BoardRoom magazine January/February 2022

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C E L E B R A T I N G 26 Y E A R S O F E D U C A T I N G T H E P R I V A T E C L U B I N D U S T R Y ISSUE 299



Harvey P. Stein

Addison Reserve Country Club 10 | PUBLISHER’S PERSPECTIVE





116 | APCD



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DAVE WHITE Dave White is the editor of BoardRoom magazine. If you have comments on this article or suggestions for other topics, please send Dave an email to:


Kudos to President Harvey P. Stein It’s recognition time again and a tip of the hat this year goes to Harvey P. Stein of Addison Reserve Country Club in Delray Beach, FL, who has been selected as BoardRoom Distinguished Private Club President for 2021. BoardRoom magazine, for the 14th consecutive year, is honoring 22 Private Club Presidents of the Year – 2021 for practicing what they preach – leadership for the betterment of their clubs. These are board presidents or chairs who have served with distinction, as the volunteer leaders of their club. It’s been a year of achievement for President Stein, even in the face of the length of this COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re honored to have Harvey P. Stein as our Distinguished President,” said BoardRoom’s CEO and Publisher, John Fornaro. “Board members are shareholders (owners) of the club and are also the customers. Often fraught with conflicts of interest, a private club can be challenging to manage.” So, what’s the secret ingredient that’s made Addison Reserve such a success? “From my vantage point, it’s a simple answer,” said Stein. “It is the natural and overriding collaboration between the governance of our community and our executive management team, headed by CEO Michael McCarthy.” It’s been an exceptional couple of years for the Stein-McCarthy duo, but the collaboration has worked for the betterment of the club. “Our board and Michael are aligned and work in unison. We are guided by a common goal: to work in the best interest of our members – both current and future,” Stein added. “President Stein has guided us through this pandemic and navigated water never tread before,” said McCarthy in praising Stein’s leadership. As the Distinguished President, Harvey P. Stein is featured in our cover story this issue. Stories on the remaining 21 top presidents will appear in subsequent issues throughout the year. n n n

A new year and new beginnings at BoardRoom magazine, as we focus on two major series of articles for our readers. BoardRoom Distinguished Clubs, headed by CEO John 4


Fornaro and President Keith Jarrett, hold the distinction of being the only merit-based program for private clubs. This esteemed designation is determined by an impartial formulaic assessment and an onsite tour and interviews, rather than a mere peer-based vote of industry insiders. These Distinguished Clubs not only excel at the level of their member service/experience, but they are also experts with their governance, the intangible qualities of a club, the quality of their products and the care and replacement of their facilities. While we can learn from our peer clubs and industry leaders, this series of articles, written by veteran club manager Ron Banaszak, focuses on the great ideas from BoardRoom’s Distinguished Clubs and their leaders. Distinguished Clubs will be featured in each BoardRoom issue this year and for starters we have Addison Reserve Country Club, Delray Beach, FL, Grosse Pointe Yacht Club, Grosse Pointe, MI and the renowned Detroit Athletic Club in Detroit, MI. Banaszak, currently general manager of thehouse, Newport Beach, CA, has more than 25 years’ experience as a private club general manager and 35 years’ experience in the hospitality industry. These are features I’m sure you’ll enjoy! n n n

Governance is also a major issue for private clubs and it’s something some clubs do better than others, especially clubs that espouse collaborative governance. Governance sometimes is not easy, especially in 501(c)(7) clubs but sound governance remains the key to a successful private club. So, this issue we launch a new series, Excellence in Governance, written by Henry DeLozier, partner with GGA Partners, a premier industry consulting firm. Henry, one of the industry’s top educators, possesses an unparalled breadth of knowledge about club governance. This allows for a continuation of our long working relationship with Henry, and it’s a must read for anyone connected with private clubs. BR



John G. Fornaro

John G. Fornaro



Dave White

Keith Jarrett

Assoc. Editor/VP Creative

Chief Analyst

Heather Arias de Cordoba

Frank Gore

Copy Editor

Chief Information Officer

Chryssoula Filippakopoulos

Quality isn’t Expensive It’s Priceless!

Jeff Briggs

Innovative Ideas Editor

Executive Director

Jean Oelrich

Bill Thomas

APCD Executive Director

Executive Assistant/ Director of Support

Bill Thomas

Editorial & Marketing Director

Joshua Nuzzi

Dee Kaplan

Contact Information

Business Development (949) 376-8889

Joshua Nuzzi

Accounting/Subscriptions Ronni Dana

Contact Information (949) 376-8889

Featured Columnists Rick Coyne John G. Fornaro Bonnie J. Knutson Nancy M. Levenburg

Antonina McAvoy Jerry McCoy Gregg Patterson Kevin F. Reilly

Bill Schwartz Dave White Annette Whittley

Contributing Writers Ronald Banaszak Nancy Berkley Bill Boothe Jarrett Chirico Ronald F. Cichy Frank Cordeiro Trevor Coughlan Michael Crandal, CNG Henry DeLozier Dave Doherty

Ed Doyle Jimmy Dunne John R. Embree Mitch Fenton Steve Graves Philip J. Harvey Julie Hawbaker Jason Herring Larry Hirsh Jeremy Hoch

MiRan Kim Brian Kroh Lynne LaFond DeLuca Marian McGill Scott McMartin Steve Mona Jeff Morgan Pamela Radcliff Whitney Reid Pennell Duncan Reno

Matthew Rose Robert Sereci Robyn Stowell Gordon Welch Jim West

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BoardRoom magazine is published by APCD Inc. 1100 S. Coast Hwy. #311 Laguna Beach, California 92691 The BoardRoom magazine (USPS 022516, ISSN 15537684) is a bi-monthly trade publication. Issue 299 Periodical postage paid at Laguna Beach, Calif. and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to THE BOARDROOM magazine, P.O. Box 9455, Laguna Beach, Calif. 92652. Reach The BoardRoom magazine at (949) 376-8889 ext. 1 or email or or visit the website at














A private club’s success is tied directly to the quality of the club’s board of directors. During these challenging times, it’s more important than ever to have an informed, solid, dedicated and focused board. A robust and cohesive board of directors can give a private club the drive, the thrust, the impetus – call it what you wish –to achieve its goal, its vision and mission.

As clubs have battled COVID-19 restrictions for the better part of two years, suppliers were likewise engaged increasingly in labor issues. In turn, lack of warehouse space, reduced inventory practices and limited available store housed goods have created a supply chain shortage. But with research you can foresee the likely impact and prepare.

One of my favorite statements on quality comes from Philip Crosby: “Do it right the first time.” Crosby contended that it was a mistake to assume that “there will always be some level of defectives.” Instead focus on the prevention of mistakes. And whether it’s at work, at home, or on the golf course, we all know that the fewer the mistakes, the higher the productivity and the better the results.










You showed true grit surviving the pandemic shutdown phase, but now you’re dealing with the side effects. Shutting down the economy resulted in a labor shortage, supply chain problems and what appears to be runaway inflation. Good news? People are eating out again. Bad news? There’s nobody to serve them, half the menu items are out of stock and the rest have gone up in price.

In my role as a trainer and consultant for Kopplin Kuebler & Wallace, I have visited over 45 private clubs in the past two years. They range in size, member demographic, and food and beverage offerings; however, one thing has remained true every visit: The more I learn, the less I realize I know.

It seems everyone has a favorite day of the year. A holiday, an anniversary, or a birthday. I am like a lot of folks in that I love the festivities and joy of the Christmas or Hanukkah season. But I also have another favorite day – June 9. Why June 9? Well, it is National Donald Duck Day. So you can imagine how happy I was to learn that Donald is honored with his own national day and got his own star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame in 2004.









I recently wrote an article about good management practices and included a quote that said: “What the club is, where it is going and what are the expectations on how best to get there?” As managers, sometimes we make assumptions that we are doing what is expected. Unfortunately, many times these assumptions aren’t valid. That also includes the concept of servant leaders.

Since COVID-19 pushed organizations to adopt work-from-home policies, internet usage soared. While clubs may not allow for remote work in some areas, COVID-19 did require clubs to use the internet more. From remote dealings with members to online board and committee meetings to having back-of-the-house staff work from home. More people online also means a higher likelihood of cyberattacks.


Members ponder negatives every day and are evaluating the general manager at home over dinner, in the locker room with their buddies, on the 17th fairway and in the card room at 11 p.m. But, if the waitlist is long, the financials are good, the turnover is low, the dining room is booming, and the buzz is on, these manager “maybes” are interesting asides that should cause no one alarm.

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Inventory Receiving Requisitions Recipes Waste Tracking

Inventory Requisitions Pick Lists Recipes Reports

Inventory Requisitions Transfers Receiving Waste Tracking

• Cloud-based hosted system provides full access from anywhere while eliminating the need for IT to maintain your servers • Monitor and react to price fluctuations with preselected reports that are automatically emailed to you

• Be notified when prices have impacted your recipe margins • Know exactly how your inventory items are managed and where the opportunities are to reduce spend

“Since we implemented FOOD-TRAK at Cherokee Town & Country Club, the information needed to better manage our food costs has been more accessible not only to the Purchasing Agent but to the Business office. Cherokee has always had an accurate perpetual inventory system of our vast wine, liquor and food, but FOOD-TRAK has made the information more accessible to the Business office and has aided Cherokee in its processes for forecasting. We have more accurate pricing for inventories, transfers, recipe and event costing.” — Michael Wheeler, CCM, COO, Cherokee Town & Country Club

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EXCELLENCE IN CLUB GOVERNANCE . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42-46

E XE CUTI V E COMMI TTE E . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64

CMAA’s 2022 World Conference and Club Business Expo

By Henry DeLozier

By Brian Kroh and Jeff Morgan

TECHNOLOGY PERSPECTIVE . . . . . . . . . 66

A Quick Study of Your Club Management Software

TE NNI S COMMI TTE E . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88

DISTINGUISHED CLUB SHOWCASE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74-78

E XE CUTI V E COMMI TTE E . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102

USPTA Adds Certification By John R. Embree

By Bill Boothe

The Pandemic Effect

Addison Reserve Country Club Detroit Athletic Club Grosse Point Yacht Club

By Jim West

By Ronald Banaszak

CUL I NA RY & CA TE RI NG . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108

TECHNOLOGY SHOWCASE . . . . . . . . 80-81

By Lynne LaFond DeLuca

Be ‘The Club’ for Your Members

Cobalt Software

E XE CUTI V E COMMI TTE E . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116

HOSPITALITY SHOWCASE . . . . . . . . 82-83

Are You a Champion in The Boardroom?

Heritage Golf Group

By Gordon Welch

By Scott McMartin DESIGN SHOWCASE . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84-85

Syzygy Global

By Jason Herring and Julie Hawbaker LAW & LEGISLATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98

Don’t Lose Sight of the Fundamentals By Robyn Stowell

NANCY’S CORNER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106

Is Your Director of Golf a Servant Leader? By Nancy Berkley

ON THE FRONTLINES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114

COMMITTEES EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE . . . . . . . . . . . . 28

GOLF COMMITTEE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52

HR COMMITTEE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92

By Ronald F. Cichy and MiRan Kim

By Matthew Rose

By Pamela Radcliff

Just the Time to Be Ideally Effective

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE . . . . . . . . . . . . 30

Uh-oh … It’s Annual Performance Review Time By Michael Crandal, CNG

MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE . . . . . . . . . 104

By Steve Mona

By Robert Sereci

By Steve Graves

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE . . . . . . . . . . . . 36

TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE . . . . . . . . . . 68

By Whitney Reid Pennell

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE . . . . . . . . . . . . 38

Cultivating Club Culture To Attract and Keep Great Employees By Mike Phelps

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE . . . . . . . . . . . . 40

Policing Members Versus Serving

By Dave White, editor

By Mitch Fenton

GOVERNANCE COMMITTEE . . . . . . . . . . 62

By Frank Cordeiro

Leadership: A Perspective 41 Years in The Four Biggest Board the Making Misconceptions

Time for Retrospective Introspection

Addison Reserve Country Club’s Harvey P. Stein Selected as BoardRoom’s Distinguished Club President for 2021

GOVERNANCE COMMITTEE . . . . . . . . . . 60

The State of Stolen Cars Clubs Are an Attraction for Thieves

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE . . . . . . . . . . . . 34

By Larry Hirsh

COVER STORY . . . . . . . . . . . 20-26

By Dave Doherty

HOUSE COMMITTEE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94

INSURANCE COMMITTEE . . . . . . . . . . . . 96

ON THE FRONTLINES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115

By Marian McGill

There Is Always an Answer

Sustaining Thoughtful Strategy and Continuity For Transient Governance with Your Membership’s Voice

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE . . . . . . . . . . . . 32

From Traditional to Family-Friendly Club

GREEN COMMITTEE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54

Top Four Staffing Challenges And How to Fix Them

Finding Your Club’s Niche Build an Identity

Bocce’s Impact on Country Clubs By Jimmy Dunne

Resurgence in Walking Provides an Opportunity for Caddying

By Duncan Reno

F&B COMMITTEE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50

Fortify Your F&B Marketing By Ed Doyle

Putting Technology to Work How Tech Is Helping Some Clubs Through the Labor Shortage By Trevor Coughlan

The Club Business The Social Distancing Effect By Philip J. Harvey

The Millennials and Generation Z Are Coming!

FEATURE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48-49

TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE . . . . . . . . . . 70

Making Data-Driven Decisions By Jeremy Hoch

RACQUET COMMITTEE . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90

Leaders Eat Last

By Jarrett Chirico

BoardRoom magazine Excellence in Achievement Awards



John G. Fornaro is the publisher/CEO of BoardRoom magazine, co-founder/CEO of Distinguished Clubs and the CEO of the Association of Private Club Directors (APCD). If you have comments on this article or suggestions for other topics, please contact John Fornaro at (949) 376-8889 or via email:

Tips On How to Get an Outstanding Board! Make no mistake, a private club’s success is tied directly to the quality of the club’s board of directors. During these challenging times, especially when COVID19 has affected private clubs, it’s more important than ever to have an informed, solid, dedicated and focused board. There’s no better time for your club to look seriously at the composition and role of your board of directors and strengthen the board as much as possible. A robust and cohesive board of directors can give a private club the drive, the thrust, the impetus – call it what you wish –to achieve its goal, its vision and mission.

is a vast difference between servant leadership (putting the needs of others ahead of one’s own) and having the club conform to one’s own preferences,” he added. So, what are the characteristics of an outstanding board? “An outstanding board has clear direction, communicates effectively, are good stewards of the club and regularly evaluates its performance,” said Tom Wallace, partner with Kopplin Kuebler & Wallace. “The board’s demographics are reflective of the community and the membership. Most effective boards are made up of board members with family members who utilize all parts of the club.”

A more informed volunteer board establishes the club’s policy with commitment. It gives management the ways and means to enact the policies, encouraging transparency in its dealings, with each fully aware of their roles and responsibilities. Ultimately there must be a healthy trust relationship and when this happens, general managers flourish, boards flourish, a club’s culture flourishes, meaning continued success for the private club. In many respects, it all starts with the “stewardship”, robust and focused decision making that provides leadership and stewardship for the club now and in the future. Before a director is voted into office, this stewardship process starts, mainly during the nominating prospective board members. There’s a need to have a well-defined and developed process that ensures the ‘best’ candidates with the proper motives and skill sets are on the ballot for your directors’ positions…more likely, we can call it a ‘qualified ballot.’ Members can then select new directors from the best of their peers to represent them, usually for the following three years. Still, it’s something private clubs must work on. Why? “Because outstanding boards are very rare,” expressed Henry DeLozier, partner with GGA Partners, an industry consulting firm. “Many private club board members believe themselves to be representatives of certain constituencies within the club rather than being servant leaders of the entire club. There 10


Club Benchmarking’s Director of Governance Steve Mona says that “based on 35 years as a CEO reporting to boards and having served on non-profit boards for that same period, I believe there are seven actions that are the standard operating procedure for highly effective boards: 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7)

Define the leadership roles Utilize objective data Establish key performance indicators Communicate according to plan Establish accountability Create a culture of continuous learning, and Plan for succession.

In Wallace’s opinion, “Board members need a clear understanding of where they provide input and what they oversee. It’s important that boards stay strategic and not become too SEE PUBLISHER’S PERSPECTIVE | 122

RICK COYNE Rick Coyne is president of ClubInsights and co-founder of the Professional Club Marketing Association. He can be reached via email:


Crisis Creates Trends

Labor and Supply Chain Issues A crisis like COVID-19 is difficult to see coming. Fortunately, the trends crises generate are often obvious and with a little research, you can foresee their likely impact and prepare. As clubs have battled COVID-19 restrictions for the better part of two years, suppliers were likewise engaged increasingly in labor issues exacerbating already stringent government regulations on shippers. In turn, lack of warehouse space, reduced inventory practices and limited available store housed goods have created a supply chain shortage. In a conversation with Ryan McAndrew, a senior manager at RSM, we discussed the many cause-and-effect issues that would likely create challenges for clubs and the hospitality industry in general. Clearly, at the time of this writing, labor shortages, fuel costs and inflation were already manifesting into serious concerns. As in all global issues, larger, wealthier companies have greater leverage to solve issues over smaller businesses. However, in both cases, the result will be higher consumer prices. Let’s look at some of the things you can expect … • Higher fuel costs will affect shipping costs, driving the price of goods higher. They will also create higher maintenance costs in your facilities. • Labor has been increasingly affected. As of this writing, 1.7 million hospitality jobs are open and waiting to be filled, which is pacing nearly a million more openings than before the pandemic. Overseas workers are still restricted from entering the US. Even if they could enter, there are not enough of them to backfill for those workers that have been lost. Many workers used government subsidies to underwrite new opportunities for self-employment and independence. • According to Bloomberg, the current containers sitting in ships offshore, if set end to end, could stretch around the earth one and a half times. Working 24/7 in the California ports will not solve the problem as regulations limit the trucks that can pick up from the ports. This suggests that sourcing goods as locally and regionally as possible might create greater opportunity. • At times during the pandemic, realtors outnumbered available homes for sale. While this is great for 12


some markets and types of clubs, real estate developments rely to some degree on a normal inventory and turnover for capital replenishment. There is more and the list of what might lie ahead is extensive. What can clubs do to reduce the impact as much as possible? McAndrew and I spent some time on this critical look ahead. Labor – In several industry surveys, it is apparent that many workers left the industry feeling there was something better in their future. They cited lack of opportunity, feeling underappreciated, being underpaid and working long hours. Clubs may need to fully re-engineer their staffing process, payroll, responsibilities and advancement opportunities. In the interim, remaining competitive will likely translate into significant payroll increases for many club staff. To build an attractive employee brand, clubs must evolve into an environment creating flexibility, support, cross-training and engagement. Money is important but feeling needed and appreciated is a value all its own. Rising costs – In addition to labor costs, rising fuel costs will create additional internal expenses that will likely be passed along to members in the form of dues. More importantly, the costs of food and other goods will also increase. We have already seen meat and other commodities rise dramatically and they are predicted to rise even further. In response, rather major dues increases are becoming the norm. Shortages – This is coming and already manifesting in higher prices. Shortages will also have the added challenge of member frustrations and the potential stress on staff. Sourcing locally, driving as much produce and food as possible from nearby farms and suppliers will ease some of this issue, but others will have the same approach requiring having multiple sources of similar goods. Government regulation – It would be naïve to assume that government restrictions will not continue around COVID-19, energy or supply chain issues. The added concern may be the potential for legislative changes in taxation and deductibility. As of this writing, no known issues were pending in this area, but the spending bills will need to be funded and private clubs may become a potential target. Solutions – As the dilemma continues to unfold, we may see this get worse before it gets better. Preservation of the newfound interest in membership should be the number one objective. Here is a suggested list of opportunities to mitigate risks. 1. Communicate with your members. Educate. Even though they see the same reports, have the same issues with their businesses and generally understand cause and effect, to them, the club is different. SEE CASE STUDY | 120



Nancy Levenburg, Ph.D., is a recently retired professor of management in the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, MI. She has assisted over 200 organizations with strategic planning, marketing strategy, and improving operations. Levenburg is the president of Edgewater Consulting, and she is a member of Spring Lake Country Club in Spring Lake, MI. For more information, contact her at: or (616) 821-5678.

Do It Right … The First Time One of my favorite statements on quality is also one of the simplest. It comes from Philip Crosby: “Do it right the first time.” (Philip Crosby is not to be confused with songsters David Crosby of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young fame, or Bing Crosby.) Philip Crosby, along with Walter Shewhart, W. Edwards Deming, Kaoru Ishikawa, and Genichi Taguchi, is regarded as one of the “quality gurus” in operations management who helped to shape current thinking about quality management and practices. Crosby contended that it was a mistake to assume that “there will always be some level of defectives.” Instead, the focus should be on the prevention of mistakes. And whether it’s at work, at home, or on the golf course, we all know that the fewer the mistakes, the higher the productivity and the better the results. So, it was rather puzzling to me when, while dining at a private club the other evening, the waitperson greeted us at our table with, “What can I get you to drink? Today’s only my second day on the job.” While I recognize that this particular club is to be congratulated for being able to hire any new employee during our current labor shortage, I couldn’t help but wonder why she wanted us to know that she was a brandnew employee. Was this her way of “preparing” us in advance for possible mistakes on her part? If so, she must have anticipated that she would be making mistakes. And if this was the case, was she comfortable with the amount of training she’d received? Or should she have shadowed a more seasoned (pardon the pun) server, or at least been coached by the front-of-house manager on only her second day of employment? She brought our drinks, but, alas, with neither cocktail napkins nor coasters to absorb condensation. She set our ice-filled glasses directly on the table. So, we asked if we could 14


please have cocktail napkins, necessitating her return trip to the bar to retrieve napkins. Mistake number one. We ordered our dinners … a half-rack of barbecued ribs for me and an 8-ounce steak for my friend. Both of our meals came with French fries. We asked our server for ketchup, necessitating a return trip by our server to the kitchen to retrieve ketchup. Mistake number two. (Should she have anticipated a need for ketchup and brought it when she served our meal?) We’d also both ordered green beans as a substitute for corn on the cob (which we both felt was more of an “eat at home” food than restaurant food). After tasting a forkful, my friend commented, “Well … they’re almost done.” Mistake number three. As the evening progressed, we re-ordered our drinks. And guess what? They were once again served with neither cocktail napkins nor coasters, necessitating yet another return trip by our server to the bar area. Mistake number four. Why am I making such a big deal about cocktail napkins, ketchup and green beans? Because of the amount of time wasted because the server had to retrace her steps to round up forgotten items and have the kitchen re-cook beans that were too raw. While you might argue that it likely took her only five minutes to fix these mistakes, we likely weren’t the only table that was assigned to her. In fact, in fine dining restaurants (which country clubs like to consider themselves) where there is a high expectation of personal service, the ideal ratio of tables per server is often four or five. So, if we conservatively assume our server had three other tables to attend to in addition to ours – and those tables had similar experiences – it represents 20 minutes (or more) of wasted time. This is time that the server could have devoted to refilling water glasses, clearing dishes, helping another server bus tables, restocking server stations, and so on. In other words, being productive. It is said that great servers know how to never waste a movement, and they never go from one place to another empty-handed. Crosby is also famous for his quality-is-free concept (in fact, it was the title of his book, “Quality Is Free,” first published in 1980). According to him, the costs associated with poor quality (e.g., mistakes, defectives) are so great that rather than viewing quality efforts as costs, organizations should view them as a way to reduce costs. This is because improvements that are generated by quality efforts will more than pay for themselves. And the same applies to training. BR



Bill Schwartz is the founder and CEO of System Concepts, Inc. (SCI). Based in Scottsdale, AZ, SCI specializes in F&B procurement and inventory management and is the developer of the FOOD-TRAK Food and Beverage Management System. Bill can be reached at (480) 951-8011 or

The New F&B Triple Threat

Inflation, Staffing and Supply Shortages You showed true grit surviving the pandemic shutdown phase, but now you have to deal with its side effects. Shutting down the economy resulted in a labor shortage, supply chain problems and what appears to be runaway inflation. The good news is people are eating out again, but the bad news is there’s nobody to serve them, half the items on the menu are out of stock and the rest have gone up in price. So how do you address these new threats? Automation is the answer, providing a clear path you can follow to maintain margins, introduce flexibility in the menu and increase productivity, thereby requiring less staff to do the same work you did at full strength before the pandemic. ADDRESSING THE LABOR SHORTAGE Companies always strive to improve efficiency. Most do this by first replacing manual functions and processes with automation. Factories added robots. Warehouses added automated forklifts. Food service operators installed kiosks, webbased reservations and take-out systems. Clubs saved significant labor hours with tee time systems. These systems reduced the need for as many employees or perhaps freed up existing employees to do other tasks. In short, automation is the path to higher labor productivity with the same or fewer labor hours. F&B management systems that combine mobility options, procurement automation, integration with distributors, POS integration, recipe costing and menu analysis have the potential to significantly reduce labor hours required. For example, our clients claim that using a mobile scanner for inventory cuts inventory time by 60 percent or more and produces instant inventory extension reports, saving time for both culinary and accounting staff. Using the same scanner to receive goods based on purchase orders generated by the procurement side of the system not only reduces receiving time but also allows instant reconciliation of purchase orders to invoices and quoted pricing – addressing both the labor and the inflation issues. Integrating the invoices into the accounting system saves accounting staff time. No more coding invoices and entering them into the A/P system. Recipes are costed automatically in real time, eliminating the time it would take the chef to do that work for both the menu and catering events. Reorder to par reports that can automatically result in purchase orders using the best bid pricing save significant time on the procurement side and play into the mo16


bile reconciliation and A/P integration processes. Each of these approaches reduces labor hours, freeing up staff to perform other duties as well, perhaps even filling multiple positions. ADDRESSING INFLATION AND SUPPLY CHAIN ISSUES Inflation and supply issues are felt on the menu. Costs of ingredients escalate, making some menu items unprofitable. Things get further complicated by the lack of supply of some ingredients, which requires removing menu items (at least temporarily) or changing existing recipes to use something else. Automation helps with both conditions. With inflation, real-time recipe cost calculation makes it possible to alert management when recipe costs exceed acceptable margins for menu items. These “red flag” reports provide time for the decision-making process to take place before much damage to margins is done. Chefs can experiment with portion sizes, adjust garnish or raise menu prices for affected items. Supply issues might require more drastic measures. Having multiple sources for supplies is key, but in the event the item is unavailable from any source, changes to the printed menu may need to be made. It is never advisable to leave items that are unavailable on menus. This seems to be happening more frequently on wine menus than for typical food items. It is frustrating for guests to order something only to be told it is unavailable. They don’t care what the reason is. Once again, current recipe costs and the ability to construct and cost new items on the fly using real-time information can be extremely helpful in avoiding the downside of supply chain chaos. Combining the knowledge of supply issues with menu analysis and menu engineering reports can provide insight into what changes can be made on the menu without significant guest impact. IS THIS THE RIGHT TIME TO INVEST IN AUTOMATION? Systems that can perform these functions need to be implemented by seasoned experts and include comprehensive staff transition and system training. Assuming you have funds available for this type of investment, now seems like the perfect time. Damage control has been the theme for this pandemic and certainly for its aftermath. It is the best approach for successfully navigating this triple threat. And if it can help get you through this, imagine how implementing automation now helps the long-term outlook – which based on the unimaginable situation caused by the pandemic, could be just about anything. BR



Annette Whittley is a consultant and search executive for Kopplin Kuebler & Wallace and can be reached at or (561) 827-1945.

Does Good Service Have a Side? A Modern Approach to Fine Dining In my role as a trainer and consultant for Kopplin Kuebler & Wallace, I have visited over 45 private clubs in the past two years. They range in size, member demographic, and food and beverage offerings; however, one thing has remained true every visit: The more I learn, the less I realize I know. I am honored to have a role in which I am exposed to different types and styles of service, and in this role, I get to help clubs create standards, develop systems and elevate the delivery of hospitality to their membership. While I am on the property, one of the first things I tell the team is, “leave your ego at the door.” What we want to build is consistent delivery of service for your membership in a way that reflects the culture and atmosphere of your club. Consistency is most important, and consistency is most difficult. We work on building that specifically for your club’s needs. There are, however, several moments in a sequence of service that I stand firm on. It is impossible to have a positive experience that does not start with a warm welcome and end with a genuine thank you and farewell. This is hard to do in busy restaurants without a designated host. I also strongly believe that the first interaction in a meal experience (when seated) should be from the server, and that means your server, not a busser pouring water, not a server assistant dropping bread, and not another server who you will not see again the rest of the meal. Your server. I would happily debate the many and far-reaching reasons for this, and how you can work as a team to make this happen 98 percent of the time. But not today. Today, I wish to debate the notion that good service has a “side.” Very often when I ask a team what side they should serve food and/or beverage from in a la carte meal experiences, a well-intentioned F&B director or general manager will proudly tell me, “We always serve from the right.” Sometimes, the response is from the left … sometimes I hear serve right and lift from the left. Or any combination of the above. One thing I can say with certainty is that most people have a firm opinion that their opinion is the right opinion. I can confirm that you are all right, and you are all wrong. The 18


only thing that matters is that everyone on your team does it the same way, except when you pick a side, they cannot, it is impossible. What I want to challenge today is why do we have to pick a side? How and when did good service get designated a side? What does this add to the meal experience? Does anyone even notice? Have any of us ever been thanked by a member for being served from the right for a whole meal? In my professional experience, it adds nothing, no one notices, and it does not matter. Yes, I said it. Great service has no side. The fact is, in most of our dining rooms you cannot pick a side that will consistently work for every table. Our restaurants have booths, corner tables, tables next to pillars, sofas, etc. And yet, I have seen servers turn contortionists trying to bend, stretch, squeeze, walk through bushes and reach in all sorts of ways and even intrude in members’ personal space to fulfill this unnecessary and outdated standard. So, what should we do? Do we serve food with no care to sides anymore … no, not quite. Modern hospitality has changed, and so should we. Open-handed service is the norm in independent restaurants, hotels and resorts, and how I have been training teams at luxury hotels for the past 10 years of my career. Open-handed service is a technique where you serve food and beverage to a table with an open hand as if you were going to hug your member. Of course, do not hug the member but approach the service as if you might. If you are serving two members, you can easily and effectively serve the member on your left with your right hand and the member on your right with your left hand. Simple, effective, fewer moves and in less time. The only firm no is backhanding a member. Open-handed service is equally effective when clearing a table, which is not a significant moment and should be done in the least amount of moves possible, therefore making open-handed service efficient. So, next time you train your teams on food and beverage service, don’t pick a side, give a hug. B R

DRIVE YOUR SEARCH, HARNESS THE POWER OF THE PGA BRAND Start your search with the only team you’ll need! Let us connect you with the most talented and qualified industry professionals.



Addison Reserve Country Club’s

Harvey P. Stein Selected

BoardRoom’s Distinguished Club President for 2021 One inevitably might ask, “What is the secret ingredient that has made Addison Reserve such a success over the past 15 years?” That’s the question posed by Addison Reserve Country Club’s President Harvey P. Stein, and one for which he has a direct answer. “From my vantage point, the answer is a simple one: It is the natural and overriding collaboration between the governance of our community and our executive management team.” “President Stein, who became president of Addison Reserve’s board in March 2020, is our BoardRoom’s Distinguished Private Club President for 2021,” said John Fornaro, publisher and CEO of BoardRoom magazine. BoardRoom magazine this year is recognizing 22 Private Club Presidents of the Year – 2021, including President Stein, for practicing what they preach – leadership for the betterment of their clubs – board presidents or chairs who serve as the volunteer leaders of their club. It’s the 14th year BoardRoom magazine has recognized the industry’s top private club presidents for their outstanding work. BoardRoom received nominations and applications from different clubs throughout Canada and the United States. “Our selection of the top presidents and Harvey P. Stein as our Distinguished Club President signifies another successful search for leaders who have contributed so much to their private clubs and their member experience,” expressed Fornaro. “We honor board leaders, exemplary individuals, who go beyond the basic requirements of governance and work collaboratively with the club’s management. The award underscores the role that a board president and his leadership play in driving a club’s success and contributing to the club’s long-term health. “The non-profit private club industry is the most difficult industry of which to be board member and a manager. Board members, who are also the shareholders (owners) of the club, are also the customers. Often fraught with conflicts of interest, a private club can be very challenging to manage,” Fornaro added. ➤





“For this relationship to be successful, there must be, and has been, mutual trust and respect between our voluntary leadership and paid leadership. In my opinion, it’s a trust that has been earned by both groups and one that given our many demonstrated successes to date, is applauded by our membership.” President Harvey P. Stein Addison Reserve Country Club from Cover Story | 20

“Through the process of collaborative governance, the general manager, the club’s president and the board members are meant to work collaboratively. We recognize board presidents that don’t delve into micromanaging. Micromanagement is not only is frustrating for management, but also wastes board members’ often limited time to do their actual job, which is directing … setting policy, and not managing the organization or operations. That’s management’s job,” Fornaro emphasized. The impetus for BoardRoom’s top president recognition program comes from its sponsors, the Association of Private Club Directors, the parent organization of BoardRoom magazine, and Kopplin Kuebler & Wallace, one of the country’s leading private club industry consultants. “Harvey P. Stein is a true leader and a great partner with Michael (McCarthy, Addison Reserve’s CEO). Together they have made significant improvements to the club and the member experience. “I had the opportunity to speak with President Stein at the Distinguished Ideas Summit and he praised Michael for his leadership and vision for the club. Harvey P. Stein is the kind of president all clubs should have. Congratulations to our Distinguished Club President!” expressed Gordon Welch, president of APCD. Dick Kopplin, Kurt Kuebler and Tom Wallace, partners with Kopplin, Kuebler & Wallace, have been involved with BoardRoom’s outstanding presidents’ program from day one and based on their work with private clubs have an exceptional grasp on the nuances and requirements of private club governance. These experienced private club con-



sultants know what it takes to provide strong, good governance at a private club, making their contribution to the top presidents’ program highly valued. “Kopplin Kuebler & Wallace is proud to partner with BoardRoom magazine to honor the men and women who assist their clubs by volunteering to serve as club board president. These individuals give much of their time and talent by engaging with their general manager/COO to ensure that the club goals and objectives are attained each year. “Many of these leaders clearly understand how to keep their fellow board members focused on the club’s strategic issues and allow the professional staff to work through the operational issues. Along with BoardRoom Magazine, KK&W recognizes their positive contributions to not only their respective clubs but also the club industry at large,” the partners commented. It’s been an exceptional couple of years for President Stein, who in his first days as president faced the major issue of COVID 19. “Harvey P. Stein became our board president on March 16th, 2020, when the board, which included three new members, elected him president,” said Addison Reserve’s CEO, Michael McCarthy. “One day later, on March 17th, because of the pandemic, Addison closed its indoor facilities and on March 24th closing of the golf, tennis, pickleball and the pool facilities followed. Right from the beginning, President Stein has guided the board in establishing clear and realistic goals and supported management in their endeavors to keep Addison’s members satisfied during this difficult time. “On March 17th, a non-contact home delivery of food from the Grill began. Delivery of quality food became an important new business for us. It still is and will be in the future,” McCarthy added. The collaboration that President’s Stein emphasizes has worked for the betterment of the club. “Said another way, our board and our CEO/general manager, Michael McCarthy are aligned and work in unison. We are guided by a common goal: To work in the best interests of our members – both current and future,” Stein explained. “Moreover, for this relationship to be successful, there must be, and has been, mutual trust and respect between our voluntary leadership and paid leadership. In my opinion, it’s a trust that has been earned by both groups and one that given our many demonstrated successes to date, is applauded by our membership. “We have worked together to define the boundaries between governance responsibility and management accountability. Our board resolved many years ago not to be controlled by operational committees led by volunteers. Instead, our elected board focuses on our overarching commitment to formulate strategy, set budget and define policy. In turn, it’s our exceptionally qualified professional management team that sees these objectives to fruition,” Stein added. This collaboration, in the McCarthy’s mind, is a reality emphasized by actions during the pandemic. “President Stein has guided the club through this pandemic and navigated waters that we’ve never tread before. His philosophy is that it’s the board’s function to receive and analyze input from our members and to implement these ideas in setting the club’s goals and policies. “It’s then the board’s responsibility to work with the club’s management to develop plans and strategies to implement these policies and achieve the desired objectives. It is President Stein’s belief that board does not manage, but rather oversee the club’s management and operation to ensure that our plans and objectives are being met, and that the Club maintains a position of financial stability,” McCarthy added. “Also, it is because of his desire to maintain Addison Reserve’s well-deserved reputation as one of the premier country clubs in South Florida and the United States that makes him such a successful president. He helps the board ➤

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make the proper decisions, through effective management and fiscally responsible governance, on operations, facilities and member lifestyle. This includes continuous analysis of Addison Reserve’s facilities, by-laws and rules and regulations to make our member’s experience more fulfilling,” McCarthy intoned. President Stein is also a president who has a passion for his club and who acts in the club’s best interests without regard for external pressure or personal gain. “The federal government’s payroll protection plan stands as case in point,” expressed McCarthy.

“We are a family first and foremost, and we support each other, especially in difficult times. We are all grappling with the constantly changing COVID-19 situation and a small sliver of generosity might be just the kind of inspiration we could all use right now. President Stein has committed to taking care of our staff, and, hopefully, setting an example of how one business can make a difference.” Michael McCarthy, CEO Addison Reserve Country Club 24


“We were informed that the federal government offered a payroll protection plan, which included a loan and a forgiveness of part or all of that loan. Our board was told we had to decide whether or not to approve the loan and at a special meeting the board approved the loan. “We were told by the bank that if we did not get the paperwork in by May 4th, we might not be able to get the loan. We were also told that if we returned the loan by May 8th, at the time, there would be no penalty. At that time, we had an operating surplus, a line of credit and cash reserves,” McCarthy explained. “The board met again on May 4th and after studying the matter and the certification required, voted to return the loan, which was repaid by Friday of that week. Once the loan was returned, according to an SBA rule, we could not reapply for the loan. The certification stated that ‘current economic uncertainty makes this loan request necessary to support the ongoing operations.’ “Borrowers must take into account their current business activity and their ability to access other sources of liquidity sufficient to support their ongoing operations in a manner that is not significantly detrimental to the business. In fact, we had a line of credit with bank, which was greater than the PPP loan. We have never accessed that credit facility,” McCarthy added. “As a point of information, there are over 50 residential country clubs in Palm Beach County and according to an article in the Palm Beach Post, only six kept the PPP loan.” It has certainly been and unusual year and managing the club’s finances have been quite challenging. However, “Addison Reserve Country Club & Association continues to operate profitably,” McCarthy said. The club, for the year ended, Sept. 30 had accumulated a surplus of approximately $1.5 million and as a result the board voted to refund $1,000 to each golf member and $700 to each sports member. Community outreach programs have also been a highlight of President Stein’s tenure. “We instituted an ‘Adopt a Hospital program’, to give back to people putting their lives on the line for us. Addison and six other clubs also ‘adopted’ the Delray Medical Center and this program provided complete dinners in individual to-go containers. Addison’s staff has also benefitted from President Stein’s leadership because of a payroll continuation program. “For those hourly workers who were continuing to work their salary was raised by $2 an hour. Those unable to work, mainly golf, tennis, spa and fitness, were paid from March 25th to May 14th. At that time, the board decided not to furlough any employees during that period of time,” McCarthy added. “We are a family first and foremost, and we support each other, especially in difficult times. We are all grappling with the constantly changing COVID-19 situation and a small sliver of generosity might be just the kind of inspiration we could all use right now. President Stein has committed to taking care of our staff, and, hopefully, setting an example of how one business can make a difference,” McCarthy stressed. But we leave the final thoughts to President Stein. “It is not unreasonable to conclude that fundamentally, the success and stature that Addison Reserve has achieved is a direct result of the collaborative organizational approach shared between our governance representatives and our professional executive management team.” All good reasons demonstrating why President Harvey P. Stein is deserving of his selection as BoardRoom’s Distinguished President for 2021. B R

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2021 Top Private Club Presidents & Board Chairs of the Year BoardRoom magazine for the 14th year, is recognizing 22 presidents as Private Club Presidents of the Year – 2021 for practicing what they preach – leadership for the betterment of their clubs. Private club board presidents play a huge role in the professional operations of their club as volunteers working diligently with their board of directors and general managers, striving for well informed, but not emotional decisions. BoardRoom magazine’s 21 most outstanding private club presidents for 2021, plus the selection of Harvey P. Stein, President of Addison Reserve Country Club in Delray Beach, FL as the BoardRoom Distinguished President for 2021, exemplifies the focus on the leadership responsibilities, the accountability and the management of the board, while providing a healthy respect for the club’s macromanagement. “This kind of recognition for volunteers who give so much to the club has been long overdue, and since the first awards were presented 14 years ago, there’s been a steady growth in the nominations by club general managers and others in the private club industry,” expressed BoardRoom publisher John Fornaro.

These board presidents understand the importance of working, effectively and efficiently, with their volunteer boards and the dedication that’s required from everyone with whom they work. They practice what they preach – outstanding leadership to maintain best practices and an extraordinary member experience for their members clubs. Systems alone do not insure a good board. Key elements include commitment, competence, diversity, collective decision making, openness, transparency, effective communication with management and the membership, fiscal responsibility, development and establishment of the club’s mission, vision and policy direction, especially through establishment of a strategic plan. Successful board presidents draw upon the expertise of other board members, the club’s institutional memory and stewardship of the club’s resources. As well, board presidents provide new board members and future presidents with information they need to perform effectively as board members.

Congratulations to BoardRoom’s outstanding private club board presidents and chairs for 2021. Harvey P. Stein. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Addison Reserve Country Club. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Delray Beach, FL Chad Brammer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Kevin P. A. Broderick. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Rick Callan. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jonathan Corpina . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Chuck Cramb. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Chris D. Crawshaw. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ron Drapeau. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jaime Eaton . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . David Frank. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Tee Green . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Yoshiko Inoue. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . LeeAnn Lewis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Todd Locke . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dennis Mayfield. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Chris McClure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jim Mutrie. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Kevin Reynolds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Angelo Rossi. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Kevin Snodgrass. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Michael H.Soroka. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jordan Ziegler. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Dunwoody Country Club. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Atlanta, GA Mountain Lake . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Lake Wales, FL Fort Collins Country Club. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Fort Collins, CO Whippoorwill Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Armonk, NY Wianno Club. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Osterville, MA Westmoreland Country Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Wilmette, IL Wyndemere Country Club. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Naples, FL Atlantic Beach Country Club. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Atlantic Beach, FL Ballenisles Country Club. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Palm Beach Gardens, FL Sunset Hills Country Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Carrollton, GA The Yale Club of New York. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . New York, NY Southward Ho Country Club. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bay Shore, NY Chagrin Valley Hunt Club. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Gates Mills, OH Aspen Valley Golf Club. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Flagstaff, AZ LaGrange Country Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . La Grange, IL Dallas National Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dallas, TX Westwood Country Club. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Austin TX Quail West Foundation, Inc.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Naples, FL Houston Country Club. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Houston, TX Hunters Run Property Owner’s Association. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Boynton Beach, FL Glen Oaks Club. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Old Westbury, NY Private Club Presidents of the Year Major Sponsors




Just the Time to Be Ideally Effective Describe ideal – When something is ideal, it is a model for the ultimate experience. The ideal is described in the supreme, the pinnacle. Ideal is perfect; no others come close. Describe effective – When something is effective, it produces the desired results. Effective means doing the right things as compared to efficient, which means doing things right. Both are essential skills for leaders. Effective is the state reached when you take the right steps, moving in the right direction. The state of ideally effective brings satisfaction to people. What if the values in a personal life were ideally effective? What would we see? How would it make itself known? What would be happening? Align personal and professional values – Ideally, effective values are those that align personal and professional values. Both areas of a person’s life are watched over, practiced, and brought together in such a way that the two become one. In attempting to align personal and professional values, setting personal goals aligned with values must come first before professional ones. If you clearly understand what you believe in and what is important to you for your life and happiness, alignment with your professional goals and those of other people in your club becomes easier. Moreover, well-aligned personal goals and values can help you set professional goals and make better, more effective decisions based on the benefits between your personal life and work life. Aligning personal and professional goals is about allocating your time effectively between your personal life and work life to produce the most productive outcomes. Thus, setting boundaries is as important as setting goals. The boundaries ensure that life and work do not overpower one another but live in harmony. Regular self-reflection also helps align personal and professional goals. If you are not happy with your personal life and work life, listen to your feelings in your heart. Be always conscious of where you are heading before it becomes too late to fix. Decisions made must align with the vision and values of the club. Be careful not to overlook the vision and values due to selfish, imprudent, or comfortable decisions. When



realignment is necessary, be honest with yourself about values and adjust them to face your present challenges. It is more important to stay focused on the right direction than speeding and hurrying along without practicing being ideally effective. No matter how fast you drive, if you are headed in the wrong direction, it will only make it more difficult to correct later on. Align your professional and talents’ values and goals – Once leadership is on board with the vision and goals of the club, communication with the talent (formerly employees) is the key to succeeding. To align the goals with the talent in your club, leaders need to look for individuals who are already strongly aligned. Leaders need to establish strong communication between leaders and the talent, define the outcomes desired, and empower the talent to take the initiative toward individualized efforts, to the best of their abilities, to achieve their club’s goals. Communicate regularly with your talent to help them set their own goals based on the vision and goals of their club and the contributions by the talent to reach a state of being ideally effective. They must understand what role they play in the effectiveness of their club. Help them to become more accountable for their work, which, in turn, leads to a positive impact on the goals of their club. Individuals with no goals or values may lead the talent to lose motivation and interest in their club. It is just the time to be ideally effective. B R Dr. Ronald F. Cichy, O.M. is professor emeritus, Michigan State University. Dr. MiRan Kim is associate professor in The School of Hospitality Business at Michigan State University.

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Michael Crandal, CNG is the co-author with Gabriel Aluisy of the groundbreaking book “The ABC’s of Plutonium Private Club Leadership.” You can reach Michael directly at (760) 464-6103. By the way, the letters after our author’s name stand for Certified Nice Guy. Self-certified, but a nice guy nonetheless.

Uh-oh … It’s Annual Performance Review Time How competent is your club GM/COO? Clubs can have difficulty establishing meaningful criteria flexible enough to encompass the many skill sets and complexities necessary to fairly evaluate the competency of their GM/COO. Board members are comfortable appraising executive performance on financial results tied to percentages and measurable data. You made your numbers or you didn’t. But not-for-profit private member-owned clubs spin on a different axis, where performance is deeper than simply looking at financial results, percentages and measurable data. This presents an annual conundrum for the board of directors and GM/COO to “speak the same language” when seeking meaningful criteria to fairly evaluate performance. Here is a suggested starting point to speak the same language: a two-page general template that you can augment to reflect the uniqueness of any club.


1. Surrounds himself/herself with competent people. 2. Seeks a way to improve performance. 3. Seeks ways to improve the club. 4. Admits mistakes, makes corrections and moves on. 5. Anticipates needs of members and staff. 6. Offers viewpoints in a constructive way. 7. Listens and hears input from others. 8. Loyal to club staff. 9. Visible to staff and members. 10. Respects the authority of the board. 11. Has the earned respect/support of key department heads. 12. Delegates appropriately and effectively. 13. Shows interest in all areas of club operations. 14. Team consistently delivers great member experiences. PAGE 1: EVALUATED JOINTLY BY THE CLUB PRESIDENT AND VICE PRESIDENT 15. Is proactively dealing with budgetary red flags. Fifty GM/COO characteristics are used to evaluate the overall level 16. Puts in the necessary time to get the job done. of competency to effectively lead the operations team, be a respected 17. Appropriately represents the club in the community. 18. Able and willing to make necessary decisions. working partner of the board, and serve your membership well. Certain characteristics may be more critical to the GM/COO’s success at your club 19. Builds and meets realistic budget objectives. 20. Stands up for principles. than what others might deem critical at theirs. 21. Accommodates member needs. Regardless of total points earned — a chronic, irreconcilable defect in 22. Is diplomatic — even when it is difficult. even just a very few areas deemed “mission critical” may indicate a short- 23. Acknowledges the efforts of others. coming remedied only by a serious conversation and mandatory immedi- 24. Highly visible at all major club events. 25. Bounces back from discouragement. ate signs of improvement. 26. Consistently ethical. After completing Page 2 — please designate: 27. Focuses on work when at work. • 2 points for every always 28. Dresses appropriately. • 1 point for every sometimes 29. Manages up and down effectively. • 0 points for every never 30. Responds favorably to challenges. 31. Thoroughly prepares themselves(and the full board) for meetings. Total competency points from Page 2: ________ 32. Keeps the president and board well-informed. No surprises. Overall competency evaluation: 33. Knows what he/she is talking about. • 90/100 = Incredible 34. Monitors staff performance in making sure things get done. • 75/89 = Exceptional 35. Creates a positive energy/vibe. • 60/74 = Good 36. Communicates clearly. 37. Sees the “big picture.” • <74 = Worrisome 38. Firm — but fair — with the management team. President and vice president personal comments: 39. Kind and considerate. 40. Empowers creative and competent direct reports. 41. Exemplifies a respected leader. President: Date: 42. Stays current on issues affecting private clubs. Vice president: Date: 43. Deserves board confidence and support. 44. Knows what is going on around the club. 45. Respects the traditions/culture of the club. “Tweak” the general template and land on something that speaks to 46. Highly effective with little or no supervision. both the board and your GM/COO. The president and vice president 47. Is immediately responsive to board directives. jointly evaluate the GM/COO. The same criteria should be used annu48. Properly maintains the physical assets of the club. 49. Interfaces appropriately with key management staff. ally. Continuity from year to year is important. This is a template. Make 50. Prepares and presents proposed realistic annual operating and it your own. Customize it to best address the needs of your club. B R capital budgets. 30




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Larry Hirsh, CRE, MAI, SGA, FRICS is the president of Golf Property Analysts (, a leading golf and club property consulting, appraisal and brokerage firm based in Philadelphia. He blogs on a variety of club and appraisal issues at He is the author of “The Culture of Golf - Isn’t It Just a Game?” available at:

Finding Your Club’s Niche Build an Identity Private or public, all golf courses and clubs have a potential niche in the marketplace. Market positioning is key to the success of any club. Recently, on an assignment in the Midwest US, we encountered an interesting market positioning situation. The market metropolitan statistical area (MSA) has an estimated population of between 300,000 and 400,000. Golf participation (like in much of the Midwest) is higher than the national average, and in this market median home prices (just over $200,000) and median household income (less than $60,000) are lower than national averages. The area has lost many middle and upper management jobs in recent years as some of its biggest employers have been absorbed in corporate mergers and buyouts. There are two options in the market for private golf. Both are owned by private investors, one recently acquired from the membership. Likely at least partly due to the surge in golf interest spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, both clubs report full membership and high levels of activity. One recently increased its entrance fee and established a waiting list. The other has a waiting list for membership but has maintained a nominal entrance fee. Both are desirable facilities that have been well-maintained and are in good condition. While competitive with each other, these two clubs have different cultures and seek different segments of the golf market. One is a full-service, family country club focusing on a variety of activities, including golf, swimming, racquet sports, dining, events and social programs. The other is a golf-only club, with much smaller (but upscale) food and beverage service, and places primary emphasis on the golf facilities, conditions and the golf experience. It has limited membership to ensure easy access for members and uncrowded conditions enhancing the pace of play. 32


Economically, both clubs share the problem of being situated in a market with limited spending power and high price sensitivity. Despite being at maximum membership the market’s price sensitivity hinders each club’s ability to generate revenues, meaning these clubs need to effectively manage costs and expenses to maintain palatable pricing. The clubs have positioned themselves in ways that limit them from directly competing with each other by catering to different clientele. The full-service country club targets the social and business segments while the golf club focuses on avid and frequent golfers. I raise this issue because I’ve seen several clubs fail (including one I belonged to for a long time) in competitive markets when they all chased the same market segment. A club can’t be all things to all potential members. Avid golfers seek prime playing conditions and unhindered access to the course. Practice facilities are often important to this group because the primary reason they consider joining a club is playing more frequently and improving their game. Those seeking a greater diversity of activities may be willing to compromise on golf to accommodate a broader club experience. The two clubs mentioned above have made distinct decisions about whom to target and have done so successfully. Every club has a “culture.” I write in “The Culture of Golf - Isn’t It Just a Game?” that private clubs are a culture unto themselves. Each private club has its own unique culture. Sometimes these cultures are intentional and sometimes accidental. Much of this depends on the club’s facilities, goals, level of affluence, exclusivity (perceived or actual) and its politics. Historically, private clubs have been an oasis of decorum and politeness. Many clubs attempt to create a welcoming and friendly atmosphere. Others seemingly seek to establish rules and policies attempting to develop prestige that is often perceived as “stuffy.” Still, others attempting to elevate their reputations foster an air of superiority while attempting to display (an often insincere) culture of warmth. Anyone who’s visited many private clubs can attest to what I call the “country club wave,” where members might acknowledge others with a wave of the hand while not even looking at them. Private clubs can be the most comfortable places and at times the most awkward. At some clubs, it seems the goal is to make guests as uncomfortable as possible. Each club has its own culture. It’s not uncommon for multiple clubs in the same market to position themselves in the same niche only to fail. Fortunately, in the example cited above, the clubs recognized and cultivated their own identities and enjoy full membership. Finding your club’s niche, positioning the club properly for success and committing to being the best at it are key elements of the recipe for success. B R



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Steve Mona is the director of governance and leadership for Club Benchmarking. He would be happy to discuss servant leadership with any interested party. To begin the conversation, please contact Steve at

Leadership: A Perspective 41 Years in the Making When you reach a certain point in your career where the end is much closer than the beginning, it is natural to look back in an attempt to understand the journey. In my case, two honors in the past nine months have given me pause to reflect on the idea of leadership and its importance. The first was my induction into the National Black Golf Hall of Fame in Atlanta, GA in May 2021. The second is my upcoming recognition by the Golf Course Builders Association of America as the recipient of the Don Rossi Award, its highest honor in recognition of individuals who have made significant contributions to the game of golf and its growth and who have inspired others by their example. My first reaction when I got those phone calls was “why me?” My second thought, echoing the first, was “what did I do to deserve this honor?” In my case, the answer to both questions ultimately came down to one word: leadership. I’ve been fortunate to have spent 35 of my 41 years in the golf industry leading a state organization, the Georgia State Golf Association; a national organization, the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America; and an international organization, the World Golf Foundation. When placed in positions such as those, the natural expectation is that you will lead. That probably seems obvious, but the “how” is another matter. Again, I was fortunate to have studied under and spent time with the late Ken Melrose, the longtime CEO of the Toro Company, who served as my mentor for nearly two decades. Melrose had spent considerable time with two of the top leadership coaches in the country: Dr. Ken Blanchard and the late Dr. Stephen Covey. He was generous in sharing with me much of what he learned from them and what he learned from leading a Fortune 500 company for 24 years. Melrose’s philosophy, which he developed directly from his time with Blanchard, could be summed up in two words: servant leadership. Melrose inspired me to embrace that philosophy and it has served me well, but it took some time for me to fully understand what it means. At its core, the concept of servant leadership is that the CEO and senior management work to ensure that frontline



workers have the resources, support and training they need to properly serve the customers with whom they directly interact. In the private club world, that translates to the GM/ COO and the leadership team ensuring that the wait staff, receptionist, caddies, golf cart attendants, golf, tennis and fitness staff, lifeguards, snack bar attendants and the like have what they need to deliver top-notch service to the members of the club. Taken further, the idea is to reverse the traditional organizational chart pyramid. In a traditional hierarchy, the GM/ COO is on top and the rest of the staff cascades down from there. In the servant leadership model, the members are on the top of the chart, those who interact with them directly are next, and so on. The GM/COO is at the bottom of the organizational chart in this case, as his or her primary role is to serve those directly serving the club’s members by providing them with the resources they need to do their job in a worldclass manner. I first adopted the servant leadership philosophy when I was midway through my 14-year career as CEO of GCSAA. Some in the top levels of the association were skeptical, but I insisted we would change our philosophy of leadership. We did, and the changes were so dramatic and took hold so quickly that there was never any discussion about reverting back to the traditional hierarchy. In my role with Club Benchmarking, I have spent considerable time with the boards and GMs/COOs of many private clubs, and I have seen firsthand the tremendous talent, passion and expertise present in boardrooms across the country. I submit, therefore, a simple question: Have you considered embracing servant leadership as a model for your club? If you have, then my suggestion is to put it into place at your earliest opportunity. To those who haven’t considered it, I encourage you to do so. You’ll be glad you did. BR



Whitney Reid Pennell, president of RCS Hospitality Group, is a celebrated management consultant, educator, and speaker. RCS has been recognized 10 times with a BoardRoom Excellence in Achievement Awards, most recently for Staff Training Company. RCS continues to offer innovative solutions through, an online virtual training portal for employees and managers. For more information, phone (623) 322-0773; or visit the RCS website at

Time for Retrospective Introspection The past 18 months had many “starts and stops,” new regulations, a revolving door of staff, and operational pivoting so fast it felt like a fast-moving basketball game at times.

about pricing topics to manage member expectations and keep staff informed on best responses to questions about products or pricing.

We’re not out of the woods yet. The pandemic has immediate and lasting considerations. It’s time to reflect on lessons learned and chart a course for the future.

LABOR CONDITIONS The labor market is slow to recover, as noted in recent jobs reports. Many studies suggest that up to 30 percent of the hospitality workforce left the industry in 2020. Once they got a taste of dinner with their families, weekends off and time to attend children’s activities, many sought to upskill and seek employment elsewhere, allowing more work-life balance. Clubs must continue focusing on creating a welcoming and competitive workplace culture, which requires a real partnership between club leaders and the membership. Employees can be choosy now and the cream of the crop will be scooped up by clubs offering flexible scheduling options, generous benefits, ongoing development, and growth opportunities. Making employees feel appreciated and valued by management and members will tip the scales in your favor. Include members as part of your competitive edge by keeping them aware of respectful, appropriate behavior toward staff, with reminders not to take their frustrations out on dedicated employees who are doing their level best working through difficult circumstances. A quick search online returns photos and videos depicting the struggle of employers and employees alike.

EVOLVING NEEDS Membership growth put pressure on club amenities and infrastructure in ways never imagined. The new family unit, as described by the National Club Association, is a married couple in their early 40s with two or more children. It is replacing one- and two-person families, who golfed and socialized infrequently, dined often, and rarely used the other club facilities. In addition to outdoor space, parking lot and golf course compaction, this new generation wants fitness facilities, paddle courts, pickleball, tennis and pools. Strategic planning has become a complex and layered conversation with thoughtful choices using “if-then-else” logic. One savvy manager recently noted that clubs should be “building their granddaughter’s country club right now,” and he’s not wrong. The trick is getting from here to there with continued challenges to club operations. CAPITAL FUNDING AND FINANCIAL PRUDENCE Last year altered the definition of “financially secure/stable.” Many clubs learned that they were largely dependent on events or that increasing dues annually with rising costs is the best way to be financially responsible. Then, there were country clubs who smartly put the “is food and beverage a profit center or amenity” question to bed by recognizing it is an amenity just like a golf course or tennis courts, raising dues accordingly. This frees the staff to focus on service and creativity, not food and labor costs for largely unprofitable hours of operation. The push-pull discussions between “resort-style” or “club-affordable” amenities continue in boardrooms. As clubs consider capital project planning, the uncertain economy and looming inflation are forcing club leaders to reconsider ways to fund projects. SUPPLY CHAIN Supply chain issues have disrupted operations nationwide, resulting in rising costs for daily goods and materials. It is unclear how long prices will continue to soar, which has a trickle effect on members: menu prices, cart fees, retail pricing. It’s important that communications are transparent and frequent 36


WE ARE FAMILY One of the biggest lessons learned is how valuable employees are to providing the extraordinary experience and remarkable service every club strives to deliver. Amenities and service matter little if we don’t have caring, friendly, and knowledgeable team members to attend to member needs. Now is the time to really show employees they are part of the family, just like they strive to make the club feel like a home away from home for members. Over the past 18 months, many clubs adeptly recognized their employees’ contribution to their club and put together charitable funds to help those in need, created mentor programs, and handed out bonuses and pay raises to show their appreciation. If you haven’t done so yet, get creative, use technology, provide thoughtful incentives, follow through on recruiting promises, and “walk the talk” to create a club recognized as an employer of choice. As Bill Marriott of Marriott Hotels famously said, “Take care of your employees and they will take care of your customers.” Cheers to that and a successful 2022! B R

MIKE PHELPS Mike Phelps is principal, Pipeline Agency. He can be reached via email:


Cultivating Club Culture To Attract and Keep Great Employees Have you ever noticed that the most successful clubs are those with a healthy and happy culture? Throughout my 25 years in the club industry, I’ve had the opportunity to speak with a lot of members at a lot of clubs. As the owner of a branding agency, I can also get away with asking obscure questions, like “what do you appreciate most about the club?” or “what makes this place so special?” This line of questioning almost always results in one consistent answer: “It’s the people.” Members make a club. They are welcoming. They are friendly. They are down-to-earth. And they are fun. All the makings of a great environment. If this sounds like your club, you are not alone. Our firm’s unofficial analysis predicts that eight out of 10 clubs would describe themselves similarly – with focus group members pointing largely to the composition and caliber of their fellow members as the “secret sauce” that makes their club special. But don’t cue the “Cheers” jingle just yet. The truly successful clubs – the top 20 percent – are the ones whose members will answer those questions with equal love for their fellow members and the staff. These are most often the clubs where everyone wants to join. These are most likely the clubs where no one wants to leave. These will be the clubs where everyone wants to get a job. Let’s talk about culture. Definition One: In biology, a culture is a cultivation (usually bacteria, germs, or tissue cells) in an environment of nutrients. Culture: a cultivation in an environment of nutrients. Do you want to create a culture? Step One: Environment Step Two: Nutrients Definition Two: When we describe a person as “cultured,” we’re saying they are conversant in the arts. You acquire an education by study, hard work and persistence. But you absorb culture by viewing great art, listening to great music and reading great books. The arts are nutrients for the heart. To become “cultured” in the arts is to know how to make people feel differently. 38


Definition Three: The culture of any people-based organization is expressed as esprit de corps: the spirit of pride, fellowship, and common loyalty shared by members of a particular group. Culture: a cultivation in an environment of nutrients. Club culture: a cultivation of practices and behaviors in an environment of values. If you don’t have strong values, you won’t have a strong culture. Luckily most clubs have strong values. But it can be difficult to clearly articulate them in a way that resonates with employees. If you don’t effectively educate new employees about your values, practices, and behaviors, you are leaving your club’s culture to chance. If you don’t reward and celebrate employee practices and behaviors, you’re just mouthing platitudes and clichés. (Commonly known as mission statements.) A strategy is made of goals, objectives, and activities. A culture is made of values, practices, and behaviors. Anyone can copy your strategy, but no one can copy your culture. Branding is nothing more than your club’s culture made known. It works to attract more like-minded members. It also works to attract great employees. And just as marketing promises your prospective member a specific experience, it can also be used to inspire employees to deliver that experience. This year, the clubs that rise to the challenge of recruiting, training, and retaining good people will leapfrog ahead of their competitors. The limiting factor for clubs in 2022 won’t be a shortage of prospective members. It will be a shortage of good employees. Do whatever it takes to become the club where everyone wants to work. Pay equal attention to the member experience and the employee experience – how your club’s culture is infused into every touchpoint in the employee’s life cycle, including job postings, onboarding, communications, value and rewards. My guess is that you’ve already got the environment. Do you have the nutrients? If you need help cultivating the essential nutrients, our new employee experience platform (EXP) might be useful. Our team has spent the past 18 months shaping new ways to help clubs become the employer of choice and now seems like a perfect time to let you in on what we’ve been up to. Because making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got. (Cue the “Cheers” jingle.) B R

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Ms. Linda Lanier, Search Chairwoman Atlantic Beach Country Club, Atlantic Beach, FL














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Duncan Reno CCM, CCE is the general manager/chief operating officer at Del Rio Country Club. He can be reached at (209) 341-2401 or via email:

Policing Members Versus Serving How many clubs are expected to offer members service of the highest quality and enforce club rules? This is counterproductive and destructive. Asking staff to police policy … contradicts demand for exceptional service. What you get when this happens is simple: • Lose focus of issue/violation • Lose respect for staff over time • Lower member satisfaction scores • More service complaints • Lower tips over time • Higher turnover/increased training costs • Negative work environment. It never fails … when staff is asked to enforce policy and confront a member about a policy violation, the response is always about how staff approached the member, what staff said, how staff could have handled it better, etc. The response never focuses on the member who violated a rule. (Picture a dress code violation and staff having to tell the member.) The effective code of conduct approach that produces positive results. 1. Develop a code of conduct that clearly defines members’ obligations and responsibilities and defines the disciplinary process. 2.

Identify frequently violated rules you wish members to follow, such as: • Masks • Ball marks • Cart traffic • Dress code • Behavior unbecoming a member.

3. Develop a code of conduct committee as the enforcement body. Members policing members. Have the past president chair this committee of members since this person has already served the club at the highest level and wishes to keep the club moving in a positive direction. As a past president, this person does not have to be as “political.” 4. Define the code of conduct committee’s role, purpose, duties, enforcement procedures, and process. The committee reviews reports that track and monitor members who frequently violate club rules. The committee then takes appropriate actions for frequent violators: a friendly meeting, a suspension hearing or an expulsion hearing. 5. Define the role of staff...staff is to never confront a member about a rule violation and instead only observe and report. Certain management 40


members are trained to approach club members but only if their relationship with those club members is in good standing, otherwise the only person who confronts a member is the general manager in writing. The letter states that the member was observed on a specific date and time violating a club rule. The letter is a friendly reminder of the rule the member violated and informs the member that the violation was reported to the code of conduct committee for review. 6. Develop a club rules violation app for reporting. We developed an app that all supervisors have on their phones. When a member violates a rule, the employee tells the supervisor, who logs it on the app. It includes date and time, the rules category violated, the member’s name, the person reporting, and specific comments, such as behavior, member’s response, witnesses, if on camera, etc. A report is sent weekly to the general manager for review and to initiate friendly reminder letters. The violations are reviewed at the monthly code of conduct committee meeting and recommendations for further action are written and presented to the board for approval. The committee doesn’t discipline, only the board disciplines. Six months after you implement a code of conduct, you will discover promising results, such as: • A more welcoming club • Changed attitude toward staff – more respect and appreciation • Fewer violations of key club rules • Heightened awareness of other club rules • More respect for club facilities and policies • Ability to remove members for bad behavior as you have built a case. BR

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Excellence in Club Governance Excellence in governance is key to success for private clubs. BoardRoom magazine is featuring a series of articles written by Henry DeLozier, a partner with GGA Partners, an international consulting firm and trusted advisor to private clubs, golf clubs and residential communities around the world. This issue features Dealing with Rogue Board Members, on page 44. Many clubs struggle with board members who choose not to work collaboratively with fellow board members. Often, these independent board members believe that they have been chosen to lead a “constituency” that is underrepresented or unheard previously. And sometimes, these board members are simply being selfish and self-serving. Henry also addresses Servant Leadership in Private Clubs, on page 46, and provides a checklist for board meetings. Servant leadership was first mentioned in the 1970s by Robert K. Greenleaf in an essay entitled “The Servant as Leader.” Through his years at AT&T and other power-centered companies, Greenleaf determined that the greatest influence of leadership is in the willingness to serve others.



EXECUTIVE SEARCH “It was certainly a great experience and an immense pleasure to work with the team at Golf Business Network to locate top candidates for our Director of Golf position. The GBN team are consummate professionals who were always accessible throughout the search process. My search for a new Director of Golf with GBN was an extremely positive experience, and I strongly recommend them to any club looking for professional assistance with locating talented candidates.” David Sheppard, General Manager/COO — Atlanta Athletic Club

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“From the beginning, GBN’s professionalism was remarkable. How they went out of their way to learn the culture of not only the membership but also the staff shows they truly understand the club industry. The result for us was an outstanding new hire. We couldn’t have done it without them.” Aidan Murphy, General Manager — Old Warson Country Club For more information, please contact Patrick Seither at 919-372-8220 GOLFBUSINESSNETWORK.COM


HENRY DELOZIER Henry DeLozier is a partner at GGA Partners. He can be reached via at

Dealing With Rogue Board Members Many clubs struggle with board members who choose not to work collaboratively with fellow board members.

Often, these independent board members believe that they have been chosen to lead a “constituency” that is underrepresented or unheard previously. And sometimes, these board members are simply being selfish and self-serving. The notion of “going rogue” conjures up ideas of defiance or independence. In many clubs, directors are dealing with rogue board members. Nowadays, rogue board members are people who either feel marginalized and unheard by fellow board members or who are unprincipled leaders who place their own wants and expectations above the leadership direction of the board itself. How can a well-meaning club board survive and prosper with a rogue member or two?

Merriam-Webster defines “rogue” as “an unprincipled or dishonest man.” The Urban Dictionary carries the definition of “go rogue” as “to cease to follow orders; to act on one’s own, usually against expectation or instruction. To pursue one’s own interests.” Differences of opinion in the boardroom are extremely important to effective governance. Non-profit governance expert Fred Laughlin, a director at GGA Partners, says, “The board deliberates as many and governs as one.” The best boards foster an environment that invites different viewpoints and solutions to be expressed openly and constructively. The key to effective governance is to create an environment that respects different expectations and viewpoints. Here is a short checklist that empowers differing opinions to work in the boardroom while minimizing counter-productive rogue behavior: 1. Rely upon the club’s strategic plan. A current and effective strategic plan establishes boundaries for all in the boardroom. Mission, vision, and values are basic to a common understanding. These concepts are the core of club members’ beliefs. Focus on strategy. 2. Confirm that all are aligned with the current strategic goals and objectives. Review the strategic goals and objectives during each board meeting. Make “strategic plan update” as much a part of the board agenda as new and old business. 3. Confront differences of opinion. Make the time and create a tolerant setting to allow all viewpoints to be heard. Confirm that those with minority views have 44


the opportunity to present their opinions. Listen to and consider different options. Honestly evaluate the possibilities and ramifications of each option being considered. Close the discussion with definitive agreement on how the board as a whole will proceed. 4. Rely upon facts. Facts are often casualties of bruising differences of opinion. Ideas and viewpoints must be supported with trustworthy data. Unsubstantiated opinions must be set aside for fact-based decision-making. For those – especially those with minority viewpoints – who do not agree with going-forward decisions, there must be a place for respect and dignity. It takes courage to argue an unpopular viewpoint. 5. Set a timeline for review. Board members sometimes go rogue when they do not believe that their opinions are respected. Before closing out contentious topics, agree upon the date when the topic will be revisited. One feels “rogue” when he or she is made to feel that they are an outsider. Sometimes roguish board members simply wish to be difficult. Usually, rogue members violate certain principles of sound governance. In such cases, the board must enforce disciplinary standards such as maintaining the confidentiality of the boardroom, engaging in conflicts of interest or not tending to the best interests of the club. These principles should be described in the board policies manual of the club. Determine whether a board member must be disciplined by fellow board members. If disciplinary action is needed, be quick, quiet, and confidential. Fair, firm, and face-to-face communication is important. Rogue board members do not serve their clubs well when they move disagreement outside of the boardroom and act on their own interests. Keep them engaged and respect the differences that they express. B R

Your Partner on the Path to Data-Driven Leadership That's not a slogan. It's a promise.

Maui Country Club - Hawaii “Club Benchmarking offered us tools, professional analysis, proven process and education for our members that were essential to getting our plan across the finish line.” Frank Ford - President

The Country Club of Orlando - Florida “Throughout the process, advice and counsel from Club Benchmarking gave our Board the confidence and buy-in they needed to bring the project to a vote that was overwhelmingly approved by the membership.” Eric Allain - General Manager

Thunderbird Country Club - California “Club Benchmarking was there to guide our Board through every step of the process and the result was a master plan that received an 86-percent approval rating from the Club’s proprietary members.” Brett Draper, CCM - General Manager

Lemon Bay Golf Club - Florida “In approximately one year, we went from a very disturbed membership to gaining a clear endorsement for the changes of the future. I can say unequivocally that this would not have happened without the involvement of Club Benchmarking.” Tom O’Shane - Treasurer


HENRY DELOZIER Henry DeLozier is a partner at GGA Partners. He can be reached via at

Servant Leadership in Private Clubs Servant leadership is the cornerstone of private club governance. Leaders serving others.

Private clubs prosper or perish on the strength and durability of their servant leaders. And, often unknown to those who are being led by servant leaders, it is a thankless job. Servant leadership was first mentioned in the 1970s by Robert K. Greenleaf in an essay entitled “The Servant as Leader.” Through his years at AT&T and other power-centered companies, Greenleaf determined that the greatest influence of leadership is in the willingness to serve others. In developing his thinking, Greenleaf noted that he was “standing on the shoulders of giants” when he observed that much philosophical- and faith-based thinking from antiquity to modern day refers to the principle of leaders serving those who follow. Fast-forward to current leadership thought and these concepts of leadership are seen in the teachings of Ken Blanchard, Stephen Covey, Peter Senge, Margaret Wheatley and many others. Are you a servant leader at your club? Greenleaf identified 10 characteristics that create effective servant leadership: • Listening – Historically, leaders were assumed to be effective orators. Servant leaders build trust through listening. Do you speak when you should listen? • Empathy – Servant leaders try to understand the wants and needs of others. Every person wants to be accepted and respected for what he or she can offer. Leaders who can give others acceptance earn support. • Healing – Is your club better because of division and strife or through mutual understanding? Servant leaders can heal division and strife within clubs through effective listening and empathetic behavior to members with minority viewpoints or priorities In these skeptical times when members demand ever more transparency of leaders, the challenge is to heal and bring members together rather than allow them to factionalize. • Awareness – Greenleaf wrote, “Awareness is not a giver of solace – it is just the opposite.” Drawing from their inner security, servant leaders seek 46


to help those who need support. Are you aware of what your club needs or only what you and your friends want? One of the keys to servant leadership is to become comfortable being uncomfortable. Earnest servant leaders in private clubs understand the many challenges of the club while seeking to lead enthusiastically and with vision. Persuasion – Servant leaders disdain positions of power in favor of reason, empathy, and understanding. History is full of great persuaders and the most persuasive among them are those who serve others. Conceptualization – Servant leaders pursue big dreams and balance the realities around them. Servant leadership empowers members to think beyond current circumstances and to aspire to make their club more robust and capable. This attribute is sorely tested in markets where the necessity of differentiation challenges clubs and their leaders to develop a future vision for the club. Who wants to be a member of a club that “is just as good as it used to be”? Foresight – Servant leadership requires that a leader be planning ahead for the good and benefit of those who follow. Foresight is needed in clubs requiring substantial capital maintenance and improvements. The key is to discern what investment will provide the club with the highest yield. Stewardship – Do you preserve and improve the values that fellow club members hold most dear? Can you protect club programs and customs that define your club? Can you persevere against adversity when the club most needs a champion? Commitment to growth of people – It is servant leaders who rely upon the intrinsic value of those they serve to create bold futures. The youngest and oldest in your club need a safe haven that enables them to grow and remain safe in a hazardous world. Building community – Cohesiveness and teamwork make possible greater results than individual accomplishments. Servant leaders are builders of a vision for all.

These 10 characteristics serve as a checklist for every board meeting and a touchstone for inspired leadership. The key is that leaders place the needs and interests of the members ahead of their own needs. BR

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Excellence in Achievement Awards The BoardRoom magazine “Excellence in Achievement” Awards is the only private club industry award that recognizes the clubs’ business partners. BoardRoom magazine’s industry peers review and select these outstanding suppliers and consultants, which represent various aspects of course and club operations. Winners, each year, are selected for overall excellence in their respective fields, achievements, innovation, vision for future growth and continued impact on private club operations. “The BoardRoom Awards are the only awards in the private club industry that recognize private clubs’ business partners, and every year we see increasing innovation, achievement, a vision and dedication from BoardRoom Award recipients. And of course, private clubs are the beneficiary of outstanding work of the industry’s vendors,” said John Fornaro, publisher of the BoardRoom magazine. The BoardRoom magazine is the only publication of its kind that is designed to educate the board of directors, owners, general managers and department heads of private golf, city, yacht, tennis and country clubs about issues concerning all aspects of the club, golf course management and operations. LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT GARY PLAYER EDUCATOR*

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Fortify Your Food and Beverage Marketing In Private Club Environments

It’s no secret that many private clubs offer similar products and services for members—top-rated golf, racquet sports, fitness, special events and dining. Intermingled with the usual suspects, you’ll find some additional amenities, too. But despite our likenesses, every private club carries a distinct brand, often distinguished by its physical location, local demographics, club history and culture, and member experience. Faced with a number of choices in the marketplace, prospective members rely on brand, often unknowingly, to differentiate between clubs, and active members are routinely influenced by brand, which acts as a conduit for emotional connection and lasting loyalty. Be the best version of your club. The first and single most important component for successful food and beverage (F&B) marketing has nothing to do with food and beverage; it has everything to do with knowing your club’s true identity and the vision for its future—it’s about delivering on your brand promise. Use your club’s brand to fence and filter. If your club is the masterbrand, then your dining venues are your sub-brands, making up an ecosystem of brands that all work in harmony. Food and beverage operations (and therefore marketing) serve the overarching club identity and vision. Food and beverage has become far more important in the storytelling of a club’s brand and member experience, as member priorities shift to a more holistic view of the private club lifestyle. As club management and hospitality professionals, it’s your job to ensure F&B delivers on the masterbrand promise. Your club’s brand will inform both operational and marketing decisions for your dining venues—from what goes on the menu, to how the menu is packaged and designed, to member communications and online presence, to staff uniforms and the kind of events you host. Every F&B brand touchpoint and marketing opportunity reinforces your global message, and your club’s brand is the best test for what fits and what doesn’t. Build your F&B marketing strategy and plan to serve your club’s brand. This is a time when being intentional and proactive serves your operations well. For each dining outlet you operate, create a marketing plan. That, often annual, plan contains the pieces to plot your path for the future, gives your team a shared goal to work toward, and provides the parameters to work within. 50


Finally, the “little things” do matter. Here are some best practices to ensure that your F&B marketing plan delivers results. • Use technology to enhance your operation and maintain relevance. Digital tools, like online ordering, online reservations, electronic contract signing, and mobile apps, are ways to streamline club interactions and offer relevant member experiences. • The best marketing (and sales) is a quick response. Especially for event inquiries, conversion happens at an exponential rate when response time is reduced. The time and money invested in lead generation can quickly be lost when inquiries linger. • Tastings are an expression of expertise. Wedding and event tastings are not only a ripe sales opportunity, but they are also a brand opportunity. Treat them as a way to showcase the chef’s expertise, the service team’s skills and the club’s hospitality competence. • Make photography and video a priority. Focus on incorporating more visuals than words. This is the way of communication today. • Menus are marketing tools, inside and out, online and in person. The presentation of the menu is the story of your dining experience in a singular, packaged marketing piece. Check for accuracy, grammar, typos and consistency. Think beyond food with the adoption of thoughtful beverage and cocktail menus that reflect seasons and trends. • Break down the silos—marketing professionals and food and beverage leaders are partners. Simplified communications are key, but often operations change so quickly it’s hard to keep up. Find a balance between what is communicated and how often and work together to consider the communication implications of operational changes. • Establish a brand voice. Ensure all club communications (including F&B) are conveyed in a singular voice to help maintain brand consistency. • Share the spotlight with back-of-house leaders. Meet, mingle, and mix with members to strengthen connections and the F&B brand. B R

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MATTHEW ROSE Matthew Rose is CEO/Founder of ClubUp. He can be reached via email:


Resurgence in Walking Provides an Opportunity for Caddying Increased walking provides an opportunity for caddie programs but there are lumbia Country Club and Waynesborough Country Club. risks to be managed. Caddie technology platforms are relatively It’s no secret that an uptick in walking has been one of the few benefits of new to the market but have quickly develCOVID-19—and golf was no exception. Even after restrictions were lifted oped relationships with leading clubs lookwalking has become increasingly popular as golfers look to improve their ing to mitigate risk and elevate their caddie fitness and get more enjoyment from time spent on the golf course. programs. An annual software fee typically The increase in walking provides a great opportunity for caddie programs. paid by the club plus a nominal bag fee paid More golfers are learning that caddies add to the experience of a round, and by golfers can provide a great experience for a caddie program can be valuable for club culture. members, caddies, and club staff that also However, caddie programs often come with risks because of state and fedmitigates risk for the clubs. eral employment regulations. As a result, many prestigious clubs are turning Many clubs have also taken the step to to a technology platform to assist with the facilitation of a modern, efficient, have their tee sheet integrated with a caddie and regulation-compliant caddie program that club members can be proud of. technology platform. This enables a seamless As demand for caddies increases and technology rapidly advances, clubs caddie scheduling process that requires no that overlook the opportunity to combine the two can find themselves on change in member behavior when arranging the receiving end of caddie frustration, a declining caddie pool with limited tee times, even for rounds involving a caddie. youth involvement, and even problematic litigation which can bring signifiOld Memorial Golf Club in Tampa, FL imcant, unforeseen expenses and unwanted attention to the club. plemented ClubUp’s market-leading caddie Historically, clubs had to choose between managing their caddie program technology. internally (and accepting the risk of doing so) or bringing in a third-party Never has the need for proper caddie caddie management company, which is expensive and impactful on club program facilitation been so great—and so culture. But now, by utilizing technology, clubs can maintain internal caddie achievable. Technology is available for clubs program facilitation while taking key steps for compliance and long-term to modernize their caddie programs and recaddie program stability. spond to the increased number of members The benefits of a caddie technology platform are numerous: advanced walking the golf course. Consider the implescheduling of caddies, member preference monitoring, caddie insurance, mentation of a caddie technology platform to risk mitigation, flexible caddie payment options (including cash) and trackbring your club forward. B R ing key data to improve the caddie development process. Often, the most valuable benefit is peace of mind when it comes to club employees, morale, and reputation. Medinah Country Club decided to implement a caddie technology platform to help facilitate their program. Robert Sereci, general manager of Medinah, commented on the process of making the change: “In 2019, committee members and club staff evaluated the caddie program at Medinah CC. It was clear that several components of the caddie program, including communication, performance evaluations, payment, and caddie flexibility, needed to be addressed.” Numerous clubs across the country have implemented technology for their caddie programs, including Beverly Country Club, Sunset Ridge Country Club, Skokie Country Club, Medinah Country Club, Charlotte Country Club, Plainfield Country Club, Ridgewood Country Club, Olympic Club, McArthur Golf Club, Old Memorial Golf Club, Crooked Stick Golf Club, Co52


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Dave Doherty is CEO and founder of the International Sports Turf Research Center, Inc. (ISTRC) and holds three patents regarding the testing of sand- and soil-based greens. He can be reached at (913) 706-6635 or via email:

There Is Always an Answer If we follow the path where useful science leads us, there is always an answer. Recently I looked at some of the reports I wrote some 20 years ago, and in so doing realized how far we have come since those early days regarding the physical properties of sports turf root zones. In the early 1990s, we assumed that the larger the tine hole we punched in our greens the more effective the process of aerifying would be. I wrote reports in which I stated that because of the condition of the root zones, we needed to use three-quarter and one-inch hollow tines to start on the path to a balanced (physical properties) root zone. Boy was I wrong, and I take this opportunity to apologize to every superintendent. During that time, I presented an ISTRC physical properties report to a superintendent in the New England area of the United States. His comment to me upon my finishing my diagnosis was that it was the most comprehensive physical properties report he had ever read, but it was useless to him in the real world. The report indicated that he needed a displacement of 20 percent of surface area to a depth of three inches over the next 12 months to begin the reconstruction effort, which his greens needed. With the equipment he had, this would require six disruptive aerifications (in the early ‘90s, most aerification equipment had fixed spacing), which was unacceptable for the club and its members. The realization that there was a tremendous gap between scientific data and real-world application hit me rather hard, to say the least. The line of thinking (science research) that followed to solve this dilemma was to reduce the spacing between the holes, which would result in greater displacement using the same size tines. Example: ½’’ hollow tines on 2.5” spacing = a displacement of 3.14 percent ½’’ hollow times on 1.5” spacing = a displacement of 8.73 percent This science research and the embracing of smaller spacing between tines led to a revolution in our thinking of how to use the tool of aerification to help achieve balanced physical properties. I believe you would be hard-pressed today to find a piece of new aerification equipment that does not have variable spacing. What led to this industry change? Science research based on needs from the real world would be my guess.



This science research has allowed us to understand that we can use smaller tines on tighter spacing and achieve better results regarding displacement amounts, with less heal time, resulting in less lost cash flow due to the heal time of the holes. By conducting science research on bent grass greens in the Midwest part of the United States, we found that by using 3/8s and ½-inch tines on tighter spacing we displaced almost twice as much material and reduced heal time for the holes from 10-plus days for 5/8s-inch tines to less than six days for the smaller 3/8s and ½-inch tines. 5/8“ tines on 2.5” spacing provides a displacement of 4.91 percent and 10-plus days for heal time (Average) ½“ tines on 1.5” spacing provides a displacement of 8.73 percent and less than six days’ heal time (Average) 3/8” tines on 1.25” spacing provides a displacement of 7.07 percent and less than six days’ heal time (Average) Science research based on real-world needs is helping us in the sports turf industry to provide better playing surfaces at less cost than five short years ago. Maybe one of the most exciting science research projects for us now and in the future is the injecting of oxygen through the gravel of our greens and athletic fields up into the root zone, enabling our plants to breathe. B R



Bonnie J. Knutson, PhD, is a people watcher. A professor in The School of Hospitality Business, Broad College of Business, Michigan State University, Dr. Knutson is a member of the Country Club of Lansing and the Michigan Athletic Club. She can be reached via email:

My Favorite Day of the Year It seems everyone has a favorite day of the year. For some, it is a holiday; for others, it is an anniversary, and for still others, it is a birthday. I am like a lot of folks in that I love the festivities and joy of the Christmas or Hanukkah season. And being born on Flag Day, anything that has the Red, White and Blue connected with it is at the top of my list – July Fourth, Patriot’s Day, Memorial Day, and Veterans Day, which began as Armistice Day, marking the end of World War I on the 11th day of the 11th month, at the 11th hour. But I also have another favorite day – June 9. Why June 9? Well, it is National Donald Duck Day. I have always loved Donald because I related more to that feathered character than to his legendary colleague, Mickey Mouse. (I think Mickey has a better press agent.) So you can imagine how happy I was to learn that Donald is honored with his own national day and got his own star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame in 2004. Plus, it has given me an opportunity to host a unique event that family and friends look forward to because it is fresh and fun. In the marketing world, we call it breaking thru the clutter. As Michel Roux, often called “The Godfather of Restaurant Cuisine,” purportedly said, “If you are not breaking through the clutter, you are contributing to it.” Anyone in the club world knows that while our members value club traditions, they are worldly, experienced, and welcome innovative club experiences or fresh approaches to time-worn events. To get your creative juices going, the educator in me has an assignment for you. Take time to scroll through Calendar at a Glance - National Day Calendar. The website lists hundreds of national days, weeks and months, and it is a gold mine for ideas that you can use to refresh existing events at your club and/or develop new ones to generate interest and excitement among your members. For instance, you can use it to build an annual theme for monthly or quarterly events/menus in your dining room. Winter could feature Hot Pastrami Sandwich Day (Jan. 14) or Soup Day (Feb. 4). You could even have a fun day, particularly if you are a southern club, with Ice Cream for Breakfast Day (Feb. 5). Spring brings opportunities for New Beer’s Eve (April 5) or Make Lunch Count Day (April 13) and Eat What You 56


Want Day (May 11), when members could justifiably indulge themselves. Moving on to the summer season, June gives an opening to celebrate healthy eating with Eat Your Vegetables Day (June 17), which also happens to be Stewart’s Root Beer Day, Apple Strudel Day, and Cherry Tart Day. And in autumn, unique openings could come from Noodle Day (Oct. 1) and Chocolate Covered Pretzel Day (Oct. 7). A real “winner” is the day set aside to honor Pizza With the Works Except Anchovies (Nov. 12). In addition to ideas for your food and beverage offerings, this website can generate inspiration for member events, giving members another purpose for coming to their club. What about celebrating Jan. 28 with Have Fun at Work Day, which is also Kazoo Day and Big Wig Day. What an opportunity to keep the activity level of the holiday season going into the new year. ➤


The Story: Marketing guru Jon Spolestra reminds us that the next time you get asked what is new at your club, your answer can be, “A lot and it is exciting!” When something is new, it becomes a story to Your club can likewise take advantage of natell – by you and by your members. And this creates word-of-mouth tional celebrations such as First Ladies Day advertising. (How the day was started by Marian McQuade and institu(June 2), (don’t forget National Donald Duck tionalized by Congress.) Day!) and Wife Appreciation Day (Sept. 18). The Surprise: This is my favorite way of spawning excitement, enUse Nov. 1 to put a fresh twist on the traditional gagement, and member value. The concept of the surprise is embodied book club since that combines Author’s Day and in a marketing term, lagniappe. This is the idea of the baker’s dozen, Family Literacy Day. where you get a 13th cookie when you only buy a dozen. Surprise has To give you an example of how an unheralded national day (or week, or month) celebration could often been called the foundation of delight. It is the unexpected. It is the Deliver+1 that is talked about in the book “Raving Fans.” (An unexbe utilized at your club, consider Grandparents’ pectedly fresh approach). Day. Virtually every club celebrates Mother’s So, when you are looking for inspiration, complete the assignment Day with brunches and Father’s Day with cookouts. Few celebrate Grandparents’ Day. After all, I gave you and spend some time scrolling through all the possibilities what is the most important thing to grandparents? you and your team can find and develop from the vast catalog of our national days of celebration. I’m sure you will have an endless list of Their grandchildren, of course. ideas. Your bottom line will thank you. B R Did you know there is an official Grandparents’ Day? It falls on Sept. 11 this year. Marian McQuade of Oak Hill, WV has been recognized as the founder of Grandparents’ Day. It was her goal to educate the youth in the community about the important contributions seniors have made throughout history. She also urged the youth to “adopt” a grandparent, not just for one day a year, but rather for a lifetime. In 1977, Congress passed legislation proclaiming the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents’ Day, and on Aug. 3, 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed the proclamation. The statute cites the day’s purpose: “ honor grandparents, to give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children’s children, and to help children become aware of strength, information, and guidance older people can offer.” “A Song for Grandma and Grandpa,” by Johnny Prill, is the official song of Grandparents’ Day. The flower of Grandparents Day is the forget-me-not. A beautiful part about capitalizing on these national celebration days, weeks, and months is that you can take advantage of three pillars for building member excitement, engagement, and positive word-of-mouth advertising – secret, story, surprise. from Membership Musings | 56

The Secret: When you know something that others don’t know, you feel special, more in-theknow, more connected with what is happening. When members can pass this nugget of information along to others, it strokes their egos. And when you can stroke members’ egos by letting them in on a secret that they can share, you are giving them a no-cost gift. (The song and flower for Grandparents’ Day.) 58


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FRANK CORDEIRO Frank Cordeiro, CCM, is chief operating officer of Colonial Country Club, Fort Worth, TX. He can be reached via email:


Sustaining Thoughtful Strategy and Continuity For Transient Governance with Your Membership’s Voice of governance where members can engage, contribute and make meaningful contributions. For corporations that follow quality governance, the articulate and most Secondly, a deliberate attempt to engage powerful voice is the chairman/chief executive officer, founder/owner or members through member research with surpresident. Strategy is clearly defined and understood. veys, focus groups and committees helps keep The corporate model is dynamic and adaptable, but change is anticipated and leadership in sync with member thinking. measured. A dynamic strategy is necessary and common, but usually, refinements Finally, a formal, published strategic plan – in strategy are accompanied by consistency and continuity in senior leadership. based on the results from the member research In member clubs, once the strategy is articulated by the current sitting – should be approved by the membership thus board, it can change with the next board, the next president, the next mangiving members yet another opportunity to ager or an influential member with an agenda. engage with leadership and to set the direction, Yes, unlike in the corporate setting, it’s common in clubs to have changes in strategy and vision of the club. strategy occur because of changes in leadership. This would not work in a real The other more operational and tactical debusiness. And, by the way, private clubs are a real business. cisions, such as dues, annual capital and pricThe membership is the most consistent force at private clubs. Members ing, are informed by the strategic plan, and are transition over decades, not annually. With skin in the game, the membership the responsibility of management, with board typically provides over half the operating budget through annual dues. Foroversight. Policy development, member discimally ask members a thoughtful question or for an important decision and pline, and chief operating officer oversight are they will collectively provide a thoughtful answer. the responsibility of the board. Membership-first governance is hard work for the board and the proThese exist in a collaborative, commitfessionals. It requires rigorous debate, accountability, study and wisdom in tee-supported structure, whereby commitdecision making. Done well, it dramatically increases the odds for quality outtees are a sounding board and a resource to comes and culture. the other stakeholders. The above example Which voice is the most important voice at your club? The one-year presidemonstrates that each stakeholder has an dent’s voice? The current sitting board? The professionals? The membership? important and meaningful role; the key is to Governance comes in many forms and levels of complexity. Fundamentally, maintain discipline and resist the temptation however, governance is simple: Who makes the decision and who is accountof overlap and interference. able? In a club, the primary stakeholders are the members, the board and the A long-term outlook supported by a memprofessionals. The board and the professionals must understand their role is ber-approved strategic plan is necessary for to seek data from the membership at large and allow that data, along with inseveral reasons. It ensures that the questions dustry data, to drive strategy and inform decisions. applied to the decision matrix are the right Most of the controversies and failings occurring in the club industry stem questions. Annual goals and objectives and from a misunderstanding of which stakeholders are responsible for what. long-range strategic initiatives arise from the Who makes the myriad important decisions in your club on issues such as approved plan and not the crisis du jour, not dues, capital, policy, operations, risk, and strategy? Who decides? Who is the professional’s pet project, not an influenaccountable and to whom? These are common questions faced by businesses tial member’s or director’s agenda, and not and clubs, and clarity and alignment are a must. from a committee member’s complaint or anHere are some simple ways to ensure that members aren’t just paying dues ecdotal dining experience. but helping guide the club’s leadership. First, a roles-and-responsibilities Remember, stakeholders are serving at the matrix is a helpful tool, and developing one is a productive exercise. List the pleasure of the membership, and the memberimportant questions on one axis, list the stakeholders on the other and detership-approved strategic plan is the best source mine who is responsible and accountable for each primary category of decifor informing which questions to ask and how sion making. best to answer them. The boxes in the matrix will vary by club based on your size, organizational SEE GOVERNANCE | 120 structure and culture. This provides members with clarity on the various areas

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ROBERT SERECI Robert A Sereci, CCM is GM/COO of Medinah Country Club, located in Medinah, IL. He can be reached at (630) 438-6825, or via email:


The Four Biggest Board Misconceptions After 30 years in the club profession, having worked in nine clubs and with many club boards and presidents, I have found four common board misconceptions. “We are an exclusive club.” If I were to get a quarter every time a board member said these words, I would have been a member of an exclusive club by now. There is something seductive about being exclusive. Using the word as a marketing ploy is one thing, but genuinely believing you are exclusive is different when you are not. While I don’t have empirical data, I would guess that less than five percent of private clubs are genuinely exclusive. So, what are exclusive clubs? In my opinion, they are selective about who joins, and typically no amount of money will guarantee you a spot on the membership roster. They exist to serve the needs of the owner, or the members, first and foremost. Exclusive clubs are not welcoming to guests and outsiders. They rarely host tournaments or private parties. Conversely, if you host member-sponsored weddings, host outside tournaments, and welcome a significant number of guests, then it is implausible that you are an exclusive club. Even a $300,000 initiation fee doesn’t necessarily make you exclusive. It simply means you are expensive. “We are different from all the other clubs.” If you want to see club consultants roll their eyes, suggest that your club is “different from the others.” The truth is almost every club has more in common with peer clubs than boards want to admit. It’s odd how board members insist that their clubs are different yet repeatedly ask management to get data and facts on what other clubs are doing. If your club is so different, why does it matter what others are doing? The reality is that clubs have a “herd mentality.” They are slow on the uptake but ultimately follow the herd once there is momentum. However, the more significant issue is that comparison is the thief of happiness. Boards are more interested in comparing what other clubs have or are doing instead of enjoying their club. “We want and expect excellence.” If you read random mission statements of clubs around the country, there is a high probability that you will come across one or more of these words: excellence, premier, or world-class. Using these words has associated challenges. To begin with, understanding how the definition gets put into practice is challenging. The metrics are subjective, so seeking agreement on the implementation is nearly impossible. My definition of excellence is consistently doing a lot of ordinary things well. Second, wanting and expecting excellence is one thing – funding it is yet another. Few clubs can afford to fund excellence throughout the club. Do you have world-class employees and services throughout your club? To be a world-class club, you also need world-class members. 62


Finally, the people you expect to deliver the world-class services or products most likely have never experienced world-class food or service. My guess is that 80 percent or more of your employees do not know how excellence looks or feels. Most employees have never stayed at a Four Seasons hotel, dined at a Michelin five-star restaurant, or played a golf round on a course like Augusta National. Given they have not, is it possible for them to consistently deliver something they have never witnessed or experienced? “We know how to run a private club.” Of the many board misconceptions, this one has the potential to be the most damaging by causing operational harm. Like many of us, board members suffer from the curse of perceived knowledge. They typically have personal expertise only in their field. Unfortunately, it is often this expertise that prevents them from fully understanding the club business. They repeatedly try to apply their industry knowledge to the not-for-profit club environment. While clubs are also businesses, their guiding principles differ from those of a typical for-profit company. Another issue is that the job of a club GM/ COO is deceptively simple. It is a challenging job that requires expertise. We would never hire a chef who hasn’t previously been a cook nor a superintendent who doesn’t have education and experience in agronomy. So, why would a club board assume it can run a club without the required knowledge, experience, and expertise? B R

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CMAA’s 2022 World Conference and Club Business Expo

The waters have been choppy and the path uncertain, but the club industry has emerged stronger and more resilient. In this new landscape, the Club Management Association of America World Conference and Club Business Expo returns to its in-person format for 2022. Club management professionals from around the world will chart their course for San Diego, CA, Feb. 19-23, and gather again at the only event focused on the business of running a club. Held annually, CMAA’s World Conference offers club management professionals an unparalleled educational experience. From access to stellar business and industry experts, networking opportunities, interactive forums, and the latest innovations at the Club Business Expo, the event paves the way for the continued advancement of the club industry. The two-day Club Business Expo, Feb. 21 and Feb. 22, allows you to explore products and services offered by more than 270 companies showcasing industry-leading trends and innovations. Attendees can research and secure solutions for their biggest challenges and meet face-to-face to discuss potential purchases. Nearly every product and service that a club management professional could purchase for his or her club is showcased in the Expo. Five general sessions will be offered daily and showcase leading business and brand professionals, including business growth expert Jeff Havens; basketball legend, broadcaster, humanitarian and survivor Bill Walton; futurist and transformative tech pioneer Nichol Bradford; and brand builder and “Chief Troublemaker” Dustin Garis. More than 60 concurrent sessions will be presented by industry and business experts, including Ginny Clarke, holistic leadership strategist and former director of executive recruiting at Google, and Frank DeAngelis, retired principal of Columbine High School. These sessions will explore the complex challenges facing today’s club management professionals 64


– recruiting and hiring talent in a competitive market; using technology to improve member service; meeting and exceeding unprecedented member interest and demand; and more. In 2021, CMAA pivoted to present its World Conference and Club Business Expo virtually using the latest remote event technology. Building on that success and continued member interest in remote education, CMAA will offer a 2022 virtual registration option that provides access to six live daily general and education sessions for club management professionals who cannot attend in person. Beyond the education sessions, club management professionals connect formally and informally during a full slate of activities in San Diego. The Networking Event will be a oneof-a-kind evening on the streets of the Gaslamp Quarter, an iconic San Diego attraction. Start the week with The Club Foundation Golf Tournament at the Coronado Golf Course and stay fit with the Club Love Fun Run/Walk along the waterfront. Wrap up the week at The Club Foundation After Dark. The connections made at the World Conference and other CMAA events are invaluable. As we’ve all faced significant challenges over the past 18 months, our professional networks have become instrumental in our ability to adapt and thrive. The CMAA World Conference and Club Business Expo lets you create, reconnect with, and rekindle your professional connections. For the latest information and full schedule of events, please visit B R Brian Kroh, CCM, is chairman of CMAA; Jeff Morgan, FASAE, CAE is president and CEO, 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. CMAA members contribute to the success of more than 2,500 country, golf, athletic, city, faculty, military, town, and yacht clubs. CMAA’s objectives 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

How will you fund your next major capital renovation plan?

As member assessments become increasingly unwelcome, clubs around the country are considering other funding sources.

Scan the QR code below to watch how a top member-owned club in Colorado leveraged Concert Golf Partners to complete their $5.0m+ renovation plan and breathe new life into the club.




Bill Boothe is president and owner of The Boothe Group, LLC, an independent consulting firm that helps clubs understand computer technology, make good decisions and receive the highest value from their technology investment. Bill can be reached at

A Quick Study of Your Club Management Software Over the years, I’ve written articles encouraging club managers to up their technology game. The driving principle of those articles has been simple: The CEO of any complex organization should understand technology basics to properly oversee all the various functional departments. Of course, gaining the necessary knowledge to become “tech savvy” can be a bit tricky, since there is no formal technology education available for club managers. So, here’s an alternative to formalized education that should help you gain a basic understanding of the major software applications being used in each club department. The idea is to observe this software in action and learn from that observation. Let’s start with what you should observe. Dining point of sale – Start by having your dining POS champion (the staff person most knowledgeable about operating this software) show you these operations: • Opening a member check and viewing member information • Ringing in menu items, modifiers and special instructions • Sending orders to the kitchen and bar • Splitting checks by seat and by item • Closing a member check • Adding food and beverage items and modifiers to the menu • Running item and member sales reports • Reviewing the orders printed in the kitchen with the chef. If you’re like most club managers, you’re now asking yourself, “Why should I do this? I’m not running the POS system. That’s the job of my F&B staff.” True, this is not your direct responsibility. But the more you know about the software being used in each club department, the better prepared you will be to deal with situations like: • Employees blaming the software for various errors or missteps (real or covering for their own shortcomings?) • Staff pushing for “new and improved software” (is it really needed?) • Board members suggesting “software improvement and efficiencies” (realistic or “pie in the sky”?). The point here is this: If you don’t know the basics of how your club’s software operates, you’re dependent on someone else’s opinions. And that can be troublesome, if not downright dangerous. Let’s keep going. Banquets and catering – Work with your champion to review: • Booking a banquet/meeting room • Creating a BEO/function sheet 66


• • • •

Creating a member contract and invoice Posting charges to member accounts Adding food and beverage as well as service items to the menu Running sales and forecasting reports.

Golf/tennis shop POS and inventory – Work with your champions to review: • Opening a member check and viewing member information • Ringing in sales items (merchandise and services) • Closing a member check • Adding inventory and services items to the menu • Running category, item, service and member sales reports • Receiving inventory and taking physical inventory counts. Accounting – Work with your champion to review: • How the annual budget is constructed • How monthly financial reports are constructed and produced • How account expense details can be analyzed • How revenue and expense budget variances are tracked and reported • How payroll costs are tracked and how payroll budget variances can be predicated. Lodging – Work with your champion to review: • How reservations are made – online by members and by in-house staff • How members/guests are checked in and out • How folios are designed and produced • How room rates are created and managed • How yield management and RevPAR operate. Of course, there are a number of other departments within your club that are not addressed above. I trust that you can use your imagination and experience to create the needed review lists for those departments. The bottom line: Many club managers feel safe in leaving technology decisions to their accounting staff and/or their IT staff/outsourced service provider. That can be a perilous approach since today’s technologies touch the members directly in so many ways. Beef up your tech quotient by spending some time reviewing with your staff. You’ll be better prepared to make good technology decisions and your staff will appreciate that you cared enough to learn from them. BR


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TREVOR COUGHLAN Trevor Coughlan is vice president, marketing, Jonas Club Software. He can be reached via email:


Putting Technology to Work

How Tech Is Helping Some Clubs Through the Labor Shortage A topic that’s going to be popular at this year’s club conferences is the current labor shortage, which is being felt far and wide throughout the hospitality industry. Restaurants, hotels and private clubs are scrambling to add staff and are making significant sacrifices in the process. Key staff members are being asked to do more than ever, risking job fatigue, and heroic efforts are becoming commonplace to service members. Many clubs are turning to technology solutions to help. MEMBER SELF-SERVICE Technology adoption at clubs over the past 24 months has moved at an unforeseen pace and much of it has placed more tech directly into the hands of members. By providing members with more opportunities to selfserve, demand on frontline staff is lessened. The time dining room staff spend managing reservations is decreased because members are now able to make and manage reservations online or via their club app. The same can be said for almost all club facilities, including courts, fitness classes, club events, room reservations, pickup or delivery orders, and service-provider appointments, such as massage or personal training. Every time you allow members to manage the booking process themselves, it frees up a staff member to refocus their efforts where needed. Grab-and-go kiosks are also gaining in popularity. These new kiosks are popping up in locker rooms, outside of fitness facilities, and at the halfway house on busy golf courses. Much like the Amazon Go shopping experience, members pick out an item, scan a barcode or select the item type from an onscreen display and charge the item to their member account. Again, all without the need for staff to be on hand to administer. 68


OPERATIONAL EFFICIENCIES Member self-service can only go so far — unless you’re planning to have members grill their own steak — so clubs are also turning to technology offerings that can help them find efficiencies. One of the most time-consuming tasks for departmental managers is staff scheduling. The process of creating schedules, tracking vacation requests, balancing overtime and emergency shift coverage makes employee scheduling both a time-consuming and frustrating process. As a result, many clubs are turning to employee scheduling technology to help manage these processes. Popularized in the retail and restaurant industries for years, and recently making headlines in a nationwide rollout at Target stores, employee scheduling systems allow managers to create and copy weekly schedules, easily manage overtime and integrate with payroll vendors of choice. Often considered a premium feature with many employee scheduling systems, mobile app add-ons are where some of the best efficiencies can be found. These employee scheduling apps install directly on staff devices and allow managers to quickly publish available shifts to qualifying staff, eliminating the back and forth communications normally associated with filling shifts at the last minute. These apps also allow for staff to clock in/out and for managers to communicate directly with workers. All of this creates greater flexibility for staff and less burden on managers. Clubs are also seeking efficiencies in their kitchens. With many clubs operating on a skeleton culinary team, club chefs are some of the most likely to be affected by burnout. There have been stories everywhere of chefs getting creative and even leaning on family members to fill service gaps in their kitchens. Many clubs were already trying to streamline kitchen operations with kitchen display systems, but with current pressures, these systems are becoming more and more popular. Kitchen display systems replace printed tickets with flat-screen monitors mounted above kitchen stations for staff to easily read orders. This eliminates the chance of losing a printed ticket or even destroying it in the often frantic environment of a professional kitchen. Kitchen display systems also come loaded with features such as recipe notes to help new staff get up and running quickly, as well as item timing alerts so staff know when to fire specific items to ensure all plates arrive at the pass simultaneously. The technologies mentioned here are a highlight reel of what is available for clubs facing workforce challenges. Many other efficiencies can be found through streamlined staff training practices, enhanced member billing and payment options, and outsourcing time-consuming processes, such as AP, payroll and HR. Technology is here to help. You just need to know where to look. B R

JEREMY HOCH Jeremy Hoch is principal, Anchor Consulting Services, Inc. He can be reached via email:


Making Data-Driven Decisions Clubs spend an astounding number of hours entering information into their club management system but very little time analyzing the data to make business decisions. For many clubs, satisfying the reporting needs of managers, board members and stakeholders can be an intimidating and daunting task. Most often, these reports are printed on paper or exported to Excel for additional manipulation. Business intelligence (BI) and data analytics have been around for many years and are finally making their way into the club industry. Most club management software providers now have excellent BI offerings, and there are third-party options as well. A few years ago, the software alone for a custom BI project would cost at least $25,000. Today, you can use powerful tools built right into Excel (pivot tables, Power Query and Power Pivot). You can also explore Microsoft Power BI, which is free to download. With the vast online community of Power BI enthusiasts and resources, you can create some stunning dashboards from your existing Excel files in a matter of minutes. Some forward-thinking clubs are starting to embrace tools such as Power BI tied right into their club management software, eliminating the need for human intervention and Excel sheets altogether (imagine that!). Once you tap into your data, the possibilities are endless. Gone are the days of printing and exporting reports and sending them via email for review. Whoever wants the data simply opens the dashboard, and it’s there. Without any involvement, the data is continually refreshed. The implementation around a project like this starts by creating a data culture at your club. Managers and stakeholders should determine which key performance indicators and metrics they want to monitor and measure to make smarter business decisions. Marius Ilie, GM/COO of the Glen Oaks Club in Old Westbury, NY, has been making data-driven decisions for over a year with Power BI. “There is no training or orientation when a new general manager arrives at a club,” said Ilie, who joined the Glen Oaks Club in 2020. “As soon as I got to Glen Oaks, we implemented Power BI, and I started the season with great historical information, allowing me to jump in and start making educated decisions right away. I can now monitor the performance of the club and make decisions in real time instead of waiting for the financial reports at month-end.” “It doesn’t matter what club management system my club uses,” said Ryan Kenny, general manager of the Dedham 70


Country & Polo Club in Dedham, MA, which uses Quip for BI. “These business intelligence tools today bring the data together from multiple sources, allowing me to identify trends and spot areas of opportunity without burdening my staff with report-writing requests.” “As soon as I saw Power BI, I knew this was the right solution for my club,” said Jonathon Goodman, chief financial officer of Lost Tree Club in North Palm Beach, FL. “Our managers now have access to real-time sales, revenue and utilization data in ways they have never seen before. Once we started giving them access to the data, they were hooked.” The initial goal of any BI project should be to eliminate repetitive/mundane tasks and automate the club’s data-gathering needs. When starting, the question is not what reports do I want? It’s what questions do I want answered? The latter allows the staff to be creative with their requests and analyze pertinent data to deliver an exceptional operational and member experience. Here are some of the most frequent answers clubs seek from BI tools: 1. How does my labor cost compare to revenue? 2. Are my new members engaged? 3. Are my top-selling F&B items profitable? 4. How are we operating compared to budget and forecast? 5. Should we increase/decrease hours of operations in our outlets (covers, sales and labor)? 6. Does our usage warrant an expansion of the fitness (or tennis) center? The opportunities are endless once you start analyzing your data. Some of the most common areas to explore are financial reports, budget comparisons, payroll/labor, cover counts, product/menu mix, server productivity, top/bottom spenders, rounds of golf, amenity utilization, demographics, membership mapping and weather trends. Embracing a data culture at your club can start today. Don’t be overwhelmed with the options; instead, start analyzing your current data and build on that as your team embraces the technology and solutions. Until now, clubs have focused on results looking backward. Now we can see data in real time, and BI products are starting to offer excellent predictive modeling, eventually allowing your club to “peek around the corner” to see what the future may hold. Being equipped with this information allows for some game-changing data-driven decisions. BR


BIGGEST GAME OF YOUR LIFE WITHOUT A GAME-PLAN Whether you’re a new General Manager or a 20-year veteran, you were hired for your vision. But do you have the right playbook to make sure that vision is carried out? For over 25 years, Toni Shibayama has worked with General Managers of dozens of Private Clubs to ensure that their plan — their vision — is utilized to its full potential. From the hiring process, to building a winning team, to avoiding outside influences that can damage a Club’s reputation, Toni’s The Private Club General Manager’s Big Game Playbook is sure to be a game-changer.

ORDER TODAY! “Toni Shibayama has taken a simple and comprehensive sports model to decipher one of the most difficult components of managing and leading your club. Human capital has become the key identifier in building a winning team and club. Toni’s step by step process will help you navigate the maze of risks, leverage opportunities for building a winning culture resulting in the ultimate member experience.” — Matthew Allnatt, GM & COO, Jonathan Club, Santa Monica, CA Toni Shibayama

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Distinguished Clubs Showcase While we can all learn from our peer clubs and leaders in our industry, this series of articles in The BoardRoom Magazine focuses on great ideas from our BoardRoom Distinguished Clubs (yacht, athletic, city and golf/country clubs) and their leadership teams. These Distinguished Clubs not only excel at the level of their member service/experience, but they are also experts with their governance, the intangible qualities of a club, the quality of their products and the care and replacement of their facilities. The BoardRoom Distinguished Clubs program is the only merit-based award for private clubs. This esteemed designation is determined by an impartial formulaic assessment and an onsite tour and interviews, rather than a mere peer-based vote of industry insiders. In this issue, we’re featuring Addison Reserve Country Club of Delray Beach, FL; Grosse Pointe Yacht Club, Grosse Pointe Shores, MI and the Detroit Athletic Club, Detroit, MI. Ronald Banaszak, CCM, CCE, currently General Manager of thehouse, Newport Beach, CA, and BoardRoom Distinguished Club Executive Vice President of International Business Development, is writing these articles for BoardRoom magazine. Ron has more than 25 years of experience as a GM in private clubs, and 35 years’ experience in the hospitality industry. Ron may be contacted at (415) 420-5183 or



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West Bay Club Estero, Florida



Ronald Banaszak, CCM, CCE, BoardRoom Distinguished Club Executive Vice President of International Business Development. Ron may be contacted at (415) 420-5183 or

A Culture of Pride and Success Gives Addison Reserve a Luxury Lifestyle When one drives through the gates of Addison Reserve Country Club, they are immersed in the luxury lifestyle of South Florida living.

True to the inspiration of the vision of famed Florida architect Addison Mizner, the community and club welcome members to an unparalleled experience of tradition combined with an active social and athletic lifestyle. The 653-acre property in Boca Raton, FL, is the home to 717 single-family residences, nestled among three Arthur Hills championship golf courses and winding lakes. Mizner believed that “the intersection of man and nature could benefit the former without harming the latter.” This unique focus on the environment is one of the main reasons Addison Reserve, a BoardRoom Distinguished Club, has recaptured the elegant early style of Florida living. The influence of Addison Mizner is apparent throughout the prestigious community, Mediterranean-inspired clubhouse and Esplanade lifestyle complex. Michael McCarthy, CEO and GM, one of the best in our industry, leads this fantastic property. With more than 35 years of private club management experience, Michael brings not only tenure and experience, but he has also developed a culture of family and respect at Addison Reserve. SUPERIOR AMENITIES

Addison Reserve has recently completed the long-awaited clubhouse renovation project. The newly renovated 70,000 square foot clubhouse features the stYr lounge and terrace with an indoor and outdoor bar and table seating; Taste dining room; two private dining rooms, the Vault, a magnificent wine room for intimate private dining; Men’s and Ladies’ Card Rooms, Media Center and Golf Shop. The cornerstone of the new 37,000 square-foot Lifestyle Complex is the free-form pool with dedicated lap lanes and beach entry. The two-story state-of-the-art fitness and tennis center, luxurious spa and sky-lit whirlpool, children’s activity and aqua area, and The Grill, a new casual dining restaurant, surrounds the pool. Waterfalls, a fire pit and concert green space are set among lush landscaping. The award-winning culinary team led by Executive Chef Peter Zoole ensures the optimum in your dining experience. Six dining venues offer something for everyone. “Dining at Addison Reserve is an exceptional private dining experience that rivals the best restaurants in our own backyard with personalized service, excellent cuisine and a global wine list that provides a feast for the senses with something for everyone,” sug74


gested Fred Bollaci, The Golden Palate blog and Travel Editor, VENU magazine, and a member since 2004. Designed by renowned golf architect Arthur Hills, the three nine-hole championship courses, Trepidation, Redemption and Salvation, combine beauty and challenge. The signature waterfall is the backdrop to a practice facility that includes a 9,500 square foot putting green, short game practice area and adjacent practice range. CULTURE OF PRIDE

Addison Reserve’s facilities and amenities are the finest in the world. Still, the brick-and-mortar of the club is empty and lifeless without the passion and dedication of the hundreds of employees that give it spirit. The employees are the club’s brand ambassadors. They’re the heart and soul, giving warmth, fun and happiness to their co-workers, members and guests. The club proudly states on its employment page of the website that it is an equal opportunity employer as well as its creed: “We are a ‘family’ that is committed to excellence in the way we service our membership. No matter what your position at the club, we provide a work atmosphere that is fun, supportive, and challenging. Come work for the best leaders in the industry.” Great pay and benefits are not enough to secure the best hospitality talent. Benefits such as competitive wages, paid sick, vacation and holiday time off, life insurance, excellent medical, dental, vision and supplemental benefits, with very little cost passed on to the employees, are standard. In addition, Addison Reserve takes this expression of appreciation to their employees to the next level. Employees are provided with a 401k with a 100 percent match. In addition, staff perks include daily meals for all staff at no cost to the employee, uniforms including shoes, staff parties and cultural events, golf privileges, employee gym and pro shop discounts. Anyone can offer compensation, benefits and perks as they are material things that can be purchased. However, welcoming employees into the Addison family and treating them as such sets Addison Reserve apart from others in the industry. This is taken seriously and is shown in the Addison Recruitment Video on the employment page of the club’s website, The club boasts it is a family first and foremost, with support for each other, especially in difficult times. We are all grappling with

the constantly changing COVID-19 situation and a tiny sliver of generosity might be just the kind of inspiration we could all use right now. Addison Reserve Board President Harvey P. Stein, BoardRoom’s Distinguished Private Club President for 2021, has committed to taking care of the staff, and, hopefully, setting an example of how one business can make a difference. So, with a generous pay and benefits package, superb training and orientation and myriad grateful offerings, here’s what Addison Reserve’s employees say about their home away from home.

“It is a tremendous source of pride for Addison Reserve to be a BoardRoom Distinguished Club because it validates all the benchmarks that we have put in place. It confirms that we are going in the right direction for the future. It spurs us on with our commitment to a continuous quality improvement process for service to our members.” Michael McCarthy, Addison Reserve Country Club CEO Yulieth, a 20-year employee in the accounting department, “is grateful for Addison Reserve. It has given me stability and I consider it to be my extended family. I’ve grown up here. I can always count on every one of her teammates.” She admires her boss, CFO, Dana Brush and enjoys helping the members. Kristin, 10 years at AR in food and beverage, states that what she enjoys most about working at Addison “is the family-type atmosphere with the team and the members. I have made many close friends over the past decade. I love what I am doing and love my extended Addison family.” Kristy, 10 years at AR in the fitness department, says her “favorite part about working at AR is interacting and getting to know the members.” In addition, she finds great satisfaction in helping people rehabilitate and push through their injuries to reach their goals of better health. “AR is like home and the members and team members are like family,” she said.

During times of crisis, we see who rises and exhibits the traits of a true leader. From the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, CEO McCarthy has embellished the role and has guided the board’s decision-making and actions, with only one thing in mind: How do we protect our members and employees? It’s an effort reinforced by President Stein. “My first communication with Michael usually begins at 4 a.m. each day and ends with another one at 11 p.m. We are all blessed to have him as our CEO.” During our interviews with the staff and members of Distinguished Clubs, we always ask for some words of advice. Here’s what Addison Reserve had to offer. “Listen, talk, listen some more!” This includes board members, members at large and, of course, our co-workers. The old saying, “We have two ears, and one mouth”, seems appropriate at this moment. “It is a tremendous source of pride for Addison Reserve to be a BoardRoom Distinguished Club because it validates all the benchmarks that we have put in place. It confirms that we are going in the right direction for the future. It spurs us on with our commitment to a continuous quality improvement process for service to our members,” concluded CEO Michael McCarthy. BR

RONALD BANASZAK Ronald Banaszak, CCM, CCE, BoardRoom Distinguished Club Executive Vice President of International Business Development. Ron may be contacted at (415) 420-5183 or


The Detroit Athletic Club

A Perfect Blend of Historical and Modern Cultures Detroit Athletic Club promise: Enriching people’s lives by In October 1940, DAC hosted a meeting that led to the creation of the “Ardelivering distinguished experiences that foster camara- senal of Democracy”; the club was dubbed “the GHQ” of the arsenal during the World War II. The Arsenal of Democracy was a phrase used by U.S. Presderie, fulfillment and will-being. ident Franklin D, Roosevelt, a year before the attack on Pearl Harbor, about The club’s purpose is to enrich people’s lives through the threat to national security and promised to help the United Kingdom by meaning full connections. DAC espouses the core values providing the UK with military supplies while the U.S. stayed out of World of excellence, respect, diversity, engagement, culture and War II. It was a call to arms for supporting the Allies in Europe. wholeness.

Founded in 1887, the Detroit Athletic Club (DAC) continues to play a major role in the history of Detroit and Michigan, as well as that of amateur and professional sports. This BoardRoom Distinguished Club has survived two World Wars, the Great Depression, and almost a century and a half of sports and technology changes and has flourished to become one of the most well-respected athletic clubs in the world. DAC is rich in heritage and possesses a visionary leadership to carry it through its next century of giving distinguished experiences to its members and guests. The second clubhouse built in 1915 and located in the heart of Detroit’s theater, sports, and entertainment district, sits across the street from Detroit’s historic Music Hall. The clubhouse, designed by Albert Kahn, one of Detroit’s most accomplished architects, was inspired by Rome’s Palazzo Farnese, and is also home to a fabulous historical art collection. The Detroit Athletic Club was founded by a group of privileged young men and later reborn by Henry Bourne Joy, the son of the man who built the Michigan Central Railroad and 108 other leading Detroit citizens who, in 1913, came together to reorient the club. The club’s membership roster reads like a who’s who of the history of the automobile with such famous names as William Durant, Henry Ford, Horace and John Dodge and Joy, who at one time served as president of the Packard Motor Company. In 1916, DAC members controlled 90 percent of the world’s automobile production. It is also where the Amateur Athletic Union of the United States was founded on January 21, 1888 and at one time, a consortium of DAC members purchased the Victoria Cougars and brought them to Detroit to become the Red Wings of the National Hockey League. 76


The club in earlier years also was a point of attraction for other U.S. leaders. “I really like to show people the picture just outside of the Abbey and the bowling center with President Wilson, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone standing in front of the building in 1916. It’s a photo from a salesmanship club meeting in 1916 and President Wilson is in front of the building with that distinguished group all standing around him (pictured above),” explained David A. Devine, the club’s first vice president. This lengthy history of giving back to the community and living the promise and vision of the club by hosting and facilitating great icons of the Detroit business world is only surpassed by the club’s desire to serve its members. Today, DAC offers members full-service athletic facilities, pools, restaurants, ballrooms, and guest rooms. This concept of heritage and member service is best explained by Charles Johnson, executive manager. “The long-standing traditions of the DAC are what make us tick, and at the forefront are engaged members. Our purpose revolves around meaningful connections, and when the club creates opportunities for those connections, we become stronger. “The manifestation of this is visible in our clubs within the club – where members get together around a particular activity. That becomes a com-

munity of its own. An engaged membership puts life into an otherwise empty facility,” he added. “We have an extremely talented and creative management team and that team, and I have a good and healthy relationship with the board. It’s a collaborative environment, where the board is receptive to ideas and direction from management while remaining focused on strategy and providing the club and management with the resources needed to be successful,” Johnson stressed. As the country revels in the new successes of Detroit, one can see the energy and promise of the city, by viewing it from the seventh floor of the clubhouse, a building home to a dedicated board of directors who lead the club with integrity and vision. “Any guests of mine would surely love a chance to partake in the culinary experience, especially from the rooftop venue where guests really enjoy our unique, 360-degree vantage point of the Detroit cityscape,” said Vito Gioia II, DAC’s second vice president. The Gallery and The Fresco (pictured below) were renovated in 2019 and have been cited for their architectural grandness. “The Gallery and The Fresco is a pretty special spot. I also like to show guests the 7th Floor with the Stadium Club and The Last Word - and then, of course, the bowling alley in the Abbey. I think those are pretty unique aspects of the club DAC that not too many other clubs have,“ explained David A. Devine, first vice president.

On October 12, 2021, the DAC opened its Wellness and Recovery Suite featuring a somadome (meditation pod) and cryotherapy and red-light therapy chambers. Members are also provided with foam rollers, percussion devices and compression boots for use in the gym areas. “One thing that we really need to make clear is that this isn’t just for elite athletes; it’s for individuals who have high-stress jobs as well. While you’re not necessarily recovering from a workout, you’re recovering from the amount of stress—physical, mental, and emotional stress of the day,” expressed the club’s athletic director Rob Barr. “The somadome, which uses light and color therapy in various combinations, can relax or energize you, depending on your goals. It resets your neural pathways to allow you to relax and be in the moment, as opposed to your mind always going 90 miles an hour. “Our cryo innovations chamber is like an ice bath on steroids and the Cryo Penguin applies targeted therapy to parts of the body. With both, the goal is simple: Stop inflammation – like an ice bath – without turning blue,” Barr added. Even with these fantastic and creative ideas, it really comes down to the people. Members enjoy some of the best networking opportunities, along with social events an outstanding athletic programming. “I think people join the DAC because of its amenities – everything it has to offer as far as the physical club. Once admitted, members come to know our amazing staff and their dedication to creating a memorable experience. But ultimately members will tell you it’s about the relationships they’ve developed, the quantity, quality and depth of those relationships and friendships. “These friendships are all centered around the DAC activities people are most passionate about. That’s what makes the place so special. We encourage new members to try an activity that is completely foreign to them because that’s the best way to meet new people and forge those new relationships,” offered vice-president Gioia II. “DAC is honored to be a BoardRoom Distinguished Club,” stressed executive manager Johnson. “Knowing that it is merit-based and focused on the member experience, it means so much to us to be considered among the best in the industry. Our members and staff are proud to be a Distinguished Club.” The DAC asl was the first hospitality organization ever to receive the Michigan Quality Council’s Michigan Quality Leadership Award, the highest honor for organizational excellence in the state. In 2020, the DAC was named one of Metropolitan Detroit’s Best and Brightest Companies to Work For the 21st consecutive year. It has also been named to the Detroit Free Press Top Workplaces list multiple times. The club’s chief executive also offered these wise words. “My only advice is to remember that the club and its member community are more important than any single person inside it. “It’s imperative to know what the club is about, understanding the culture of the club and what is important. With that insight, guiding operations and member relations while focusing on strategy and the future becomes much easier,” Johnson added. And of course, even with all the history, heritage and vision, this is what the DAC is all about. “We all treasure the people the most. The amenities, facilities and the food and everything are great, but it’s the chance to enjoy those things together that really make the DAC a special place,” concluded first VP, Devine. BR JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2022 | BOARDROOM




Ronald Banaszak, CCM, CCE, BoardRoom Distinguished Club Executive Vice President of International Business Development. Ron may be contacted at (415) 420-5183 or

Vision and Leadership at Grosse Point Yacht Club The Formula for Success

The members of the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club, located on the shore of Lake St. Clair in Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan, just minutes from Detroit, are focused on creating a year-round private club experience.

As a BoardRoom Distinguished Club, Grosse Pointe Yacht Club (GPYC) is dedicated to creating the perfect ‘home away from home’ for its members and guests. Vision combined with quality leadership is the formula for shortterm and long-term success. The Grosse Pointe Yacht Club board of directors and members have spent the last few years developing and implementing their Vision 2026. The road map for success the club has created is fostering improved facilities and amenities and enhancing a culture and environment for growth and success. Vision 2026: As a result of member surveys and focus groups, the GPYC board of directors created a multi-phased initiative. The objectives are (1) to establish a sufficient capital reserve to assure long-term preservation and revitalization of the facilities and grounds; (2) fund and execute high priority improvements projects, and (3) increase the value and quality of the GPYC member experience. Some high-priority projects have been completed, including the renovation of the reception area and two of the three dining rooms. World-renowned architect Patrick J. Ahearn ( redesigned the areas with a nautical theme. A major harbor renovation is underway and will be completed in time for the 2022 boating season. Renovations include the replacement of five docks, a new bridge, new fuel pumps. “We are thrilled to finally deliver these harbor renovations that our members have been requesting for years. Not only will the new docks



make for safer walking surfaces for our members, but they will be more durable against the constantly changing water levels in Lake St. Clair,” said general manager Aaron Wagner (pictured below).


How has so much been accomplished? How is it possible for a club to create a synergy of the players that creates an environment where great daily operations and long-term vision are created? Well, it’s a well-known formula the GPYC has mastered. The GPYC board has focused on strategic planning and governance excellence through which the board understands its role and allows its management team to handle the day-to-day operations. This creates the high level of member service, which is recognized by the Distinguished Club status. This synergy is fostered by quality communication and a healthy working relationship between the general manager and the commodore (president) and the board. In short, the club operates with the roles of a private club board of directors as outlined by Dick Kopplin, principal with Kopplin Kuebler & Wallace, one of the industry’s premier consulting services.

1. Approve membership applications/resignations. 2. Review/approve the club’s financial statements. 3. Establish and review the club’s strategic plan, policies, objectives, goals and ensure compliance. 4. Give a monthly report to the committee chairperson. 5. Hire/terminate the GM/COO. The roles of the general manager and the management team are: 1. Work with the committees to implement the strategic plan, policies, objectives and goals set by the board. 2. Manage the club’s capital and operating budgets. 3. Recruit, hire, terminate, orientate and train all club employees. 4. Ensure federal, state and local governmental code/law compliance. 5. Provide trends, data, and historical information for the board to make quality, fact-based decisions, and 6. Define the club’s issues/challenges, and produce solutions General manager Aaron Wagner also has some great advice for upcoming and new GMs in the private club industry. “Many times, you hear that a GM is a ‘numbers guy’ or a ‘social butterfly’ in the dining room. Or they are specifically well versed in facilities. It’s wonderful that everyone has their unique talents, but I always recommend that new managers try to know a little about a lot, rather than know a lot about a little,” Wagner commented.

“In other words, you really need to understand the entire club and what makes it tick in every area. This helps you with your board relations as well. Your board wants to feel comfortable that their GM has a grasp on the entire operation. “One other tip I offer is that it is okay to say, ‘I don’t know, but I will find out.’ Always deal in facts and data if possible, and if you do not know the answer, use it as a learning experience,” Wagner added. If you ever could visit the GPYC (and this is possible through the Distinguished Club Network), be sure to ask the bartender for the club’s world-famous Hummer cocktail drink… a drink famous in the Detroit area and where each bar has its own version. BR


Finally! A Right Answer in the Debate Between “Best of Breed” and “Best in Suite” Technology But It’s Not What You’re Expecting

Your software platform is an important aspect of managing your club, so of course, you want the best. In years past, club management software selection would focus on identifying best of breed solutions. You would select the best standalone solution for a specific need, for example SpaSoft for spa and salon management, Aloha for food and beverage POS, or Opera for hotel management, and integrate it with the other solutions in your environment. With a best of breed approach, you get the best functionality, but with downsides. These solutions are often priced at a premium, leading to a higher total cost of ownership, especially when adding the costs to integrate disparate solutions. You would also need to work with multiple vendors, increasing the complexity of maintenance and support. Finally, with various systems connecting, data integrations can cause issues. These downsides have caused many clubs to move towards a single vendor platform in recent years. As opposed to a best of breed approach, working with a single vendor that offers a suite of integrated solutions is referred to as best in suite. The modules that come with the platform are implemented, even if they may lack some functionality possessed by the category leader. This approach comes with significant benefits that outweigh the downside of reduced functionality. Working with a single vendor simplifies maintenance and support. Selling through a full suite allows vendors to offer better pricing, so total cost of ownership is reduced. And the suite is integrated together, so information moves smoothly across the platform, bringing more cohesive data and better access to reporting insights. Now, there is a new approach which provides the benefits of a single platform solution without compromising functionality: in-suite best of breed. With this approach, the vendor incorporates best in class features as a module within an integrated suite. This is difficult to execute because it necessitates significant knowledge of the business needs, along with thorough research on the best of breed solutions. It also requires technical excellence and adherence to a design and development methodology that is repeatable and scalable. And of course, it takes time and money. Because of the steep requirements to accomplish in-suite best of breed solutions, few vendors have accomplished it, or even attempted to do so. 80


There is a next generation vendor providing in-suite best of breed solutions from inception. Cobalt Software is the newest product suite from a 30-plus year-old software development firm whose previous product line was acquired by a leading insurance software provider for nine figures. The company has invested significantly in product development, working for the past 5 years on building a suite of full featured, fully integrated solutions, where each module’s functionality is equivalent to the best in its class. Using a modern and user-focused approach, Cobalt has improved significantly on usability and interface design, so the solution is both beautiful and easy to use. And the company’s years of experience working with a demanding clientele of Fortune 500 companies has honed Cobalt’s excellence in support, which is U.S.-based and staffed by individuals with a background in the hospitality industry. Bill Boothe, founder and lead consultant at the Boothe Group, an independent technology consulting firm focused on private clubs, said, “We’ve long encouraged clubs to move away from a best of breed approach and towards working with one vendor. The benefits far outweigh any sacrifices in functionality you may encounter. Cobalt’s modules, especially those that typically get less attention in club technology, such as spa and fitness management, are directly competitive with the best solution in the category. And Cobalt’s business intelligence offering is a generation ahead of what you might expect. This allows clubs with specific needs to utilize a powerful solution, while maintaining a single vendor relationship and all the corresponding benefits, such as streamlined service and a lower total cost of ownership.” B R

GOOD-LOOKING, EASY, AND DOES IT ALL!? “Training new employees is a breeze. Cobalt is so intuitive it takes less than 15 minutes to learn how to use it.” Cobalt Client

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SCOTT McMARTIN To learn more about our acquisition approach for your club, please contact Scott McMartin, chief acquisition officer at


A Vibrant, Innovative Hospitality Company Delivering Quality Experiences Heritage Golf Group is a Virginia-based owner and operator of premier private, resort and daily fee golf facilities. Current ownership, led by President and CEO Mark Burnett, purchased Heritage in January 2020 with its collection of six owned golf courses. In just two short years, the company has grown to 18 clubs located in Virginia, Florida, Hilton Head, Westchester County, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Missouri and Wisconsin. With the executive team’s collective experience, the Heritage name has become synonymous with impeccable attention to detail, unparalleled leadership, and prestigious properties across the country. The company’s mission is to be a trusted and innovative hospitality company that delivers exceptional member service and guest experience. CAPITAL INVESTMENT STRATEGY Working with their clubs’ boards and committees to develop a capital plan that enhances the member experience, Heritage’s leadership team has been responsible for more than $750 million dollars of capital improvements at country clubs over their collective careers. In just two short years, Heritage has completed or has underway $25 million-plus in capital improvement projects at clubs throughout its current portfolio, with more to follow in 2022. The company is well-capitalized and is actively seeking to expand its portfolio of high-quality golf and lifestyle clubs throughout the United States. Heritage’s capital partner, KSL Capital (, has over $12 billion of successful travel and leisure investments along with a rich history in the golf and destination resort industries with an award-winning portfolio of legendary clubs and resorts. GROWTH STRATEGY Heritage Golf Group typically acquires new properties from a variety of owners, including real estate developers, private investors, member-owned clubs, financial institutions, resort hotel owners and others. Club Lifestyle Communities – Golf and lifestyle clubs within residential communities owned by developers, private investors and others seeking a confidential exit strategy with a proven, well-capitalized industry buyer. Member-Owned – Includes non-profit clubs and those seeking long-term lease agreements securing growth potential through strategic capital improvements, membership sales, programming creativity and professional operations. 82


Semi-Private & Premium Daily Fee – Properties in major strategic metropolitan markets offering a unique reciprocal membership platform. Lodging / HOA Amenity – Includes golf properties linked to the surrounding real estate including resort or conference centers or HOA communities looking to remove the financial burden of owning and operating their non-core golf assets.

THE HERITAGE COLLECTION A GROWING NETWORK OF CLUBS The Heritage Collection provides its full golf members exclusive reciprocal privileges at their growing roster of premier private and resort destination properties. This premium membership program is designed to deliver the consummate golf experience when members travel away from their home club. Heritage Golf Group’s prestigious network of golf properties have won numerous awards and continue to receive praise and rave reviews. “We are committed to creating thriving communities that our members and guests will share with their friends and family” says Mark Burnett, president and CEO. B R



Jason Herring and Julie Hawbaker are co-founders of SYZYGY Global, Inc., the largest designer and installer of residential and commercial outdoor living structures in Florida. An awardwinning design team, Julie and Jason are known for connecting spaces and transforming places. They are compelled by their mission to elevate ethos and experience through functional aesthetics and innovative technology.

All-Weather Outdoor Amenities Expand Member Experience and Create New Revenue Streams The pandemic has fundamentally altered the club industry, leaving traditional revenue-drivers like dining and special events stressed. As members seek safe spaces to dine, relax, and enjoy the club experience, many clubs are focusing on revamping outdoor spaces with louvered-roof pergolas. As an all-weather luxury amenity, louvered-roof pergolas are cost-effective investments for establishing significant long-term revenue growth and modernizing aging décor. Boca West Country Club in Boca Raton, FL significantly enhanced their club experience by installing a louvered-roof pergola at its 19th hole restaurant, Mr. D’s (named after longtime club manager and renowned philanthropist, Jay DiPietro). Covering 3,550 square feet, the club’s louvered-roof pergola replaced an outdated awning with automated adjustable louvers outfitted with integrated sensors and programmable settings to open and close for rain, sun, and shade. In addition to doubling its dining capacity, Boca West’s louvered-roof pergola seamlessly connects seven new interactive driving suites with InRange technology. The driving suites are currently used for self-guided practice sessions, and fun interactive multi-player games. The suites also allow Boca West to expand their practice facilities, while simultaneously establishing a new venue for small group events. “Our clients consistently tell us they see rapid returns on their investment in as little as six months after installation,” says Julie Hawbaker, co-founder and chief of design of SYZYGY Global Inc. “When done correctly, louvered roof pergolas should merge functionality and design to optimize outdoor space and style.” Club managers planning to enhance facilities with louvered-roof pergolas should be mindful of the following:



1. While louvered-roof pergolas can cover and connect any outdoor space to existing club house buildings and/or standalone structures, one should always incorporate existing architectural elements and colors for aesthetic cohesion and continuity; 2. To maximize new revenue opportunities, consider surveying club members for the most desired amenities irrespective of weather restrictions; 3. To save significant time, money, and headache, only contract expert designers and installers with local regulatory knowledge and engineering capacity for onsite custom specifications. When it comes to selecting a louvered-roof pergola, quality matters. SYZYGY Global has partnered with Azenco, one of world’s leading manufacturers of custom pergolas, to construct only the highest quality outdoor structures on the market. BR Jason Herring and Julie Hawbaker are co-founders of SYZYGY Global, Inc., the largest designer and installer of residential and commercial outdoor living structures in Florida. Leslie and Charles Chapus are founding partners of AZENCO and the original developers of the R-Blade louvered roofing system, now one of the leading roofing manufacturers in the United States. SYZYGY Global Inc. is based in Boynton Beach, Florida. AZENCO is based in Miami, Florida.






Luxury Louvered Roofs

JERRY MCCOY Lifetime Achievement Award for BoardRoom Magazine in 2018. He can be reached at or


A Servant Leader

Means More Than You Think I recently wrote an article about good manage- tory of bad GMs, so they were considering a comptroller they liked who ment practices and included a quote that said: had a track record of doing a good job or who was the picture she painted “What the club is, where it is going and what to the board. I had a similar experience. I worked for five years with a comptroller who are the expectations on how best to get there?” appeared to be the ideal employee. He worked diligently and volunteered to As managers, sometimes we make assump- help on projects outside his department. He had painted himself as an ideal tions that we are doing what is expected. employee. Unfortunately, many times these assumptions However, we uncovered that he embezzled about $120,000. A good GM aren’t valid. That also includes the concept of needs to know what people seem to be and what they actually are. That is servant leaders. something you never forget. This was the case with our present comptroller Some use the concept of building up emwho embezzled more money than my example. ployees to make them a part of the team and, Our GM also had a number of long-time stable department heads. Untherefore, increase employee productivity and fortunately, they had a revenue and capital resource problem. They were improve the work environment for everybody. upside down on deferred capital and needed new capital. They were in a bad This is great for the long term and the new financial place. GMs but it is not the full story. For those older I provided several candidates and they picked one. He was an older person seasoned clubs, this may be the case. For (in his 60s) who had been fired after three-plus decades. Not your typical those who are newer and in transition, there headhunter candidate. I have kept up with his work at that club and I would may be another step in the process. like to share this email from him on his one-year anniversary.

There must be two-way trust between top management and staff. This is an important part of the success of our ideal servant leader. While he is fixing the problems in the house, a good GM must be able to build trust with staff. If there is no trust, the whole organization will fall apart. I believe that the great clubs of today have already implemented exceptional servant leadership. However, a considerable number of clubs in our example need good two-part servant leadership. We have had conversations with many club boards seeking to replace their GMs or introduce the GM concept to their club. Certainly, they want a positive work environment where all employees can succeed and be all they can be. However, many of these clubs have real problems and need someone to fix them now. We want to confess we have not made our living doing club searches. In some cases, we had clients who hired us to do a search after working with us. One club had a his86


I think his philosophy represents the two parts of servant leadership. His philosophy was to fix the house first while developing a positive relationship of trust with the quality staff he had inherited. He immediately found embezzlement and extensive theft and replaced not only the comptroller but several key F&B employees. Listen to his response after his one-year anniversary. This is a summary of what he said. 1. Trending plus $50,000 per month. 2. Have processed 141 new memberships this year. 3. Put membership into proper classes where many were not paying their right dues levels which netted $263,000 annually.

4. 5.

6. 7.


The office staff is all new and cash as a payment method has been eliminated. The club has $800,000 in the bank and has completed significant capital improvements, including a new patio, significant tennis facility and pool improvements, as well as infrastructure concerns. Upped monthly receivables from $400,000 to $585,000. At the same revenue levels as 2019, we were able to drop food costs from 45 percent to 37 percent. The staff was stealing about $4,000 a month in food and beverage. F&B revenues went from 85 percent for banquets and 15 percent a la carte to a 50/50 mix.

He mentioned that the easy part was identifying the bad apples and the hard part was finding good replacements. The key is to have a welcoming and encouraging workplace. Compensation levels and good benefits are important as well. So, it appears that servant leadership is a twopart process: being sure that the club is set up for encouraging and developing the staff and having a GM who implements policies and directives that put a staff member in a positive working environment. This club is a perfect example of so many clubs in the industry today. I believe that the great clubs of today have already implemented exceptional servant leadership. However, a considerable number of clubs in our example need good two-part servant leadership. There must be two-way trust between top management and staff. This is an important part of the success of our ideal servant leader. While he is fixing the problems in the house, a good GM must be able to build trust with staff. If there is no trust, the whole organization will fall apart. There are hundreds of books written on servant leadership. The sentence I have taken out of all this is the following quote: Being a servant leader is about preparing people for their next mission. B R



JOHN R. EMBREE John Embree is CEO at the United States Professional Tennis Association and can be reached at (407) 634-3063 or via email:

USPTA Adds Certification Welcome, 2022! I am so glad that we can put the past couple of years in the rearview mirror. If you are like me, it feels as if the previous two years were a blur. So, let us hope that we can get back to some sense of normalcy this year. We all realize that the world has been dynamically impacted by the pandemic. The United States Professional Tennis Association is no different. Despite the curveballs that COVID-19 threw at us, we were able to accomplish a variety of goals which even during a normal year would have been noteworthy. Thus, I thought I would take a moment to highlight those achievements for the benefit of BoardRoom readers who may not be aware of all that we do as an association. Despite the pandemic’s persistence, the growth of all racquet and paddle sports continued to flourish. USPTA kicked off 2021 by providing over 5,500 members with free dues as part of the United States Tennis Association and USPTA Dues Relief Subsidy. Given the struggles that many USPTA professionals experienced early on in 2020 when clubs closed and pros were unable to teach, the industry thought it would be an incredible gesture to offer free dues in 2021 for those that needed it most. To qualify for the subsidy, certified teaching professionals had to meet specific qualifications before the end of 2020, such as being Safe Play trained and background screened along with meeting the continuing education requirement. What a wonderful way to start the year.



Throughout 2021, we worked closely with the USTA on a new certification pathway to raise the standards for certified teaching professionals to provide a better, more consistent experience for their clients. Unfortunately, this process has taken longer than expected. We are in discussions with the USTA to resolve the issues that have bogged us down and are excited about the potential that this new pathway will bring to our sport. On the financial side of things, I am pleased to report that your association is in good stead. Our revenues are strong due to a couple of factors. First, we had the good fortune of signing several new endorsees this calendar year. Therabody, Fiix Elbow, String Ping, Apeak, Universal Tennis and Tennis Warehouse are all new to the USPTA family. Each has committed to a multiyear agreement, and we look forward to collaborating with them for years to come. Secondly, we finished with a surplus of revenues over expenses for the ninth consecutive year. This is an incredible accomplishment, especially against the backdrop of a global pandemic with so many uncertainties. We have also banked strong reserves to provide a safety net on the off chance we ever experience a deep fiscal crisis. But I do not expect that to happen. Thirdly, our membership numbers have remained constant, which is a fantastic achievement given the headwinds we have faced over the past two years. One positive effect of the pandemic, as mentioned, has been the growing number

of people playing tennis. And our challenge is to meet their ever-growing need for quality coaching. And it is not just tennis that is booming. With the rapid growth of pickleball, padel and platform tennis, more USPTA professionals are adding additional certifications to meet growing consumer demand. In fact, the USPTA recently announced a new and improved pickleball certification together with the International Federation of Pickleball Academy. Each of our 17 divisions will designate a head pickleball tester who will be trained by IFP evaluators. New USPTA pickleball certification exams should be available the first of the year. In mid-September, we successfully hosted an in-person world conference and trade show in Las Vegas. While attendance was down slightly from pre-pandemic numbers, more than 700 teaching professionals and top-flight presenters participated. Those who attended the four-day event said they thoroughly enjoyed the educational sessions and social functions. And we all relished the opportunity to reconnect with friends and colleagues from around the country. As one longtime member told me, “John, we needed this!” In fact, a post-conference survey showed that 87 percent of attendees plan to attend the 2022 World Conference in New Orleans. For those professionals who could not make it to Vegas, we hope you will join us next September in New Orleans. I promise you will not regret it.

The USPTA has a new national board of directors and executive committee that began New Year’s Day. And our divisions also welcomed new boards. The new leaders will serve a two-year term, which is part of our democratic governance. I would be remiss if I did not thank everyone who served in leadership roles during an incredibly challenging 2020 and 2021. The USPTA is in a better place today, thanks to your efforts. It has been a pleasure for me to contribute editorial to BoardRoom magazine during the past few years. It is vital that members of boards at country clubs be aware of the activities of our organization and how they impact our members, who are dedicated to making the customer experience at your facilities top shelf. B R



JARRETT CHIRICO Jarrett Chirico, USPTA, PTR, PPTA, PPR, PPTR is director of racquets at Royal Oaks Country Club, Dallas, TX.


Leaders Eat Last The continuing rise of the racquets industry has changed the importance of racquets for private clubs. Accompanying this evolution is a greater demand on staff and even greater demand on our leaders. The opportunity has never been better and the path to success remains crystal clear. As leaders, the most important thing we can do is to be first to the front line, but last to the finish line. You must expect more but give more than ever before. Leadership must always come from the heart. The idea of mentorship has a long history and in the simplest of terms, it is a person of success guiding others along that same path to maximizing their possibilities and potential.

However, some leaders often are quick to talk and slow to listen. Mentorship is best approached as a two-way street. A good mentor knows that those under their guidance will ultimately move on to achieve their highest success, and a teacher gets no greater feeling of fulfillment than watching their students continue to rise on their journey to the top. It is never easy to lose someone we invest in because we give a part of ourselves to lift up those around us. We often give up time with our families and extend already long days, but sacrifice is often the cost of leadership – sacrifice for the people around us that we choose to invest in. 90


It is never perfect timing when someone you have mentored is ready to test their wings, and it’s exceptionally rare to be completely prepared for the best things in life. The truly great opportunities are the ones that force you to grow to fulfill them. In my tenure as a director for over a decade, only once have I felt 100 percent prepared for a position I was starting. However, I’ve succeeded at the highest level in every one of my positions and have found this success through a consistent combination of dedication, investment ... and, most of all, belief. As leaders, we must cultivate unwavering belief and instill that same belief in the people we mentor. Instead of telling them, “You are not yet ready,” tell them, “I am here to support you at every turn.” A leader inspires people daily and makes those they support feel that their helping hand is available at any time. Leadership is less about glory and more about leading from behind. It’s leading while at the same time taking a backseat to let others shine. If you are in a leadership position, when your program succeeds, it reflects your success. When your people succeed, it’s a reflection of your success. Rather than be threatened by others’ success, celebrate and promote it. My greatest career accomplishments are the success of the people upon whom I’ve had a lasting impact. I attempt to fuel a culture of high expectations and celebrate that high success when it’s achieved. Racquets has changed the balance at clubs across the country. Without question, racquets offer more entry points and more overlap than any other amenity at a club. Racquets provide numerous options through tennis, paddle, pickleball and squash that bring members of all backgrounds to the club. It’s these options that hold appeal and value, which bring new members to the club. These opportunities apply to membership but apply just as much to the staff, and it’s what I refer to as “growth through racquets.” This is the understanding that each racquet sport complements and grows the others. The more options provided, the more opportunities we give ourselves for success. This growth is also personal, particularly when it comes to leadership. The more opportunities we are given, the greater the responsibility to make the most of them. The ever-growing offerings in racquets require a deeper

I will always be there to have a conversation, offer a hand, or give advice, and only ask that I receive the same respect and support in return. There are very few great opportunities in life. As leaders, we must help others to recognize their goals and give them the courage to go after their dreams. education in each sport and how they fit together as a whole. We must be able to teach, program, staff, and connect the dots throughout all racquet sports. This adds additional pressure to the job, but the payoff is well worth the effort. As racquets grows, so does interaction with new members. It is essential that we make the most of our interactions and turn them into positive possibilities. As the saying goes, you only get the opportunity to make a first impression once, and every new member interaction is an opportunity to shape an experience and create memories. To continue to grow as a leader you must become accustomed to saying goodbye. In many ways, it is far easier to help someone on their way up than to help them on their way out. How we part ways and continue to support someone, long after they have gone, is what separates a mature leader. It tells much about one’s character and leaves a lasting impression on those around us. I’ve always told my staff members that they have my indefinite support, whatever path they ultimately choose to take. I will always be there to have a conversation, offer a hand, or give advice, and only ask that I receive the same respect and support in return. There are very few great opportunities in life. As leaders, we must help others to recognize their goals and give them the courage to go after their dreams. Anyone can lead, but not everyone is a true leader. In my experience, there is no greater feeling of success and pride than helping someone grow and move on to something greater. BR



PAMELA RADCLIFF Pamela Radcliff, SHRM-SCP, CAM is the human resources director at Hideaway Beach Association on Marco Island, FL.


Top Four Staffing Challenges And How to Fix Them

It’s a war zone out there. Every club has staff shortages, and every club wants the cream of the crop to fill those positions. Better yet, clubs want new hires to hit the ground running. To this end, your club has most likely stolen staff from another club, and another club has already stolen staff from your club. It’s a dog-eat-dog world in the staffing industry. You’ve seen the signs at restaurants: “Closed today. Will resume limited hours tomorrow due to staffing shortage.” Perhaps your club has had to close a dining venue for the same reason. Consider that the US Chamber of Commerce recently declared the labor shortage a “national economic emergency [that’s] getting worse by the day,” and there is no end in sight. Concurrently, clubs are thriving as perceived “safe havens” throughout the pandemic and this continues to drive competition for talent. Our members expect and demand the most capable and customer service-oriented talent – and club management excellence. Staff shortages + high demand = “the struggle is real” Candidate-driven market There just aren’t enough people with the right skills to fill all the open positions. Candidates hold all the cards. It is more important than ever to create the best possible experience for them, or they’ll go elsewhere. Candidates are looking for high pay and competitive benefits. In today’s world, they have the power to pick and choose. Clubs must continue to evolve to meet the changing needs of candidates. Matching their expectations is always a priority. The fix: Getting noticed To even get a candidate to look at you, examine where your starting pay is related to your competition. Expect that your candidates are doing the same. To differentiate your club, consider signing bonuses, referral pay, and even an application stipend (for example, $50 to complete the application). Further, clubs must provide “a reason to join,” in addition to raising the wages overall and providing incentives for retention. High competition – Recruit through non-traditional channels The issues contributing to the talent shortage are many. We are not only competing with each other for talent, we are competing with enhanced unemployment benefits, candidates re-thinking going back to work (health and safety as the pandemic continues) and demands like the need to care for family members or lack of access to child care. Everyone has the same access to the same candidates through Indeed, LinkedIn 92


and others. Knowing how to cut through the clutter and qualify the candidates for the right fit is just the first step. The fix: Marketing your jobs Position descriptions have become boring and mechanical. Consider revising job descriptions to not only capture the position requirements but also convey more about the club itself – your culture, why employees like working there, your history or other unique selling points. In other words, put your best marketing effort into your HR processes: create better recruiting collateral material; use video and social media; and keep messaging short and to the point. Be clear about the requirements in your job ads and give a concise view of the role. Use an application form with knockout questions to address your key concerns. For example, if you need someone with a clean driving license, include a yes/ no question asking candidates if they have one. It’s a fast way to screen out people who aren’t right for the role. Slow hiring process As hiring processes drag on, clubs face the following risks: • The candidate may not feel valued and becomes disinterested • The candidate is approached by a competitor and goes to work for them instead • The candidate is interviewing with multiple companies and takes an earlier offer. The fix: Single-platform process Move faster on a platform that automates the staffing administration. From job posting to offer letter, many payroll providers offer these add-on modules for single-platform performance. Coordinate well with candidates. If you’re scheduling an in-person interview, give them the necessary information (like who to ask for and what to bring). Explain what they should expect from the interview and what the next steps are. Inform reception when a candidate is arriving so he or she can be welcomed by name; don’t let candidates wait in the lobby. A word about ghosting A term typically used regarding dating apps, it is now a real problem in the hiring process. Ghosting is when a candidate “no shows” – the person engages in the hiring process up to the point where they schedule an interview, only to disappear. Or worse, they work for a day or two and then leave without notice. Unfortunately, there is not much you can do about it other than your due diligence in matching candidates’ expectations in the pre-hiring process. SEE HR COMMITTEE | 94

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MITCH FENTON Mitchell R. Fenton, CPP is with Baltusrol Golf Club, Springfield, NJ. Mitch can be reached via email:


The State of Stolen Cars

Clubs Are an Attraction for Thieves Stolen vehicles from your club’s parking lot are no laughing matter. On the East Coast, it has affected clubs in epidemic numbers, causing club managers to scramble to find answers for how to stop it. The old school operation of golfers placing their keys on top of the tire or leaving the fob in the cup holder is still the preferred method of operation for members nationwide, leaving it up to us to figure it out, but the negative press still reflects on your club and your ability to manage. In the large scale of things, stolen cars are not the worst thing to face. One of your members walking out to their car and getting involved in a physical confrontation is. Thefts turning into carjackings can be a death gurgle for your club when you’re trying to attract new members. A club that doesn’t feel safe won’t be used. Clubs are attractive to car thieves and would-be bandits because it’s where the money is. Clubs are understaffed and usually poorly lit at night, making them perfect attractions for crimes. Stolen high-end foreign cars with a fob can fetch between $10,000-$15,000 at the port, quickly exported to foreign countries. Vehicles taken without a fob can also bring serious money. Thieves are turning to high-tech devices built at low cost. “Code grabbers” and “signal sniffers” can steal your car’s electronic access codes from a distance, often from outside your home or business and use the codes to start your car. There are tools to mitigate these tactics, such as a faraday bag to place your keys or tin foil. Placing your keys in the


fridge or microwave will also block the signal. However, vehicles left unlocked in your club’s parking lot are also victims of thieves who steal garage door openers and home address details off vehicle paperwork in glove boxes to use at their convenience to enter homes. IS GATING YOUR CLUB THE ANSWER? Clubs have recently begun to gate their properties in record numbers, hoping to thwart would-be car thieves but not knowing how they are going to staff or operate such a program. I remind them that car thieves do not have to drive onto your property, that they can find other ways of getting into your parking lots and property since most fences put up around clubs are not security fences. They delineate property lines. By employing your valets as parking lot attendants, you can reduce many of these issues. When they are not parking vehicles, valets can walk the lots looking for keys left in and around vehicles (yes, this means the tires also!), creating a presence in your lots. A preprinted note telling the owner of the vehicle that the keys have been secured allows the member or guest to retrieve them at will. EVALUATE YOUR PARKING LOT’S LIGHTING Landscape lighting is not security lighting. One fights shadows, the other creates them. However, there is a happy medium where lighting schemes will help reduce crime and make your club less attractive to would-be car thieves and perpetrators trying to commit crimes. B R

from HR Committee | 92

Unrealistic club expectations It’s not just about the job anymore. It is about who the club is and how it relates to candidates. Clubs that want top talent must have realistic expectations about how to achieve that. Clubs must offer a respectable wage and help candidates achieve work-life balance to be most attractive. The fix: Build your brand • Competitive pay • Medical benefits, such as medical, dental, vision and telemedicine coverage • Safe Harbor 401k plan with four percent match • Workplace flexibility, including remote work options, even periodically for those whose work allows for it


Employee development and continuing education reimbursement Non-traditional benefits, such as child care, pet insurance, car washes and dry cleaning

A good club brand helps you attract and engage better candidates. Clubs that invest in employer branding are three times more likely to make quality hires. Yet, it’s a complex process that includes anything from ensuring a positive candidate experience to promoting your culture on social media. It’s a continuous, collective effort that requires you to secure buy-in from your coworkers. Above all, be a good employer and it will show. BR

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The Club Business

The Social Distancing Effect From bust to boom Not since the “Tiger Effect” 25 years ago had the sport of golf seen such booming levels of participation. Until the pandemic hit. The “Social Distancing Effect” caused by COVID-19 created a huge resurgence in the popularity of golf, with 60 million more rounds played in 2020 representing a 14 percent increase over the prior year. Rounds played in 2021 are up 8.4 percent to date, according to the National Golf Foundation. Tee times have become a hot commodity around the country. This is welcome news for an industry that had been declining for more than a decade. Between 2003 and 2018, golf saw a decline of over 6.8 million players and more than 1,200 courses close. An aging population of golfers has contributed to a decrease in membership and new applications, resulting in a weak financial picture. Add on the complexities of the inability to fund capital projects due to budget constraints, and more than 721 private clubs had to recapitalize or cease operation in 2018. SOCIAL DISTANCING HELPED PRIVATE CLUBS GO THE EXTRA MILE Two years later, two-thirds of private clubs reported solid financial health, with rounds increasing 20 percent. Despite lost revenue from non-member outings, corporate events and weddings, private clubs have benefitted by being resilient and pivoting quickly to focus on their members by offering unmatched



service and experiences. In addition to increased revenue from more rounds played, higher initiation and equity fees have created a surplus to fund capital projects. POST-PANDEMIC PLANNING Despite the good news, long-term gains are still anyone’s guess. A large share of the surge in rounds played has involved novices and younger age groups. Will those players continue in golf for years to come or will they drop off in six years as we saw with the Tiger Effect? To keep the Social Distancing Effect going well into the future, clubs need to be strategic in their planning. In addition to focusing on core operations such as hiring and training qualified staff, they should be recognizing trends and meeting the changing needs of society. Understanding members’ expectations and providing for their overall experience is essential, as is a solid approach to risk management. A comprehensive loss control plan should include a professional review of physical facilities and property and life safety measures, and recommendations for improvements. In addition, technology audits, both financial and procedural, should be performed regularly to ensure the security and confidentiality of members’ and suppliers’ personal and financial data. While most would agree that we’ll be glad to see social distancing a thing of the past, the Social Distancing Effect is welcome to stay with the golf industry for as long as possible. B R








Robyn Nordin Stowell is an attorney with Nelson Mullins whose practice is focused on the private club industry. She may be reached at (864) 373-2353 or

Don’t Lose Sight of the Fundamentals As we turned the page on 2021, many said “good riddance” and others crossed their fingers for positive changes to move us away from last year’s challenges. For many in our industry, COVID-19 has had positive impacts, such as increased membership and usage. We’ve been pleased to see clubs move from a waiting-out list to a waiting-in list, sometimes in a few months. We’ve seen members reengage with their clubs in meaningful and robust ways. Many positive developments have occurred. All this great energy and income has clubs thinking about how to harness what might be a bit of rarified air and turn it into major capital improvements. We have seen significant renovations and successful assessment votes. As an industry, things have been bustling. With all that excitement, some clubs have decided not to worry about the challenges and struggles that occupied them pre-COVID. Clubs that knew they needed to update either their documents or their practices so that the two were better aligned – with each other or with applicable law – have decided things are not so bad and continue to skate forward and ignore important issues. Now is not the time to lose sight of the fundamentals. Old-fashioned blocking and tackling remain crucial. Major projects are more interesting than governance requirements, but we can’t shift focus to the next shiny thing so much that we lose sight of current obligations. Here are fundamentals that club boards and general managers should consider regularly. Employment issues – Compliance and liability. Hiring and retaining employees continues to be a challenge. Employees have felt empowered on several fronts, and claims against employers would not be unexpected. Be sure you have your employee and management training and documentation up to date. Stay alert to updates on COVID-19 requirements – federal mandates and state counter-mandates may continue to swirl for some time. Recurring training with the proper documentation can prevent claims from arising and can provide helpful documentation if they do. Governing documents. An annual read of the bylaws to be sure the club is complying with its documents, and an occasional read-through by counsel, can help the club benefit from best practices and stay in compliance with legal requirements. Every membership you sell using your old documents is one more member who may have unnecessary claims against the club. I helped a club resolve a membership issue that arose after I told them they needed to – and they declined to – update their joining documents. Sometimes clubs follow what is in their bylaws, even if their bylaws conflict with state statutes or other legal requirements (or they don’t even follow their bylaws, which is worse). Some joining documents are out of date and some are more of a sign-in sheet than an application or proposal. Now that clubs are moving to a waiting-in list, some clubs are more open to a more robust candidate screening process – which will benefit them if disputes arise later. 98


“A flamethrower will light a cigarette, but a Bic lighter will also do a fine job.” Robyn’s brother Board orientation and fiduciary duties. Board members are wonderful volunteer leaders and we appreciate them so much. But they sometimes need to be reminded that their duty is to the club legal entity, not to a subset of members. So often my curiosity about an odd board decision is resolved by information that a forceful director’s voice is advocating primarily for that director’s friend. A meaningful board orientation every year after board elections can provide a great foundation for new leaders, focus them on the club’s most important upcoming tasks, and educate directors on what is and is not their job. A board code of conduct may help, as would an agreement to stand for election form that is signed by each board candidate, agreeing to be elected and acknowledging their commitment to all the role entails. I find this form helps candidates focus on their responsibilities so that they enter into the role with a realistic expectation and – if necessary – disabused of any expectation they might be a single-issue voter in the boardroom. I hope the benefits of our current robust industry are benefitting your club, but be sure the fundamentals are in place to support the club when things slow down. B R


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Cybersecurity Awareness Training Can Help Reduce Cyberattacks “A password is like underwear: don’t let people see it, change it very often, and you shouldn’t share it with strangers.” – Chris Pirillo Since COVID-19 pushed organizations to adopt work-from-home policies out of necessity and limited public events, internet usage soared. While clubs may not allow for remote work in some areas, COVID-19 did require clubs to use the internet more. From remote dealings with members to moving board and committee meetings online to having backof-the-house staff work from home, clubs were not immune. More businesses and people online also means a higher likelihood of cyberattacks. Hackers target everything from emails to file downloads, network systems, and more. Many organizations don’t have a comprehensive defense policy to meet the growing demand and evolving nature of cyber threats. While technical cybersecurity controls are a vital part of an organization’s information security framework, they are not sufficient to secure all information assets. Effective information security also requires the awareness and proactive support of all employees to supplement and make full use of existing technical security controls. This is most obvious in cases of social engineering attacks and fraud schemes, which target vulnerable humans rather than information technology (IT) and network systems. This is becoming even more of a threat as bad actors use malicious bots to enhance their phishing campaigns. THE GROUNDWORK FOR CYBERATTACKS Downstream internet usage (includes receiving emails and downloading files) has grown by 21.6 percent and upstream internet usage (includes sending emails and uploading files) has seen a whopping growth of 40.9 percent since early March 2020, according to The Internet and Television Association’s COVID-19 dashboard. Further, Microsoft recently reported an increase in nation-state actors who use spear-phishing attacks for credential theft by impersonating World Health Organi100


zation representatives. With artificial intelligence and advanced bots, sophisticated phishing emails use fear or urgency to prey on the unforgiving element of human error within an organization. Ransomware attacks surged in 2021 and shut down parts of major economic sectors, like the Colonial Pipeline attack, for example. Other industries suffering major cyberattacks are insurance, professional sports, agriculture, IT, and more. It’s estimated that in 2020, companies paid more than $350 million in ransom payments to regain control of their systems, networks, and data. Now, the US government has made cybersecurity a national priority, and soon private and public sector organizations will work together with the federal government to report and combat cybercrime. WHY ARE CYBERATTACKS SO SUCCESSFUL? Ninety-five percent of breaches are caused by human error. Often, hackers use familiar companies to make potential victims feel comfortable or leverage believable stories to trick people. Examples include recent account activity or recent transactions that someone may have made. Employees lacking adequate information security awareness are more likely to fail to recognize or react appropriately to information security threats and incidents. They are also more likely to place information in danger through ignorance and carelessness. After the Colonial Pipeline attack, the company’s CEO admitted that multi-factor authentication wasn’t being used to log in. This is one simple step that companies can take to better secure their networks and a very obvious vulnerability. Virtual currency plays a role, too. The rise of bitcoin and other virtual currencies make it relatively easy for hackers to demand ransom without being tied to a bank or financial institution. PROTECTING AGAINST PHISHING ATTACKS Phishing attacks, where hackers send fake emails designed to look like the real thing, are a common method of gaining access to a company’s network. Most ransomware attacks begin as phishing emails because they’re so simple to pull off. Be aware that phishing emails will frequently have language that contains misspellings or seems out of place as well as use generic language, such as “to our valued customers” or “dear sir/ma’am.” While employees are an organization’s greatest asset, they can frequently be the weakest link in keeping the organization secure. Specifically, bad actors are using breaking news stories about COVID-19 and vaccines to lure employees into clicking on malicious links or visiting illegitimate websites. SEE CLUB FACTS & FIGURES | 120





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Jim West is a PGA career consultant serving the North Florida section. He can be reached at (561) 446-4928 or via email:

The Pandemic Effect Much has been written about the pandemic and the impact it continues to have on our industry and our lives. Many say that it took a pandemic to save the golf industry, but is this true? Is our industry fixed and destined to continue seeing the positive trend it has experienced over the past 18 months? Let’s step back to the beginning of the pandemic. When the PGA Tour short-circuited the Players Championship after the first round due to coronavirus concerns, widespread panic swept across the country. Government agencies took swift action trying to err on the side of caution to protect against spreading the virus. In many parts of the country, golf facilities closed or operated at limited capacity under tightly controlled rules. Those working in the industry were more than a little anxious about the uncertainty and fear of the unknown. What would happen if the pandemic persisted? Would it cause facilities to close for extended periods? Or close for good? Would the pandemic prove to be the final nail in the coffin of a struggling industry? What happened next proved to be the lifeline that set the stage for the comeback of golf. Thankfully, most states recognized golf as an essential activity and allowed facilities to remain open, albeit in a limited capacity. But even with strict rules in place, such as single-rider golf cars, limited or no practice facilities and take-out only food and beverage, the popularity of golf began to surge. Many people tabled typical summer travel plans and instead opted to spend time with their families outdoors and on the golf course. This “perfect storm” activated a vast number of inactive golfers as well as spawned interest with new, beginning golfers. In a short matter of months, tee sheets were full and golf rounds reached record levels. By late summer, much of the country’s golf facilities were at or near capacity, with record rounds and revenues. On the surface, everything appeared to be heading full steam ahead with a boom not seen since the Tiger era of the ‘90s.



What was much less obvious was the impact that this boom was having on golf industry employees. Early in the pandemic, many facilities laid off employees due to closures or limited activity. But when business levels began to sharply rise, many facilities were reluctant to increase staffing levels due to the uncertainty of the ongoing pandemic. Extended and expanded government unemployment benefits further exacerbated the ability for facilities to rehire staff. In an industry lacking work-life balance, dramatic understaffing eroded what little work-life balance was left. It is often said that working in the golf industry means that you have no choice but to accept a poor work-life balance. Using history as a guide, this has largely been the standard. But is this a reasonable expectation for current and future golf industry workers? If we want to attract the next generation to our industry and retain our current workforce, we need to prioritize improving work-life balance. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we need more margin with work-life balance. We cannot throw a switch that makes dramatic changes to improve work-life balance. However, if we as an industry make this a priority and commit to making a change, however small, we will begin to move the needle. Many times, large changes are the sum of many small changes. The final exam that will determine the long-term effects of the pandemic on our industry will be how well we retain golfers when the pandemic is over. We cannot bask in the glory of record rounds and revenues when a pandemic gave us a captive audience. We must develop and put into action effective player development programs geared toward retaining golfers, especially those who have recently taken up the game before they choose to return to other activities. B R

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The Millennials and Generation Z Are Coming! The question: Is the private club industry Servant leadership is quite consistent and to be admired in the private club ready to modify its position on allowing industry. members under the age of 40 to participate And with servant leadership culture comes the need for adaptation. Old on committees, serve on the board and vote habits and traditions are commonly in need of consideration and, when on the affairs of the corporation? warranted, modification. Old habits die hard, and the private club industry Millennials and Gen Z have different needs, is a perfect example. wants and desires than previous generations, The private club industry has a history of only allowing “full members” and private clubs have to be prepared for this (commonly ages 40 and above) to serve on the board of directors and/ seismic shift to ensure they can adapt to the or vote on the affairs of the club. This policy relegates young members to new reality. Millennials and Gen Z are conspectator status. nected to a cause and the greater purpose, On a simple level, any discussion or strategic planning that involves while still desiring a need to “belong” if it fits “forward-thinking vision and thought,” such as family-style resort pools or their lifestyle goals and ambitions. childcare-related facilities, may never live past casual conversations due to If clubs are to remain relevant, vibrant and a lack of interest among those in leadership positions. places where people want to be, they must delBaby Boomers and Generation Xers have largely defined the private club egate an equal portion of the decision-making industry’s new member funnel for the past 20 years. Of these two groups, process to a broader audience of stakeholders/ the Baby Boomers especially have represented most, if not all, leadership members. Given the shifting demographics of roles of their private clubs (boards and committees). But, as you can see the incoming classes of new private club membelow the Millennial and Gen Z generations are going to be the dominant bers, for the foreseeable future, private clubs consumers for quite some time. will need to adapt and evolve, once again, to Baby Boomer Generation (born 1946-1964 – ages 57-66) 71 million capitalize on this reality. Generation X (born 1965-1980 – ages 41-56) 65 million The answer is never easy. Much like workMillennial Generation (born 1981-1996 – ages 25-40) 72 million place culture has had to adapt to this generaGeneration Z (born 1997-2012 – ages 9-24) 67 million tional shift, private clubs will be forced to face What this means is that a lot of the decision-making regarding current this challenge head-on over the next 10 to 15 operational policies and future strategic planning is currently centralized years. within a group of members that may not fully understand or support Representation is more than a buzzword. It is progressive club policies and future strategic planning. When it comes critical to make sure your organization doesn’t to making decisions that have long-lasting and far-reaching impacts, delose focus on what drives success moving cisions are being made by people who may be thinking more short term forward. Listening to, connecting with and enversus long term. gaging with younger members can only help to Well before the pandemic, the average age of a new member had been strengthen your organization. trending downward, and according to Club Benchmarking, the average age Private club leaders are welcoming younger of new members joining private clubs today is 42. members into their clubs and it is now time to The Millennial Generation is the largest group in the United States, also welcome them into club leadership and checking in with over 72 million consumers. Millennials are no longer governance roles. The servant leadership cul20-somethings, as the leading edge of this group is now entering their 40s. ture will be tested by this concept and hopeAs Baby Boomers and Generation X transition out of their spot as the most fully, the current group of leaders will continue powerful consumer groups in the private club industry, Millennials and to be visionary in their understanding of the Gen Z are next in line for the throne. need for this group of powerful consumers For the foreseeable future, the number of consumers who will be turning to be given the voice they deserve and, quite 40, 41 and 42 each year will be the most dominant and powerful consumer frankly, will demand. B R group since the Baby Boomers staked their claim to the throne nearly 20 years ago. 104


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Nancy Berkley is an expert on women’s golf and junior girls golf in the US. Nancy is a member of the World Golf Foundation Women’s Committee and the National Golf Foundation. She shares news about women’s golf — along with her opinions — on Nancy has served on the governing boards of two golf clubs and is on the green and marketing committees at Frenchman’s Creek Beach & Country Club. She is a contributing writer for LPGA publications.

Is Your Director of Golf a Servant Leader? My best advice for directors of golf is to regularly get out of the office What is the leadership style of your director of golf, who makes and enforces the rules for your and meet your members on the course. A friendly “Hello” and “How are club’s golf operations, hires the golf instructors you doing?” show sincere interest and real leadership. In a casual round, and pro shop staff, and manages tournaments? it’s even OK for an instructor to offer a lesson or a tip. Why not schedule a tournament that incorporates visits by the golf staff The director of golf has a lot of authority and incorporates one mulligan? Golf can be fun. Most important is that and responsibility, but what about leadership your club’s director of golf understands how servant leadership will set skills? your club apart from other clubs and attract more members. In writing this article, I looked at the applin n n cation form the PGA of America used for a head golf professional. Interestingly, the word The number of golfers is growing. The National Golf Foundation releadership does not appear anywhere in the ports that the number of golfers in the US playing on golf courses (exapplication. Was that an intentional omission cluding off-course ranges) has increased each year for the past five years. or an oversight? Now I was confused. The NGF also reports a significant increase in “beginner golfers,” defined When I run up against a difficult question, I as those playing golf on a golf course for the first time. Junior golfers, who always check in with my longtime friend Suzy range in age from 6 to 17, showed the biggest increase since 1997. Whaley. I traveled to Connecticut in 2002 to One explanation for the growth, especially among juniors, is the effect see Suzy become the first woman to play in a of COVID-19. Students put away footballs and basketballs for golf clubs PGA Qualifier event. (There were five of us in and golf balls. Junior golf programs grew at many courses. For adults, work her gallery.) schedules changed and an employee working from home could take a long In 2018, Suzy became the first female preslunch break on a par-3 or fit in nine holes at the end of the day. Families ident of the PGA of America. Suzy is the dichallenged by COVID-19 restrictions but looking for a fun family event rector of instruction at Mirasol Country Club, found “family tees” and junior golf programs on more golf courses. BR a BoardRoom Distinguished Club in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. I wanted to know Suzy’s thoughts on the leadership qualities of a golf professional. My question was perfectly timed. Suzy recently developed a program at Mirasol called Heart, which is designed to build leadership qualities among all facets of Mirasol’s facilities. I was struck by how the principles of servant leadership are incorporated in the five principles of Mirasol’s Heart program: health and hustle, enthusiasm, attitude, resilience and team. If a director of golf is in the office at a desk most of the day, that’s not leadership with heart or servant leadership. If the director of golf does not check handicaps and does not send a short note to members - including new junior golfers - who are doing well and improv- PICTURED L-R: SUZY WHALEY, PAST PGA OF AMERICA PRESIDENT AND NANCY BERKLEY AT AN LPGA PROGRAM AT THE ANNUAL PGA INDUSTRY SHOW IN ORLANDO, FL ing, that’s not servant leadership.



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Lynne LaFond DeLuca is the executive director of the Association of Club Catering & Event Professionals and a private club industry consultant. In 2016 and 2019, Boardroom magazine awarded her the Gary Player Educator of the Year Award. You can reach her at, or visit the website at www., on our LinkedIn Group and Instagram at

Be ‘The Club’ for Your Members Are you “the club?” To answer, we first need to know what the club is. It starts with intangibles mixed in with overall experience and amenities and results in a club that: • Your members never want to leave • Has a purpose and a mission • Promotes inclusion and diversity • Impacts your local community • Is forward-thinking • Improves your member’s lives • Creates joy and unforgettable experiences • Has inspired F&B offerings • Creates memories that last a lifetime and create a legacy. Sounds great, right? Yes, to all of the above. Some of our clubs are already the club but never rest on their laurels and are continually striving for more “surprise and delight” aspects to thrill their members. Some clubs have mastered varying degrees of the above bullet points but are still reaching for more (that’s a good thing).

“Copying and pasting” the same events you have done in the past is a huge missed opportunity at this point. Members are taking every opportunity to make up for lost time. Plan every single event and interaction with that in mind. Plan them with a meaningful purpose in mind. Be thoughtful in every single detail. When thinking about the legendary, iconic clubs in our industry, the question always lingers: What makes them so good and a magnet for their members? And, how did they accomplish that? Is it the leadership, the staff, the amenities, the physical structures, the energy, the programming, the food and beverage offerings, the overall experience? Again, the answer is the same – yes, to all of the above. But, it did not happen like that overnight. It evolves over time, with careful consideration of every detail and the never-ending pursuit of perfection (with its ever-changing meaning). So, because our pursuit is ever-changing, that means we as a club must constantly evolve for the ever-changing needs of our members. Lately, I have been noticing a new club concept that keeps popping up, and it reminds me of this concept of evolving to meet ever-changing needs. The concept is definitely a private club, but the word “club” does not appear anywhere in the name or description. Concepts like Puttery, Bungalow 805, The House, The Collective Seattle (they call themselves “Basecamp”). They have figured out a formula in their 108


specific markets and are paying attention to needs and wants and what appeals to the demographic they are trying to attract. They are building very hip, energy-filled spaces that are generating a lot of excitement. In the traditional club market, we have the advantage in that we are established and already know our members. We should be so in tune with our members that we are creating experiences and offerings for members before they even have to ask or even know they want them. There has never been a better time than now to affect this type of change and evolution. Right now, it seems that our members are making up for lost time. Clubs are filled to the brim with members excited to be socializing again, as evidenced by soaring numbers for recent events, such as Halloween and Thanksgiving. During the pandemic, our clubs took a very big, first step in changing protocol, surprise and delight experiences and new offerings. The creative genius that took place during this time was inspiring. So, we now have some practice in moving the needle of innovation and creativity in our clubs and we cannot stop. Because our members are taking every opportunity to make up for lost time, plan every single event and interaction with that in mind. Make every event more spectacular than ever. Plan them with a meaningful purpose in mind (something bigger than ourselves). Be thoughtful in every single detail. “Copying and pasting” the same events you have done in the past is a huge missed opportunity at this point. Stretch your offerings to include member favorites with a new twist, smaller curated dining experiences (every event does not have to be big), pop-up concepts, random acts of kindness and community involvement. Evolving into a new way of planning events and experiences for our members allows us to continue to check more off the list to “be the club” for our members. And that will keep our clubs fresh, relevant and vital in our members’ lives. B R

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Steve Berlin 2012 - 2021



Steve Berlin 954.614.1505



GREGG PATTERSON Gregg Patterson is principal, Tribal Magic. He can be reached via email:


How Managers Can Avoid Getting Zapped Be gone! The president speaks. “We’re going in a different direction and it’s time for a change.” And with that, the manager is zapped, given walking papers, paid off and pushed out. The fall. Brutal. Wrenching. Painful. Ego-destroying. The big ugh. And the general manager is left asking, “Why me, why now?” You’ve heard the screams from the one who got zapped. “It ain’t fair!!! Is this my reward for balancing the budget, renovating the golf course and refurbishing the dining room?” Grizzle. Choke. “What an ungrateful group of know-nothing pruneheads!” Rage and riot. And the manager who got zapped will seek answers that’ll balm the wounds, heal the soul and affirm their victimhood. “The new president didn’t like me.” “The board don’t know nothin’ about nothin’.” “That worthless bartender who everyone loves poisoned the waters and laughed as I left.” No general manager wants to be ambushed by the board and told that “it’s time to go.” Managers need to anticipate the behaviors and attitudes that’ll get ‘em sacked, avoid the potholes, prepare their defense and prime their psyches. READING THE SIGNALS Even longtime general managers who are delivering the numbers get told by the powers that be that “it’s time for a change.” So why would a board want to disrupt the apple cart, toss out a winner and go rooting around in the “unknown” for a newbie replacement? Why indeed? You ask, “Was the general manager blind to the signals? Were they indifferent to the vibes? Didn’t they suspect that the zap was coming before the zap got delivered?” They should have noticed that something had changed. In the culture? In governance? In themselves? In “the alignment” between manager and staff, or manager and board or manager and members? The signals were there, but they were blind to the messaging. Here are a few of the less-obvious potholes the zapped should have seen.

Forgot that “love ain’t enough”: Was the general manager lulled into believing that “the warm embrace” would compensate for their operational shortcomings?



Lost the buzz: Did Manager X lose their enthusiasm for the business? Did too many good years make the daily routine a “ho-hum” experience? Stopped pursuing the next new thing: Did Manager X lose their curiosity for uncovering the new “stuff” emerging from the cutting edge of clubdom? Did “what is” become “good enough” for the one who got zapped? Became a no mamma: Did Manager X begin saying no more than yes to new ideas from the staff, the committees and the board? Did they amplify the negatives and downplay the positives? Did they become more no mamma than yes mamma? Too aligned with the old politics: Did the new generation of club leadership resent Manager X’s open and obvious alignment with the old politics and the ancient regime? Did they resent the general manager’s open and obvious condescension toward the new generation and their vision of the good? Lost the inspirational edge: Did Manager X lose the “divine spark” that all leaders need to get things bubbling, to get the sedentary moving and to make the comfortable itchy? Did he lose his ability to inspire the club and its people to the next plateau of performance? Lost focus: Did the manager forget that operational performance needs focus, that operational focus is diluted by “peripheral interests” and that members resent a manager’s pursuit of “other enthusiasms” when operational performance begins to slide? Didn’t communicate: Did the general manager fail to communicate what the board needed to know? Did their silence or misinformation lose them the trust that they needed to make the club happen? The board wanted to drive the bus: Did the board and committees tire of having the manager tell them what should be done, who should do it, when it should be done, and how much it should cost? Did

they resent the general manager driving the bus and reaping the glory? The board wanted to save the bucks: Did the board decide that they could replace Manager X with an enthusiastic upwardly mobile neophyte who would give them three good years and be gone, someone hungry, young and cheap? The lieutenants were enough: Did the board decide that they didn’t need a “major league manager” because they had “major league lieutenants” who could lick boots, kick butt and do what they were told when told what to do directly by the board and its committees? Maybe they felt that they didn’t need a high-priced intermediary to muck up their message?

TIME FOR A CHANGE Members ponder these negatives every day and are evaluating the general manager at home over dinner, in the locker room with their buddies, on the 17th fairway and in the card room at 11 p.m. Unchecked, these yammerings can turn negative and ugly, spiraling downward into cynicism and anger, out of control until all who are listening leave convinced that “it’s time for a change.” If the waitlist is long, the financials are good, the turnover is low, the dining room is booming, and the buzz is on, these manager “maybes” are interesting asides that should cause no one alarm. But if the opposite is true and the staff is grumbling, the members are leaving, the losses are mounting and the dining room is empty, these “maybes” can become a whirlwind of dissent and the grumbling will spread and the board will agree that “it’s time for a change.” Listen for the whispers. Read the signals. Feel the fear. Avoid the fall by anticipating the fall. And enjoy the journey. B R

Too much moaning and groaning: Did Manager X become a whiner, always moaning and groaning about aberrant members, unproductive staff, club politics, the weather, the cost of college, and the state of the universe? Did they become a negative, hard-edged bore, a sucker of energy, a whiner who made the happy sad and the sad depressed? Lost their protector director: Did Manager X lose their boardroom defender, the director who was there to protect them against the accelerating downward spiral of negative comments and commentary? Was there no one left to sing the general manager’s praises, list their virtues, recall their glory days and dramatize the good the general manager was still capable of doing? Became blind to the signals: Did Manager X lose their ability to “read the signals,” hear “the unspoken” and do something about it? Did the general manager become blissfully self-absorbed and oblivious to the subtleties conveyed by the big sigh, the rolling eyes, the upturned eyebrow? Did they become all talk and “no listen”? Who was at fault? What could be done? Time to look in the mirror, read the signals, go deep, ask why and do something about it. JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2022 | BOARDROOM


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Jimmy Dunne is the founder of USA Bocce, partnering with leading country clubs to create extraordinary revenues and participation. Jimmy is also an award-winning songwriter, with 28 million hit records and gold and platinum records spanning the globe. He can be reached at (310) 529-1400 or via email:

Bocce’s Impact on Country Clubs How bocce is meaningfully impacting leading country clubs’ culture, revenues and brands. We all know how pickleball is creating belonging and engagement – impacting revenues, memberships and cultures at country clubs all around the country. Bocce is doing the same thing. It’s crushing it at the finest country clubs up and down the East Coast, the West Coast – and at the best clubs everywhere in between. Blackhawk Country Club in San Francisco has 825 members in bocce leagues. Similar numbers at so many leading clubs in every pocket of the country. And food and beverage revenues are killing it – creating new weekly evenings for clubs. Bocce defines creating a destination activity. At so many country clubs, more members are coming to play in their bocce leagues – than to play golf. Here’s a case study … BIRNAM WOOD Birnam Wood Golf Club is a premier country club in Montecito, CA. It’s the home of a Robert Trent golf course, stunning tennis and pickleball courts – blanketed by the most extraordinary setting in one of America’s most desired towns. The good news is they had two wonderful bocce courts. In a great spot right off the fantastic clubhouse. The bad news is they had no leagues. No one on their staff knew anything about playing or organizing bocce. All that adds up to very little play. In June, I told their fabulous general manager, Jordan Sweeney, their bocce courts were like “a swimming pool without water.” Leagues are the water. Having someone on staff that has the chops to build and run the league with the perfect storm of great social skills, lots of enthusiasm, knowledge about bocce, and how to build bocce leagues and events – that’s the water. I proposed to Jordan that I take a swing at ramping up a summer league – starting from scratch. We knew what we were selling. It wasn’t bocce at all. It was belonging. Fun. Happy. Being on a team. Wellness. Playing something with a drink in your hand. Everything that a club is about. That’s what we were offering. Teams formed. Buzz buzzed around the club. It was opening day on a stunning late-June sunset evening. One by one, couple by couple, 242 members appeared. We served happy. We balanced the fine line between competition and fun. And fun we had. 114


Birnam Wood had fabulous people full of a love of life – and a yearning to make the absolute most of every single day. Two months of league play. In the blink of an eye, members that never even knew each other, of all different ages, were having dinner together after the matches, having dinner parties together in their homes… We had an awards party on the club’s stunning lanai – with the tangerine sun falling behind the mountains and a wisp of the beautiful big blue sea of the Pacific in the air. We had awards for everything. We celebrated how lucky we all were. We celebrated the importance of being in that moment – with fantastic friends. Let’s make this happen at your club. By getting someone at your club certified to be a USA Bocce professional. In two months of Zoom calls – they’ll have the knowledge, inspiration to build the foundation of a long-lasting new social activity at your club. Let’s create something of which we can be proud. BR

MARIAN MCGILL Marian McGill, CCM is assistant general manager, Superstition Mountain Golf and Country Club, Gold Canyon, AZ. She can be reached via email:


From Traditional to Family-Friendly Club Two of the biggest topics buzzing around our industry these days are the resurgence of golf and how to make the sport, and private golf clubs, more inclusive. Our core demographic is changing and if your club isn’t actively looking for ways to attract and retain the next generation of members, you should be. Superstition Mountain Golf and Country Club, in Gold Canyon, AZ, like many golf clubs, was designed as a traditional private club. Its resort-style amenities and events have been highly targeted to older adults, often retirees and, in our case, snowbirds. That trend has been steadily shifting over the past few years and even more so since the pandemic. Largely because golf is a COVID-friendly sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels, the industry has been seeing amazing growth. And with growth, must come change. Traditional clubs need to shift focus to cater to both their existing, core membership and the new golfer – including young families. Memberships: Offering a variety of membership levels is one way clubs can attract new blood. For example, our associate membership is available to people 39 and younger. This option helps break down one of the most common barriers to private club membership for this demographic by reducing the initiation fee and decreasing monthly dues. Upon turning 40, the member will be bumped up to paying full membership dues. In the past year, we went from 10 associate members to 40, which is our current cap for this level. Dining: For a majority of traditional clubs, most kids’ activities were designed for visiting grandchildren and often planned around family holidays. In many cases, dining at the club was a white tablecloth event with a strict dress code. While there is still a time and place for this type of occasion, clubs must learn to diversify. In fact, we’ve discovered that fine dining alone isn’t enough anymore. Casual dining and special events are becoming more and more popular. One way we keep our members excited about our dining program is by hosting pop-up nights. Members RSVP to a dining event but won’t know where or what until the night of the event. From dining under the stars in the courtyard to progressive dinners that travel to different locations on the property, it’s a fun way to enjoy elegant meals in new, perhaps unexpected, settings. A relaxed dress code that allows denim in the main dining room at all times can also go a long way to making the club your members’ go-to spot to fill their social calendars. And really, that’s our goal. We want members to look to the club first before seeking dinner and entertainment elsewhere.

Events: When your club is not outfitted with a lot of kid-centric amenities, you may need to get creative to keep young families excited and engaged. In our case, it was a 100-foot slip and slide on the event lawn. Private club members of olden days may be rolling over in their tweed jackets, but it was a huge hit. At the end of the day, it’s all about diversity and trying new things. From live music and happy hour events to cooking classes and off-site wine tastings, you must have something for all levels of your membership to enjoy. FOR LOVE OF THE GAME Making golf fun for a variety of ages and abilities is key to retaining membership at any level. Our junior golf program has been booming as younger members want their children to be able to join them on the course. We also host clinics and personalized instruction sessions to meet every golfer where they are in a non-intimidating manner. Our golf pros and instruction team can also work with professional-level golfers looking to take another stroke or two off their game. Within our two Nicklaus-designed courses, we have an executive course and a par-3 option. This allows us to keep the integrity of our award-winning courses – and keep it challenging for skilled golfers – while offering the ability to get in a faster round or adjust the difficulty as needed. As we continue to enjoy a more diverse demographic among our membership, our team will continue to find new ways to keep members engaged and excited about their club, and this game that we all love. BR





Gordon Welch, president of the Association of Private Club Directors, the parent organization of Boardroom Institute. He has over 20 years’ experience in private clubs and 12 years of experience as an association executive and registered lobbyist. For more information or to discuss your board’s orientation you can Gordon at or (918) 914-9050.

Are You a Champion in The Boardroom? This issue of BoardRoom magazine is one of my favorites. The BoardRoom Excellence in Achievement Awards (featured on pages 48 & 49) are very special, listing the champions of programs, products, services and education. These individuals and their companies are at the pinnacle of their respective fields. You are the champions of your boardroom, and our job is to make you Olympic-ready! The boardroom for private club has changed significantly in the past few years and so have the people. We are experiencing a change in the boardroom with technology,

Are they asking questions about staff? Salaries? Are your board members asking questions about expenses that are less than 10 percent of your budget? If they are, they need to be redirected to their role as a board member. The member experience begins in the boardroom with the governing body. As time moves forward, I see board members being recycled through a second or even third time. On the other end of the spectrum, we have younger members that have different issues with family, concerns about paying off debt and available time. Well now, this doesn’t sound very upbeat. But it’s reality. We are all busy. If you have committed to the role as a board member, be prepared! Do you want to be a champion in the boardroom? It is easy to be one of the best.

If you have taken the time and effort to run for the board or committee position, be prepared and be an active and interested member. Understand that not everything you hear is going to be accurate or even true! Stay out of the daily operation and stay focused on the mission and the future of the club. Know and understand the bylaws. Read through the bylaws a few times and know how they may affect your committee or position. Be prepared before you walk into the board meeting. available board members and true interest in the governance of the club. Unfortunately, many board members see this as an opportunity to help, but not a commitment they need to fulfill. A trip here or there and they have missed two or three meetings. Some of these meetings are critical. Many club budgets are fluid and have been ever-changing with the trends of the moment. Members are using the club but there doesn’t seem to be a consistency within the trends at many of the average clubs. Sometimes this is confusing to the board and understandably so. When these things happen, the board segues off their path in the meetings. Are board members asking questions in the meetings that relate to operational issues? 116


If you have taken the time and effort to run for the board or committee position, be prepared and be an active and interested member. Understand that not everything you hear is going to be accurate or even true! Stay out of the daily operation and stay focused on the mission and the future of the club. Know and understand the bylaws. Read through the bylaws a few times and know how they may affect your committee or position. Be prepared before you walk into the board meeting. Call your GM/ CEO if you have questions, never blindside your professional staff. Understand how to read the financials at your club. If you want any additional information, ask for it a few days in advance. Make sure your questions are answered and don’t ever leave without clarity. Finally, don’t discuss board issues outside the board meeting within earshot of non-board members. This creates issues within club cliques! Enjoy your time outside the meetings and have a great experience! Your staff is trying their best to please you! You are their champion and a role model to many! B R

Does it make a difference if you are a manager at a Distinguished Club? Of course, it does! Both general managers and department heads of clubs who have earned Distinguished Club status are widely recognized by Kopplin Kuebler & Wallace and boards as leaders at providing a great Member Experience. It makes you a very strong candidate for leading clubs searching for top club management.

Executive Search Firm Leaders for the Private Club Industry Kopplin Kuebler & Wallace Partners pictured left-right: Dick Kopplin, Tom Wallace and Kurt Kuebler

The only merit-based award program that recognizes private clubs and their management for outstanding delivery of exceptional Member Experience.

from Case Study | 12

Cite statistics specific to private clubs and hospitality. Drill it down into what it means for their club, including costs and labor and what you are doing to adjust. Do it often even if it’s repetitive. 2. Rebuild your staff and get them to enjoy what they do. Build a positive employment brand. This may require a total revamp of past practices. Build a strong bond between staff and members to mutually respect potential frustrations and minimize flare-ups. Emphasize that we are all in this together. Encourage boards to censor the bad behaviors of members. 3. Be cautious of capital projects until you are certain that members will endure rising costs and labor difficulties. Having more facilities will not do nearly as much as perfecting what you have and demonstrating as little disruption as possible. 4. Do more with less. With appropriate communication and education, members understand that a bridge strategy of serfrom Governance | 60

When the energy, creativity, skill and collective resources of a club are focused on membership, the membership voice will always rise to the top and thus inform and sustain the strategy. Success and a rewarding experience are not far for all stakeholders when this is achieved. Eliminate confusion and inefficiency by creating governance and strategic clarity. Everyone knows their role and responsibilities, and accountability and rewards are clearly implemented.

from Club Facts & Figures | 100

The politicized nature of vaccines makes this more enticing for some employees. Training employees and actively running phishing simulations for them to practice what they learn will help combat the heightened risk of a successful phishing attack occurring. Further guidelines to help protect organizations and employees from phishing attacks: • Be cautious when clicking on links or opening attachments in emails, and don’t click on any links from unfamiliar senders. • Do not provide personal or company information when contacted via email. Verify the email address or contact the sender directly to confirm the legitimacy of the request. • Most importantly, if something seems suspicious, delete the request and try contacting the sender. Although many organizations engage in some form of prescriptive information security training, this training typically focuses on one or a few specific topics and is delivered at a single point in time. Awareness implies a basic level of understanding about a broad range of information security matters and is best achieved through multiple communication meth120


vice and activities may be necessary until things stabilize. Keep the communication flowing. Host a few town halls if necessary. 5. Use communication technology and frequent surveys to know what members are thinking. Frequent opportunities to ask about their experiences will never be more important. Likewise, staff experiences are critical to retaining a strong and vibrant presence for the member experience. Staff is our lifeline during times like this. Of course, many trends evolved from COVID-19. Freedom to safely socialize became a commodity for club members. The need for safe, outdoor recreation led the way to record sales of RVs, boats and golf rounds, all of which are in short supply. Golf rounds are higher than in the past 17 years. There is much to be positive about. The objective is to maintain the positive momentum circumventing the challenges that may continue to evolve. Managing a crisis may have become more difficult, but the rewards of maintaining forward momentum are within your grasp. It takes more than luck. BR Govern strategically and with an eye to the future and don’t succumb to the crisis or perceived crisis of the day. Make sure professionals in every department, volunteers on each committee, and board members are laser-focused on the membership and the approved strategy. Do this, and your club will enjoy high membership satisfaction and be a source of pride for the membership, the board and the professionals. In short, a membership-first style of leadership isn’t the only way to run a club … but it is the best way. B R

ods over time. Awareness provides the foundation level of knowledge and understanding for training to build upon. Simulated employee phishing schemes can be an incredibly effective way to mitigate the risk of phishing attacks. In a mock scenario, companies can test their internal controls and cyber defense systems at the same time as they deliver hands-on training and awareness. The most effective training should be club-specific, ongoing, and with built-in benchmarking so the company can assess its progress and performance. The risk of cyberattacks will only increase, especially as hackers deem phishing and ransomware attacks to be highly profitable. Every industry and every business is at risk. The best defense is a good offense … and employee awareness. BR Kevin Reilly, JD, CPA, CGMA is a partner with PBMares, LLP in Fairfax, VA and has specialized in the club industry for more than 30 years. He may be reached at (571) 276-7148 or by email at Antonina McAvoy, CISA is a senior manager in the Cybersecurity & Control Risk Services Team, located in Norfolk, VA and has more than a decade of experience leading and performing a wide spectrum of cybersecurity reviews. She may be reached at (757) 355-6011 or by email at

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from Publisher’s Perspective | 10

operational. Club boards should focus on forward-looking strategy and value (the member experience) and agree that the food and beverage operation is an amenity, not a profit center. “Club boards should financially focus on forward-looking capital needs and resources (the drivers of growth) and view the income statement to drive the member experience through programming and staffing,” Wallace added. “Based on data collected from approximately 1,000 private clubs and on insight from working directly with approximately 500 private club boards, Club Benchmarking believes there are five common traits of successful board members,” added Mona. 1. Actively participate in board decision-making 2. Visibly support board decisions 3. Understand their role in receiving/sharing member feedback 4. Understand their role as stewards of the club’s assets, not managers of the club 5. Understand their responsibility to the common good of the club, not to their own personal interest groups.

Most club members assume that one is qualified if they have served on boards for corporations or non-profits. Many members misunderstand the organizational nature, requirements, and needs of a private club,” he explained. “Sitting boards, board members, and nominating committees seldom consider what skills and capabilities the club needs. Thus, most club boards are the product of a popularity contest for who is – or is not – most liked. “Outstanding boards benefit from the service of members trained in such fields as accounting, finance, insurance/risk management, and law. This treasure chest of professional skills enables a club board to be business-like in executing its responsibilities since most board members understand what the board should – and should not – execute,” DeLozier added. “But often clubs end up making common mistakes in formulating a board slate and these include (1) popularity, (2) golfing or other athletic skills, (3) constituency-based representation (as in, seeking to identify board members who represent certain interest groups within the club), and (4) manipulation (engineered slates which damage the trustworthiness of the eventual board and trustworthiness within the board room).

So, what are the roles and responsibilities of the club’s general manager on the board? “The general manager provides input on long-term strategic goals, makes recommendations for the budget, prioritizes capital purchases for the board to approve, establishes short-term goals, and provides input for decisions on renovations and capital improvements. During board meetings, the GM should be a strategic thought partner to the board. They should provide a brief operational and financial assessment while keeping most of the focus on human capital, master goals, board education, innovation, and driving strategy around building a compelling and enduring member experience.” Tom Wallace, partner with Kopplin Kuebler & Wallace. How is this role clarity accomplished? “Through an upto-date board policy manual that clearly defines the board member’s role, and through implementation of a thorough board orientation performed consistently on an annual basis, and through adoption of a strategic board agenda,” Mona stressed. “There are three important steps to be taken to enable an outstanding board of directors,” advocated GGA’s DeLozier. “Establish clear and objective criteria for board service. The club must identify what skills, experience, and expectations are baseline criteria for board service. 122


“Common traits of top-performing board members are experience, knowledge of the club and being ‘known’ within the club through committee service. Most clubs nowadays require board members to have served on committees to enable fellow leaders and ordinary club members to see how an individual works for the good of the club. “However, members expect their boards to honor and achieve the basic duties of a board member – the duties of loyalty, care, good faith, and lawful actions. In these skeptical times, most club members expect that the board, as a whole, and the individual board members demonstrate their fidelity to these duties,” he stressed.

“Private club members have become increasingly intolerant of board members whose actions are found to be lacking in civility, indiscreet, and who demonstrate a self-serving approach to leadership. In addition, board members who fail to honor the confidentiality of the board room by ‘leaking’ board discussions and decisions are seen to lack the trustworthiness that is expected. “Poor committee members – as defined through a record of poor attendance, counter-productive behavior, and lack of preparation – do not become effective leaders once placed on the board,” DeLozier maintained. It also follows that integration into the board’s activities is key to creating an environment for new board members to be successful and genuinely contribute to the long-range health and wealth of the club. This means, at the least, a yearly orientation exposing board members to the structures, systems, policies and procedures and the club’s institutional memory so that all directors can assimilate and contribute in a much shorter time period. It helps provide clarity. “Clarity is accomplished by providing a responsibility matrix and clearly outlining the roles of the board, committee and the management team during mandatory board orientation and presenting reminders of this during ongoing education throughout the year,” emphasized Wallace. “It’s also incumbent upon the club to organize and implement a robust orientation process,” says GGA’s DeLozier. “Before the nominating committee begins its work and before ordinary members begin lobbying friends and fellow members to serve, it benefits all to understand what is expected of those who will serve on the board. Establishing clear-cut expectations is a constant for outstanding boards. “This is not an information dump where the club’s bylaws, governing history, and financial records are dropped into candidates’ laps. It is, however, a thoughtful curation of information that’s critical to one’s understanding of the duties, obligations, and expectations of board service. Therefore, each prospective board nominee should be oriented to the club’s requirements of its board members before they are nominated. The sitting president and nominating committee should administer the orientation process,” he explained. So, what are the roles and responsibilities of the club’s general manager on the board?

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STEVE BERLIN | (954)954.614.1505 614-1505 | STEVE@XHIBTZ.COM WWW.XHIBTZ.COM



Symptoms of a Bad Board Bad boards can have a devastating effect upon a private club, the member experience and of course, the membership. So, how do you define a ‘bad board.’ “Symptoms of a bad board are a lack of a strategic plan, lack of a board policy manual, lack of master goals for the board, committees and key department heads, lack of committee charters, lack of annual board training, lack of transparent board communication, lack of annual board governance training and becoming too mired in operations,” espoused Tom Wallace, a principal with Kopplin, Kuebler & Wallace, an industry consulting firm. Steve Mona, Club Benchmarking’s director of governance, suggests there are seven traits typical of a bad board. They include: 1. No reliance on objective data in decision-making 2. No understanding of roles/accountability between the GM and the board. 3. No vision, mission, values and strategic plan permeating the club’s culture 4. No realistic operating and capital budgets that connect directly to the strategic plan. 5. No regular surveying of membership to measure key components of member loyalty 6. No annual business plans that connect directly to the member loyalty survey, and 7. No strategic governance model that is embraced and lived by the club’s leadership “Prevention is a never-ending process that requires vigilance and consistency. Protecting a club from unhealthy governance begins with education including but not limited to an annual board orientation. Instituting appropriate structure (i.e., the board policy manual) and processes such as succession planning ensures a solid framework. Adoption of a strategic board agenda helps to keep things on track going forward,” Mona emphasized. B R

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“The general manager provides input on long-term strategic goals, makes recommendations for the budget, prioritizes capital purchases for the board to approve, establishes short-term goals, and provides input for decisions on renovations and capital improvements,” asserted KKW’s Wallace. “During board meetings, the GM should be a strategic thought partner to the board. They should provide a brief operational and financial assessment while keeping most of the focus on human capital, master goals, board education, innovation, and driving strategy around building a compelling and enduring member experience.” Gregg Patterson, now-retired long-time general manager and president of Tribal Magic, says creation of this synergistic relationship with the general manager and the board is vital. “There’s a need to articulate policies, roles and responsibilities, but these must flow from a beneficial relationship between the GM and the board of directors,” he said. So, the question is: How can the board improve its relationship with the general manager to make it more productive? “Having a good board, one that’s focused on policy, solicits policy input from the manager, provides operational advice to the GM (without crossing the line into micromanaging!), that’s properly grounded in governance, who’s aware, informed, concerned and collaborative, is critical to club success. Managers can help by providing a few basic guidelines,” said Patterson. Patterson’s guidelines include: • Identify and inventory: The manager, senior staff, president, the board and every committee should identify members who have ‘upside potential’, who could serve on the board with distinction. In addition, an inventory of ‘target’ members should be created, including those with specific skills – construction, the law, etc.; those who have offered to serve on committees and those who are engaged in the club,



who have a wide network of friends, who have a balanced perspective and have shown themselves to be reasoned and interested. Keeping this database current is critical. • Cultivate: Since committee experience is critical to board success, those with upside potential need to be selected for committee service. Ideally, these people should participate on two or three different committees for several years. Assignments should be given and performance noted. The GM who attends these committee meetings will observe and inventory who has the skills and delivers when asked. • Educate: During the committee journey, those with upside potential should receive a governance orientation and a committee orientation to provide a common understanding of the advisory role of committees, the board’s policy role, and the operations role of the GM. They should be made aware of the ‘big picture’ issues and the more committee-focused micro issues that need to be addressed right now. The chairman will identify and inventory those who are collaborative, informed, engaged, clever and caring. • Select: Those members who’ve flourished during the committee process and have the skillset needed to address the club’s short- and long-term needs should be chosen for service. The key? A track record of experience at the committee level. • Communicate: Once on the board, members need to know a little bit about many things and an awful lot about a few critical things. Giving everyone a common foundation in the issues and the facts is vital. So, communicate and then communicate some more. White papers. Variance reports. Financials. Memos. Benchmarks. Talk...lots with the GM. and each other. • Debrief: lots with the GM. and each other. Document – lots and inventory those insights for future retrieval. “An outstanding board understands club governance, knows the issues, has the facts and agrees on the principles

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from Publisher’s Perspective | 125

needed to guide the decision-making process,” Patterson emphasized. “By keeping clear lines of communication open and establishing how to disagree, synergistic relationships are created. In addition, there must be clear lines of communication and opportunities for joint education (where the board and GM participate together). Synergy is formed when each knows their role and responsibilities and stay focused on them (let GMs focus on operations and boards focus on strategic initiatives),” added Wallace. “Structure is vital. The board policy manual should include an authority matrix that clearly delineates the responsibilities of the GM and the board, along with the executive limitations within which the GM is expected to manage daily club operations and a communications schedule that delineates how the club will communicate with its various stakeholder groups,” explained Club Benchmarking’s Mona. “With key parameters in place, the GM and board can then work together to create a trusting relationship that will bring the club to unparalleled levels of success.”

However, through collaborative governance, boards establish policies and procedures and clearly define which decisions belong to the board and to management. Board members know who does what, when, how and why. Of course, both the board and the club’s management are on the same team…not opponents. Hence, the requirement for an annual board orientation is to get everyone up to speed for role clarification, decision making and the continued stewardship of the club and its ideals. Here are a few final tips: The new board must have a clear understanding of the club’s organization, mission, and vision. Board members need to internalize the club’s mission. An orientation and training session for your new board is an absolute requirement. In addition, role clarification and what is expected (‘job’ description, roles and responsibilities) of your club’s board members must be clearly explained. A more informed volunteer board establishes the club’s policy with commitment. It gives management the ways and means to enact the policies, encouraging transparency in its dealings, with each fully aware of their roles and responsibilities.

How can the board improve its relationship with the general manager to make it more productive? “Having a good board, one that’s focused on policy, solicits policy input from the manager, provides operational advice to the GM (without crossing the lin into micromanaging!), that’s properly grounded in governance, who’s aware, informed, concerned and collaborative, is critical to club success. Managers can help by providing a few basic guidelines.” Gregg Patterson, president of Tribal Magic PUBLISHER’S FINAL THOUGHTS We might consider ‘bad boards’ as having a paralyzing effect upon a private club’s effective and efficient operation. But unfortunately, we’ve all seen it happen all too often, where the professional staff and management have become the puppets or scapegoats for the action of a ‘bad board’, if not one specific board member. Why? There’s often a lack of role clarity for the board, the individual board members and the club’s general manager. As a result, the board sees itself and unconsciously acts as the club’s management. Not good! And it may also be because someone has a personal agenda they wish to pursue, or there’s a need for glorification. Sometimes these boards become the result of ‘bad’ directors…candidates because of inadequate vetting or because certain candidates have cleverly masked their true, personal agenda when vying for a board position. 126


Ultimately there must be a healthy trust relationship and when this happens, general managers flourish, boards flourish, a club’s culture flourishes, meaning continued success for the private club. Boardroom magazine has created Boardroom Institute (BRI) to help prepare the board to govern properly, and that’s the best cure for micromanaging. To view Boardroom Institute, go to Boardroommagazine. com. Click on Boardroom Institute. Watch the introduction and click to learn more. Call me if you have any questions – 949-376-8889. It’s the process leading to more robust, more relevant governance for your club. At least, that’s the way I see it. B R John G. Fornaro, publisher

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BOARDROOM MAGAZINE ADVERTISING INDEX ACCP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127 Addison Law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Ambassador Uniform . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89 Angela Grande . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93 APCD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112-113 Bambrella . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107 Big John Grills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121 BoardRoom’s Distinguished Clubs . . . . . . . . . . . . 117, 118 & 119 BoardRoom’s Distinguished Golf Destinations . . . . . . . . . 109 Boothe Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127 Bozeman Club and Corporate Interiors . . . . . . . 2 C2 Limited Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Castor Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Chambers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .95 ClubDesign Associates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Clubessential . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103 ClubPay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 ClubTec . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53 ClubUp . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93 Clubwise . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101 Club Benchmarking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Cobalt Software . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80-81 Concert Golf Partners . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65 Corby Hall . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99 Country Club Technology Partners . . . . . . . . . . 127

Creative Golf Marketing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Duffy’s Tri-C Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121 Emersa Waterbox . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 Ethos Club & Leisure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Eustis Chair . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97 FOOD-TRAK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Forbes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .63 Gasser Chair . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 GCSAA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131 Gecko Hospitality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 Golf Business Network . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Golf Property Analysts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125 GSI Executive Search . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Heritage Golf Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82-83 HFTP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 High End Uniforms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95 Hilda W. Allen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125 HINT | Harris Interiors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 JBD JGA Design and Architecture . . . . . . . . . . . 101 Jonas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 KE Camps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107 Kopplin Kuebler & Wallace . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 & 39 MAI | Marsh & Associates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 McMahon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 MembersFirst . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 MemberText . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 Mindful U . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111

NanaWall . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69 Northstar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132 Peacock + Lewis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97 PGA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 PHX Architecture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Pipeline Agency . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67 Proform Matting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105 RCS Hospitality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105 Rogers McCagg . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99 RSM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123 S&K Insurance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71 Strategic Club Solutions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 St. Timothy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127 Survey & Ballot Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103 Syzygy Global . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84-85 Top Tier Leadership . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 Triumph Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Troon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73 USPTA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87 Wausau Tile . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 WebTec . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53 Welch Tennis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91 XHIBTZ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109 & 123

BOARDROOM MAGAZINE COUNTRY CLUB INDEX Rob Barr, athletic director, Detroit Athletic Club, Detroit, MI

Ryan Kenny, GM, Dedham Country & Polo Club in Dedham, MA

Nancy Berkley, green committee and marketing committee, Frenchman’s Creek Beach & Country Club, Palm Beach Gardens, FL

Dr. Bonnie Knutson, the Country Club of Lansing and the Michigan Athletic Club

Kris Butterfield is director of membership, communications and public relations, Bethesda Country Club and president of PCMA.

Michael McCarthy, CEO Addison Reserve Country Club, Delray Beach, FL

Jarrett Chirico, USPTA, PTR, PPTA,PPR, director of racquets, Baltimore Country Club, Baltimore, MD Frank Cordeiro, COO, Colonial Country Club, Fort Worth, TX David A. Devine, first vice president, Detroit Athletic Club, Detroit, MI Vito Gioia II, second vice president, Detroit Athletic Club, Detroit, MI Jonathon Goodman, CFO, Lost Tree Club in North Palm Beach, FL

Nancy Levenburg, member, Spring Lake Country Club, Spring Lake, MI Marian McGill, CCM, assistant GM, Superstition Mountain Golf and Country Club, Gold Canyon, AZ Pamela Radcliff, SHRM-SCP, CAM, director of human resources, Hideaway Beach Club, Marco Island, FL Duncan Reno CCM, CCE is the GM/COO officer at Del Rio Country Club, CA Robert Sereci, GM, Medinah Country Club, Medinah, IL

Marius Ilie, GM/COO, Glen Oaks Club, Old Westbury, NY

Harvey P. Stein, Distinguished Club President, 2021, Addison Reserve Country Clubs, Delray Beach, FL

Charles Johnson, executive manager, Detroit Athletic Club, Detroit, MI

Aaron Wagner, GM, Grosse Pointe Yacht Club, Grosse Pointe, MI



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