1.50M F&B volume
  • $2.60M Gross payroll
  • 135 Employees in-season; 50 off-season
  • 9 Board members
  • Average age of members is 52

The General Manager Position

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. This includes the preparation of the annual operating and capital budgets as well as  management of operations to attain the desired results.

Coordinates all management functions and works in concert with committee chairs to assist them in the development of proposed policies, programs, events, etcetera.

Serves as 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 should have a strong presence and seek to be highly visible to the membership and staff, setting the tone for consistently treating members with first class of hospitality. It is also the responsibility of the General Manager to communicate this expectation 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.
  • 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.
  • Possess 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.
  • Maintain a high level of visibility to members and staff as the face of the Club.
  • Understands the importance of digital communications, with the ability to 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 or in pursuit of.

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 Wednesday, October 13, 2021.

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

Lead Search Executive


Patrick DeLozier
Partner
GGA Partners, Inc.
patrick.delozier@ggapartners.com
843.707.5210

For more information about the Club, visit www.minneapolisgolfclub.com

 

 

 

GGA Partners Expands Executive Search Practice, Appoints Shelley MacDougall, Director, Leadership Development

Shelley MacDougall brings fast-growing firm over 30 years’ experience in executive coaching, corporate training, and leadership development across private club and hospitality industries.

September 9, 2021 – GGA Partners announced today the appointment of Shelley MacDougall as Director, Leadership Development to lead executive coaching, leadership development and employee training services under the Executive Search practice.

“Our team at GGA Partners are passionate about helping our clients succeed – and we look for leaders who share our vision. At a time when employee engagement is incredibly vital, organizations need heightened understanding of effective retention strategies and training solutions. That’s why this expansion will allow us to better help clients align their business and talent strategies. We are excited to welcome Shelley to GGA Partners’ growing Executive Search practice,” said Managing Director, Patrick DeLozier.

Before pursuing a career in leadership development and coaching in 2006, MacDougall held senior positions with Marriott International and The Glencoe Club, one of North America’s leading private sports and social clubs. Shelley regularly coaches and presents at Club Management Association of America’s (CMAA) World Conference, Canadian Society of Club Managers (CSCM) National and Regional Conferences, as well at numerous affiliated associations, clubs, and organizations.

“Joining the GGA Partners team provides an exciting opportunity for me to bring my experience to an organization that lives its values – professionalism, trust, and confidentiality,” said Shelley. “The talented professionals at GGA Partners are deeply committed to helping clients achieve their goals and I look forward to tailoring our services to meet their unique needs.”

Shelley serves as a CMAA Career Services Coach, and is co-founder and facilitator of The Extraordinary Leader Program – a group coaching program designed specifically for the private club industry. As an accredited coach and member of the International Coach Federation, Shelley coaches and develops CMAA, CSCM and club industry professionals to reach new heights in their careers.

Media Contacts:

Samar Abdourahman
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.

 

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.

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.

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.

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