Whitepaper: Unlocking the Strategic Power of Member Feedback

This GGA Partners whitepaper discusses new approaches to understanding private club members. By re-imagining the potential of member feedback and charting a path towards maximizing feedback in strategic planning, private clubs can increase their attractiveness and competitiveness further.

This whitepaper reviews how Medinah Country Club strengthened its position in an increasingly competitive environment and uncertain economic time. By supplementing its understanding of member satisfaction to identify how to allocate limited resources, the Club was able to significantly impact member satisfaction and identify the greatest areas of opportunity.

Key topics and actions that are highlighted in this whitepaper include:

  • Advanced data analytics, including the Member Feedback Loop
  • Approaching data differently to pivot towards feedback opportunities
  • Unlocking the true potential of member surveys
  • Leveraging Satisfaction Impact Assessments to support club strategy
  • Delivering on the promise of data-informed decision-making

Download the whitepaper

For more information, please contact us.

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.

GGA Partners and USGA to Collaborate on Golf Course Superintendent Executive Search and Placement Services

New offering combines organizations’ expertise to improve golf facilities’ ability to deliver better playing conditions and enhanced golfer experience

BLUFFTON, S.C., and LIBERTY CORNER, N.J. (April 14, 2021) – The United States Golf Association (USGA) will join with GGA Partners (GGA), an international consulting firm, to launch a new service to place top-notch golf course superintendent candidates at facilities across North America.

As part of its suite of advisory services, GGA has long provided executive search services for facility clients. The collaboration will expand the company’s offerings, with the USGA Green Section’s agronomic and maintenance expertise serving as key factors in targeting the unique needs of each golf course and identifying superintendents with matching skills who can help facilities elevate playing conditions, improve course presentation and foster sustainable practices.

“For any golf facility, the ability to hire the right talent is crucial for long-term success, and we believe in creating and maintaining partnerships with facilities,” said Patrick DeLozier, GGA’s managing director of executive search. “The stakes are higher than ever for facilities looking to hire superintendents, and they are looking for candidates with a wide variety of skills.”

Added Craig Johnston, a GGA partner: “The ability to complement our services in strategy, facility governance, finance and operations with the USGA’s agronomic strength will ensure that we can continue to support our clients with the gold standard in best practices, education, innovative products and research.”

The collaboration will allow the USGA to expand its reach and enhance its ability to inform best management practices for golf course maintenance, including resource prioritization. As part of its mission to champion and advance the game, the USGA is helping to ensure a sustainable game in which course managers are empowered to create a positive experience for their golfers.

“GGA’s values and business areas are strategically aligned with our mission,” said Matt Pringle, managing director of the USGA Green Section. “With this new joint service, we can find the best match between the needs of the golf course and the skill set of their next superintendent, while providing ongoing support to deliver outstanding playing conditions and improved golfer satisfaction.”

The joint service will utilize the USGA’s nationwide network of agronomists, whose extensive knowledge of the facilities and superintendents in their regions will be pivotal to the program’s success. They will work closely with DeLozier, who heads up the firm’s executive search practice.

To learn more, contact Patrick DeLozier at patrick.delozier@ggapartners.com or Elliott Dowling at edowling@usga.org.

 

About the USGA

The USGA is a nonprofit organization that celebrates, serves and advances the game of golf. Founded in 1894, we conduct many of golf’s premier professional and amateur championships, including the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open. With The R&A, we govern the sport via global set of playing, equipment, handicapping and amateur status rules. The USGA campus in Liberty Corner, New Jersey, is home to the Associations, Research and Test center, where science and innovation are fueling a healthy and sustainable game for the future. The campus is also home to the USGA Golf Museum, where we honor the game by curating the world’s most comprehensive archive of golf artifacts. To learn more, visit usga.org.

 

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 Opens East Coast Office in South Carolina to Support Continued Growth

Central location in the heart of golf country chosen to provide even better access to clients and applicants

TORONTO, Ontario – GGA Partners Inc., an international consulting firm and trusted advisor to golf courses, private clubs, resorts, and residential communities around the world, announced the opening of an East Coast office in the Bluffton/Hilton Head area, effective immediately.

Patrick DeLozier, Director

Patrick DeLozier, Managing Director of GGA’s Executive Search practice in the U.S. will manage the new office and continue to contribute his exceptional experience and expertise to the firms Strategy and Operations practice.

“Moving to the Hilton Head area will provide easier access to the clients we serve in the eastern United States,” commented DeLozier. “Our new location in the heart of East Coast golf and private club communities will expand our access to the top tier talent our clients demand.”

“Helping our clients source the right executive talent to successfully execute their strategic goals and objectives is a rapidly growing segment of our business” stated Derek Johnston, a partner in the firm. “Having an office in the Bluffton/Hilton Head area along with our western U.S. office in Phoenix, Arizona, increases our ability to remain connected to our clients and executive talent across the country, especially as pandemic restrictions continue to ease and the economy reopens.”

GGA’s approach to executive search is founded on the basis of partnering with our clients to support long-term success and sustainability. Our search professionals leverage the expertise within the firm’s Strategy & Operations, Research & Analytics, Governance, and Branding and Communications practices to ensure our clients have the resources to succeed.

“What separates a good organization from a great organization is leadership,” said DeLozier. “Our goal is to source the best talent for our clients and then support them in achieving success.”

 

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/Hilton Head, South Carolina, and Dublin, Ireland. For more information, please visit ggapartners.com.

 

Media Contact:

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

The Three Keys to Effective Governance

Governance in private clubs can too often resemble what is seen on the evening news: factions, resentment, distrust, skepticism, cynicism. In troubled times, sound governance is essential.

In our continuing Whitepaper Series, Senior Partner Henry DeLozier highlights the three keys to effective governance and proactive steps leaders can take to address and improve it at their club.

 

 

Read our Governance Whitepaper

Four Factors That Impact Innovation

At GGA Partners, we have watched the pandemic create innovative opportunities and innovation in clubs unlike what we have seen in many years.

In our continuing Whitepaper Series, Senior Partner Henry DeLozier reminds managers and club leaders how critically important innovation is, especially during these pandemic times.

 

 

Read our Innovation Whitepaper

In Pursuit of Innovation

GGA Partners Releases Innovation Whitepaper as Part of Thought Leadership Series

‘In Pursuit of Innovation’ aims to provide managers with guidance to unlock creativity

TORONTO, Ontario – GGA Partners, a global consulting firm, has released In Pursuit of Innovation, the fourth in its series of thought leadership whitepapers. This authoritative guide explores how surviving in today’s competitive landscape depends on the ability of clubs and organizations to unlock their creative potential and offers up several guidelines to allow freedom of thought and imagination.

In Pursuit of Innovation highlights the way companies must continuously transform in order to survive and how a constant pursuit of innovation will guard against failure, whether gradual or sudden.  The paper clarifies exactly what constitutes innovation, where it comes from, and how club leaders can practice innovative thinking to unlock a culture of creativity.

“Our experience with thousands of private clubs over nearly three decades shows us that without innovation clubs become stale, membership falls until it eventually flatlines, competitive advantages diminish, members become dissatisfied, and talented staff look elsewhere,” explained GGA Partner Henry DeLozier, one of several authors of the piece.  “Innovation can come from anywhere inside an organization, and we think it should be encouraged from all corners, from the folks raking bunkers to the person answering phones to the accountant balancing the books.”

Innovation happens at the intersection of problems, opportunities, and fervent minds but must be deliberately sought, practiced, and encouraged at all levels. “It’s normal in any business to want to maintain the status quo. It’s comfortable, it’s safe, and it’s easier than making changes,” said DeLozier. “In reality, the status quo only works for so long. If you’re going to grow, you must innovate.”

In Pursuit of Innovation illuminates four common roadblocks to an innovative culture and identifies the steps necessary to unlock a culture of creativity.

In addition to innovation, GGA Partners has published new whitepapers on strategic planning, branding, and governance which are accessible via the firm’s website.

Click here to download the In Pursuit of Innovation whitepaper

 

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. For more information, please visit ggapartners.com.

Media Contact:

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

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.

New Partnership Promises to Deliver Vibrant Future for England Club Managers

CMAE England Engages GGA Partners to Develop Strategic Plan

WARWICKSHIRE, England (October 27, 2020) – CMAE England has announced the engagement of GGA Partners™, the international consulting firm working with many of the world’s most successful private clubs, resorts, golf courses and residential communities, to facilitate the development of a five-year strategic plan for the association.

Established in 1992 as North America’s KPMG Golf Industry Practice, the independent firm has provided industry-leading advisory services to more than 3,000 clients worldwide. GGA has been recognised as “Strategic Planning Firm of the Year” by Boardroom Magazine and brings an unmatched financial, marketing, and operational focus to each of its strategic assignments. This extensive expertise was critical for CMAE England in their choice of strategic planning partner.

“CMAE England is founded on a dedication to club management excellence, education, knowledge-sharing, supporting career progression and on our powerful network of club professionals,” explained Chairman of CMAE England, Tristan Hall. “The board believes it is time to reaffirm these values, and the strategy employed, to deliver a vibrant and sustainable future for the Association.”

“In securing the services of GGA Partners, we have retained the very best strategic advisory team in the industry to guide and inform this critical process,” said Hall.

Distinguished in its ability to build enduring value, GGA’s work will continue beyond the development of the strategic plan to ensure its strategy drives significant improvement. As a result, CMAE is pleased to announce that GGA Partners™ has made a multi-year commitment to support the association as a Corporate Partner.

Rob Hill, Managing Partner of GGA’s EMEA Office, said, “GGA and CMAE are passionate about the value of informed decision-making and strategic planning. We appreciate the privilege of being asked to serve CMAE England in shaping its future and to demonstrate our support for the professional development of club leaders throughout England”.

GGA Partners™ has offices in Toronto, Canada; Phoenix, USA, and Dublin, Ireland. For further information about GGA Partners™ visit: ggapartners.com.

 

About CMAE England Region

The Club Management Association of Europe (CMAE) England Region is a non-profit making professional association with members involved in the management of sports clubs (golf, tennis, sailing, rowing, rugby, football, cricket), health & fitness clubs, leisure, city and dining clubs located throughout England. The CMAE provides a forum for the encouragement, development and recognition of education and professionalism in Club Management. For more information, please visit cmae-england.uk.

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. For more information, please visit ggapartners.com.

 

Media Contacts:

Bennett DeLozier
GGA Partners
+353 44 33 603
bennett.delozier@ggapartners.com

Debbie Goddard
CMAE England Region
+44 (0)24 7669 2359
info@cmae-england.uk

Leveraging Differences in the Boardroom

GGA Partners Releases New Whitepaper on Private Club Governance as Part of Thought Leadership Series

‘Leveraging Differences in the Boardroom’ Now Available for Download

TORONTO, Ontario – International consulting firm GGA Partners has released Leveraging Differences in the Boardroom, the third in its new series of thought leadership whitepapers. This authoritative guide explores the benefits of clubs with diverse boards and suggests several steps to take when recruiting with diversity in mind.

Leveraging Differences in the Boardroom evaluates the consequences of unintentionally insular board composition and challenges the idea of “sameness” in the boardroom, which limits the ability of a board to effectively perform its duties and threatens a club’s health and longevity. The paper illustrates how multiple perspectives contribute to greater success in governance and argues for adjusting the profile of a club’s leadership to better serve members and prospects.

“We often see board members with similar professional, cultural, and ideological backgrounds and perspectives,” explained GGA Partner Henry DeLozier, one of several authors of the piece. “Boards that are neither representative of the membership nor reflective of their surrounding community risk losing the opportunity both to serve their current members and to attract new members.”

In addition, the whitepaper encourages that clubs intent on increasing diversity among their board take a holistic, multi-dimensional approach to its creation. “Forward-thinking boards understand that it is the breadth of perspective, not the mere inclusion of various diverse traits, that benefits the organization,” said DeLozier. “In addition to social diversity, professional and experiential diversity are also important in increasing the range of perspectives represented on the board.”

Board diversification is likely to be met with resistance from the status quo, which the paper aims to help club leaders overcome by providing tactics for building a diverse board, developing new board member criteria, and making a commitment to diversity.

In addition to governance, GGA Partners recently published new whitepapers on strategic planning and branding. The firm has announced that another in the series focused on innovation will be published through the third quarter of 2020.

Click here to download the whitepaper

 

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. For more information, please visit ggapartners.com.

Media Contact:

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

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