Executive Search: General Manager/Chief Operating Officer for The Thornhill Club


General Manager/Chief Operating Officer
The Thornhill Club
Thornhill, Ontario

The Club

The Thornhill Club (“the Club” or “Thornhill”) was established as a golf club in 1922. It became an all-season club with the opening of the curling rink in 1963. As one of Canada’s most historic and renowned private golf clubs, the Club is conveniently located near the heart of Toronto and takes pride in offering its members an innovative approach to cuisine and protection of the environment. With golf, tennis, curling, fitness, yoga and more, families make The Thornhill Club their home away from home.

The Club is home to a championship 18-hole golf course, an executive 9-hole course, state-of-the-art Har-Tru clay tennis courts, six sheets of curling ice, an outdoor swimming pool, a new fitness centre, and a vast array of social offerings.

Renowned golf course architect Stanley Thompson designed the 18-hole golf course, which has hosted the PGA Canadian Open. The present course retains the classic golf course design and features of a Thompson course, with strategic bunkering, the illusion of distance, dramatic variations in hole length and fairway width, intricate mounding, subtly breaking greens, and elevated tees. The clubhouse, amid well-landscaped gardens and walkways, is situated to provide a scenic vista overlooking the golf course.

The Position

The General Manager/Chief Operating Officer (“GM/COO”) is the leader of Thornhill’s management team and is responsible for all facets of the Club’s operations. The GM/COO manages and directs the Club’s employees subject to and in accordance with the direction of the Board of Directors (the “Board”).

The GM/COO will be responsible for the following:

Membership Experience:

  • Develop and deliver a consistently outstanding member experience commensurate with specified member expectations and in keeping with a premier Tier 1 private golf and country club.
  • Manage all aspects of the Club’s activities to ensure and maintain the highest standards, quality of activities, and service and levels of member satisfaction as measured by the Club’s annual survey.
  • Oversee the development and successful implementation of all marketing and member relations programs to both attract new members and foster positive relations with existing members and their guests. Ensure all new club members are “met” and properly oriented to the Club.

Operational Excellence:

  • Develop and implement best-in-class and industry-leading operating policies, programs, procedures and methods while directing the work and promoting the development of all department managers.
  • Monitor long and short-term financial objectives and reporting. In consultation with the Board, Finance Committee and Director of Finance and Administration, prepare and execute the financial plan for the Club as follows: (i) develop annual operating, cash, and capital budgets; (ii) monitor monthly budget and other financial information (iii) initiate effective corrective action, as required (iv) approve invoices and other arrangements before inception or payment; and (v) prepare and make timely financial reports to the Board.
  • Monitor and remain current with industry trends, and ensure Thornhill implements improvements as required. Act as a focal point in the development of the Club’s long-range strategic and annual tactical plans consistent with its long-term strategic direction.
  • Ensure compliance with all legal and regulatory matters affecting the Club.


  • Maintain and develop a management philosophy that recognizes people are a key part in the foundation of the Club’s success in delivering a great membership experience and competitive advantage. Actively promote a positive work environment where teamwork is emphasized.
  • Develop and monitor basic human resource policies consistent with the Board’s desire to always treat employees fairly and remain compliant with all laws/regulations.
  • Manage and clearly define direct reports’ goals and objectives. Provide consistent feedback towards continuous improvement, and ensure appropriate personal development occurs, while incorporating succession planning for all key leadership roles.
  • Be visible and approachable to all employees.


  • Provide quality and timely communication with the Club’s President, Board, employees and members. Working collaboratively with the Board, this position will take responsibility/ownership of all aspects of the Club operations and share in the Club’s overall success.

Direct Reports:

Head Golf Professional, Greens Superintendent, Controller, Executive Chef, Food & Beverage Manager, Sports & Activities Manager, Facilities Manager, Marketing & Communications Manager.

Candidate Profile

The GM/COO reports to the Board of Directors acting through the President. Given the leading role this individual will play in achieving the strategic and business objectives of Thornhill, it is essential that the successful candidate possess the following core competencies, experience and attributes:

Leadership Skills:

  • A dynamic leader with the ability to build strong teams by motivating staff and leading by example. Has the ability to provide direction and expectations, performance feedback and recognition that leads to positive outcomes to enhance member experiences through inspiring department managers and employees. Exhibits leadership skills in team building, employee motivation and service training, and is respectful and professional in all interpersonal dealings.

Standard of Excellence:

  • Thorough understanding of and capacity to consistently deliver exceptional standards of service commensurate with a Tier 1 private golf and country club.
  • Ability to set and maintain high standards for all facilities, services and communications.
  • Leads the Club’s commitment to health and safety protocols and processes.


  • Demonstrates integrity and ethical conduct in words and deeds; embodies the characteristics of a successful GM/COO through honesty, straightforwardness, accountability, leadership, and dedication.
  • A self-starter with a results-oriented work style combined with excellent verbal and written communication and interpersonal skills demonstrated with all the Club’s stakeholders.
  • Demonstrates energy and a desire to interact with the membership.
  • A confident, diplomatic and competent professional who is a “doer” and a take-charge person who recognizes the importance of accountability.
  • Strong professional deportment with a clear commitment to member service through an open and transparent member approach while maintaining a professional balance between empathy and process adherence.

Business/Finance Skills:

  • An entrepreneurial style combined with a background in all aspects of business management including business development, finance, information technology, human resources, risk management and performance management.
  • An innovative and strategic thinker with strong business acumen.
  • Experience managing complex capital projects.
  • Direct experience with golf, tennis, curling, fitness and food and beverage businesses.
  • Incorporates succession planning by preparing staff for key leadership roles.


  • A post-secondary degree in business or a related discipline is preferred.

Experience and Accreditation:

  • Previous experience as a senior leader at a private golf and country club or other similar top tier facility, with a passion and understanding of what it means to have a premium country club experience.
  • Experience in the hospitality industry beneficial.
  • Experience reporting to a Board that has adopted a club governance structure and processes to lead the Club and GM/COO to success.
  • A Certified Club Manager designation (CCM) is preferred.

The Thornhill Club is committed to providing accommodations for people with disabilities throughout the recruitment process and, upon request, will work with qualified job applicants to provide suitable accommodation in a manner which considers applicants’ accessibility needs due to disability.


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


IMPORTANT: Interested candidates should submit a resume along with a detailed cover letter which addresses the position qualifications and describes your alignment/experience with the prescribed position by September 16 at 5:00pm EDT.

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

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

Lead Search Consultant: 






Michael Gregory
Managing Director & Partner
GGA Partners™

For more information on The Thornhill Club, visit thethornhillclub.ca