BoardRoom magazine March/April 2023

Page 91

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Fort Worth | Palm Desert | scottsDale | Beverly hills clu BD esignassociates com | 866-484-9853 scottsDale | Beverly hills P hxarch com | 888-217-1117 Two Award-Winning Firms...One Amazing Team. Master Planning | Architecture | Interior Design | Consulting Orinda Country Club, Orinda, California
Great Hills Country Club, Austin, Texas

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:

Dysfunctional Boards Create Havoc

Without a doubt, a smooth functioning board of directors remains critical to the success of a private club.

But all too often, a dysfunctional, toxic board of directors wreaks havoc on a private club, leaving a shattered membership and reputation.

We’re all quite familiar with the signs of a dysfunctional board:

• Significant lack of trust

• Micromanagement of the club’s staff

• Personal or political agendas

• Lack of communication

• Personality clashes

• Avoiding accountability

• Lost opportunities

• Secret meetings, and

• Lack of participation, to name a few.

So, in this issue, John Fornaro’s Publisher’s Perspective begins a two-part series and tackles the topic of a dysfunctional board. Part I of the series delves into the meaning of dysfunction, where it begins, what it means and how it affects a club’s successful operation, indicating how it affects the member experience, employees, finances, liability issues, strategic planning and, of course, collaborative governance.

Part II, which will be published in our May/June BoardRoom, looks at what clubs can do about a dysfunctional board and the road to success.

Our contributors agree that strong leadership, accountability, a successful board retreat, a strategic plan, realistic budgets, decisions made based on hard data and a board policy manual are among the factors leading to success. For anyone in the club industry, this is a must-read series!

Recipients of the BoardRoom Lifetime Achievement Awards have made sustained contributions of excellence that have had a far-reaching impact on the club industry.

“Both these gentlemen have contributed to the private club industry through their leadership, organizational skills and achievements,” expressed John Fornaro, BoardRoom’s publisher and CEO.

Ryan Doerr, president, Strategic Club Solutions and Craig Marshall, affectionately known as “The Monk”, and cofounder of Mindful “U”, share the Gary Player Educator of the Year Award 2022

Rob DeMore, executive vice president, Troon Prive´ and Carmen Mauceri, GM/COO, The Club at Mediterra, Naples, FL, share the John Fornaro Impact Award for the impact of their contributions to the private club industry in 2022.

Dave Doherty, CEO and founder of International Sports Turf Research Center, Inc., a turf expert and solution finder for what ails many of the greens at golf courses across the country, is the 2022 recipient of the Dave White Editorial Award. Doherty has contributed stories to our Greens Committee for many years providing clubs and golf course superintendents with solutions to their turf issues.

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Sometimes it’s all too easy to miss giving credit when it’s due...and that’s the case for the gatefold picture of those who participated in the BoardRoom Distinguished Ideas Summit 22 and published in our January/February BoardRoom.

“It was an oversight on us to not provide BoardRoom with the name of our staff member who took that photograph,” said Kaitlyn Schwab, marketing and communications manager for West Bay Club in Estero, FL.

So, here’s the picture again with credit to Kimberly J Photography Thanks, Kimberly, for your outstanding work. BR

For the 24th consecutive, we, in this issue, acknowledge the accomplishments of those in the private club industry with our BoardRoom Excellence in Achievement Awards

Our BoardRoom Awards honor and recognize the private clubs’ business partners and the achievements of exceptional individuals in the industry.

BoardRoom magazine recognizes Kevin Reilly of PBMares and Dan Denehy, Denehy Thinking Partners, as recipients of the BoardRoom Lifetime Achievement Awards 2022.

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John G. Fornaro


Dave White

Chief Creative Officer

Heather Arias de Cordoba

Copy Editor

Chryssoula Filippakopoulos

Innovative Ideas Editor

Heather Arias de Cordoba

APCD Executive Director

Bill Thomas Editorial & Marketing Director

Dee Kaplan

Business Development

Joshua Nuzzi Operations Diretor/Subscriptions

Krystal Santoro


John G. Fornaro President

Keith Jarrett

Chief Analyst

Frank Gore

Chief Information Officer

Jeff Briggs

Executive Director

Bill Thomas

Executive Assistant/ Director of Support

Joshua Nuzzi

Contact Information

(949) 376-8889

Henry DeLozier

John G. Fornaro

Bonnie J. Knutson

Nancy M. Levenburg Melissa Low

Contributing Writers

Skip Avery

Rita Barreto

Bill Boothe

Kris Butterfield

Jarrett Chirico

Dr. Ronald F. Cichy

Trevor Coughlan

Michael Crandal

David Crandell

Ryan Doerr

Dave Doherty

Todd Dufek

Boris Fetbroyt

Michael McCall

Philip G. Newman

Gregg Patterson

Chryssoula Filippakopoulos

Jonathan Goodman

Larry Hirsh

Dick Kopplin

Laura Leszczynski

Craig Marshall

Mike Phelps

Colin Read

Duncan Reno

Whitney Reid Pennell

Michelle Riklan

Dave White

Corey Saban

Rosie Slocum

Brad D. Steele

Greg Stenzel

Robyn Stowell

Mike Strauss

Michelle Tanzer

Gordon Welch

Ryan Whitney

Frank Wolfe

Contact Information
376-8889 Jim Anhut
The BoardRoom magazine (USPS 022516, ISSN 15537684) is a bi-monthly trade publication. Issue 306 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 accounting: editorial: or or visit the website at BoardRoom magazine is published by APCD Inc. 1100 S. Coast Hwy. #311 Laguna Beach, California 92691 Featured Columnists
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PeoPle Focused, Quality driven s can F or a F ull directory o F services . CLEVELAND / DENVER / JUPITER / NAPLES NEW YORK / SCOTTSDALE / WASHINGTON D.C. WWW.KKANDW.COM WWW.CLUBLEADERSHIPALLIANCE.COM 480-443-9102 EXECUTIVE SEARCH FIRM OF THE YEAR 15TH YEAR IN A ROW t he most trusted name in executive search and consulting ! Serving The Industry Since 1996



Well-performing boards are critical to the success of a private club. So, what happens when a private club ends up with a dysfunctional board? It can be disastrous for the club’s member experience, employees, and successful operation. So, where does it all begin? How do we know the dysfunction exists?




“Failure is not an option.” What a line, not just for a movie about an aborted moon-landing mission, but for all manner of business, sport and politics. It’s got American boldness, confidence and chutzpah coursing through every syllable. But maybe we’ve been wrong about failure. Maybe it really is an option. It was, at least temporarily, for a long and star-studded list of failures.




Unquestionably, first responders – regardless of their capacity – provide invaluable services to their local communities. They respond to life-threatening calls, often putting their lives on the line to protect and save others. And we ought to thank them for what they do.





Excellence is a shared mindset or attitude toward achieving the best possible results, continually striving to improve and be the best. To achieve service excellence, clubs must have a well-defined and communicated service culture.



Now, we all have a bad day from time to time and may go into one of the freezers, close the door and yell a few choice words … but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about one little word that can cause toxicity, infiltrate a culture, demoralize a team and increase attrition. It’s simple. The word is “I.”





Club management needs to be proactive if it wants to maintain the trust of board members when it comes to how the club spends hardearned member dollars. You need your board members to be “ambassadors of truth” when they disseminate the realities of the club’s fiscal management to the membership. To accomplish this, it is worth educating the board.




It is a new year and a new session of Congress. While the divided nature of Congress will make bipartisanship and compromise difficult, it will not stop the action in the regulatory agencies which have been busy with new proposed and final rules affecting many facets of the club industry.




If the post-pandemic world has taught us anything, it is that the club industry cannot be developing a marketing plan aimed at just convincing people to be active club members. The emphasis has shifted toward providing amazing experiences that build loyalty, that command comments via that elusive word-of-finger (no longer just word-of-mouth) and revenues.


Right talk is all about engaging people, asking questions, getting the hesitant to speak, listening to answers, reading body language, expanding on answers, asking follow-up questions, keeping the dialogue going and the “facilitated” speaking. Talkers are the askers of questions, the sustainers of conversation. Talkers know that listeners want to be talkers, the focus of attention, part of the conversation, a participant in “the answer,” engaged in “the verbal embrace.” Talkers know “people.”

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EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE 26 Adjust and Adapt By
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE 28 How Much Debt Is Right for Your Club? By Larry
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE 30 Is Your GM a Leader or a Manager? By Craig
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE 32 Preparing the Next Generation of Club Leadership By Duncan
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE ............ 34 Controlling Operating Expenses With Proper Labor Management By Ryan
HOUSE COMMITTEE ............... 38 Locker Room Staff Appreciation Day Is May 12 By Todd
HOUSE COMMITTEE ............... 40 The Member Disciplinary Process By Brad
RACQUET COMMITTEE ............. 44 A Glance Backward to Understand the Pathway Ahead By Jarrett Chirico RACQUET COMMITTEE 46 Key Factors to Avoid Burnout in the Racquets Industry By Boris Fetbroyt RACQUET COMMITTEE 48 Pickleball Packs a Punch By Rosie
GREEN COMMITTEE ............... 52 The Sports Turf Industry By Dave Doherty HR COMMITTEE................... 54 The Importance of Feedback to Employee Retention By Rita Barreto TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE 64 Get to Know the Difference Between Local, Hosted and Cloud Software By
FINANCE COMMITTEE 76 Let’s Focus on Employee Base Compensation By Michael Crandal MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE 84 The Struggle Is Real: Dealing with the Influx of New Members By Kris
MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE 86 What Is Club Branding? How Can You Leverage it to Create Loyal, Lifetime Members? By Ryan
Leszczynski MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE ......... 88 Fuel For Thought By Mike Phelps DEPARTMENTS COMMITTEES EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Awards and Achievements: It Takes More Than a Little Effort By Greg
GREEN COMMITTEE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 GCSAA Offers
Recognition By Mike
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 Top Private
Presidents of
2022 By Chryssoula Filippakopoulos TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60 HFTP 2022 Compensation and Benefits Survey By Frank Wolfe BOARDROOM PERSPECTIVES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100 Have You Had Your Orientation? By Gordon Welch SECTIONS TECHNOLOGY PERSPECTIVE 66 What Do Asbestos and Member Identity TheftHave in Common? By Bill
& Jonathan
STAFFING SOLUTIONS ............. 70 H2B and J1 International Staffing— Making the Dollars Make Cents By David Crandell EXCELLENCE IN CLUB GOVERNANCE .. 78 Don’t Be Like Jack Welch - Choose the Right Person to Succeed You
LAW AND LEGISLATIVE 80 More Voting Questions — Part II By Robyn
LAW AND LEGISLATIVE 82 When Members Sue, Can We Kick Them Out? By Michelle Tanzer ARCHITECTURE SHOWCASE 90 Stone Group Architects By Skip
TECHNOLOGY SHOWCASE .......... 91 Whoosh By Colin Read INNOVATIVE IDEAS 96-97 Houston Country Club Army Navy Country Club By Chryssoula Filippakopoulos THIS MUCH I KNOW FOR SURE 110 Empowerment - The Key to a General Manager’s Shorter Workweek! By Dick Kopplin FEATURE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94 Kevin Reilly A Lifetime of Club Industry Achievements By Phil Newman COVER STORY 20 Beau Welling Meets the Challenge Of PGA Frisco’s Field Ranch West By Dave White, editor FEATURE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72 BoardRoom magazine Excellence in Achievement Awards
D. Steele
Trevor Coughlan
Corey Saban
Programs for the Highest Level of Professional
the Year
By Henry DeLozier


Measuring the Cost of a Dysfunctional Board of Directors — Part I

Boards of directors are the lifeblood of a private club...groups of people who, through their collective knowledge, skill and experience and positive decision-making, are intended to make good things happen at their private club.

Well-performing boards are critical to the success of a private club. So, what happens when a private club ends up with a dysfunctional board? It can be disastrous for the club’s member experience, employees, and successful operation.

Often there are warning a lack of communication, personality clashes, personal or political agendas, lack of accountability and the inability to make positive decisions, and dissatisfied club members, to name a few.

So, where does it all begin? How do we know the dysfunction exists?

It often begins just where we expect it to surface...with gossip mongers in the club’s bar.

the rumor mill starts up and all sorts of gossip that is unkind. This affects all areas of the club, including membership attraction and retention,” he added.

“A dysfunctional board affects all areas of the club operations because decisions are not being made that are in line with the club’s mission or the best interests of the club’s membership or staff,” said Mark Bado, GM/COO of the Houston Country Club.

“Employee turnover or dissatisfaction with their job is common in clubs with inadequate boards. Because there’s a lack of focus and/or a lack of a definitive plan, money is often wasted on programs that prove ineffective or do not align with the club’s strategic goals. With a lack of direction from a dysfunctional board, productivity and progress declines or is non-existent because decisions cannot be made, incorrect decisions are made and time must be spent putting out fires and correcting course rather than moving forward,” he stressed.

“Dysfunction first shows up in the conversations of board members at the bar or other social areas of the club. For example, one board member with an agenda will start to drink and talk to other board members about their ideas and plans to change the club. Generally, these ideas are not part of the club’s current plan,” expressed Ron Banaszak, BoardRoom’s Distinguished Clubs’ director of international development.

“A dysfunctional board of directors quickly impacts every level of the club. These board members can make it unpleasant for members to visit their club and for employees to come to work and give quality service. In addition,

“Lack of decision making, or bad board decisions and its committees mark early signs of dysfunction; also, an unsatisfied membership can be a result of a board that’s not working towards improving and growing their club experiences.”

Tom Wallace believes a dysfunctional board affects a club in many ways. Wallace, principal with Kopplin Kuebler & Wallace, a leading industry executive search firm, suggests the dysfunction goes far beyond collaboration between the board, the general manager and senior staff, including micromanagement.

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:
“The individuals on a dysfunctional board involve themselves in the departmental goals and operation when that’s the sole responsibility of the GM. Dysfunctional boards usually mean the chain of command is not being followed and there is no accountability, which is very disruptive between the GM and their department heads.”
Tom Wallace, principal with Kopplin Kuebler & Wallace
CREATING FOUNDATIONS FOR SUSTAINABLE SUCCESS 5429 LBJ Freeway, Suite 400, Dallas, Texas 75240 • (972) 341-8133 Three recognized industry leaders operating together under one roof. AddisonLaw Equity Turnovers/Sales Membership Plans New/Redevelopment Deal Structures Executive Search Human Capital Management Post-Hire Consulting HR Compliance Business and Brand Strategy Operational Consulting Repositioning/New Capital Development/Sales THE CLUB COMPANIES


Henry DeLozier is a partner at GGA Partners. He can be reached via email:

Failure Is an Option

“We’ve never lost an American in space; we’re sure as hell not going to lose one on my watch. Failure is not an option.”

– Astronaut Gene Krantz, played by Ed Harris, in the movie Apollo 13

“Failure is not an option.”

What a line, not just for a movie about an aborted moon-landing mission, but for all manner of business, sport and politics. It’s got American boldness, confidence and chutzpah coursing through every syllable.

But maybe we’ve been wrong about failure. Maybe it really is an option. It was, at least temporarily, for a long and star-studded list of failures:

Columbus never found Antilla nor much of anything else for which he set sail. His 1492 voyage was about the only thing that went right in his life. (You would have to say he pulled it out at the end.)

Henry Ford, Walt Disney, Richard Branson, Oprah Winfrey, J.K. Rowling, Bill Gates, Milton Hershey, Steve Jobs, Babe Ruth and Michael Jordan are the poster pioneers in the failure pantheon. (Of course, they also earned an asterisk to accompany their failures.)

Ever heard of Choglit, OK Soda or Surge? All rest peacefully in Coca-Cola’s brand graveyard after millions of dollars were spent in their development and promotion.

More than 90 percent of startups fail within three years. Among them MoviePass, CutCat, YikYak, Vessyl and Juicero, each of which for a brief time was valued in the financial stratosphere after attracting and then squandering millions of dollars in venture capital.

But here’s the thing: Entrepreneurs and innovators don’t view failure the same as so many others. They understand that a degree of failure in the innovation process is inevitable, often even valuable. As they say in Silicon Valley: fail faster.

But what if you’re so overwhelmed by a fear of failure that it’s affecting your performance and your quality of life? We’ve seen it happen to directors, general managers and senior managers in this business, and it’s always because those leaders are putting too much pressure on themselves and their clubs to be perfect. They want their facilities to look immaculate, their staff to serve with ultimate precision and their own performance viewed as flawless.

As we know, life doesn’t work that way. In the words of Mike Tyson: “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

Dr. Bob Rotella, the respected sports psychologist who has worked with many of the world’s most successful athletes, as well as business leaders, wrote the book “Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect,” in which he points out that in their lives golfers are going to hit a lot more bad shots than good ones.

So, what do we do? We get up off the mat and punch back. We move on to the next shot, determined to make it one of beauty.

The business author Bernard Marr points out that the one thing that all “radically successful” people have in common is a ferocious drive and hunger for success that makes them never give up. That’s not to say they don’t believe failure is an option. It’s more likely that their success comes from another noble American characteristic: persistence.

They believe, as Winston Churchill famously implored in 1941 at Harrow School: “Never give in, never give in. Never, never, never. In nothing great or petty, never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense.”

One suggestion if the possibility of failure is dragging you down: Redefine terms. Think of it this way: Success can be realized at a number of steps along the way to the ultimate goal. By setting milestones – with deadlines and quantifiable performance measures – you can achieve multiple mini successes, and in the process, avoid stress and anxiety along the way.

One more idea: Give yourself permission to enjoy the journey. One way to do that is to take pleasure in the knowledge and experience gained on the road to your goals.

As Rotella says: “Learn to love the challenge that comes with hitting a ball into the rough, trees, or sand. The alternatives – anger, fear, whining, and cheating – do no good.”

And, as for those “failures” we mentioned earlier – Henry Ford, Walt Disney, Richard Branson, Oprah Winfrey, J.K. Rowling, Bill Gates, Milton Hershey, Steve Jobs, Babe Ruth and Michael Jordan? They understood that the story of their lives and careers would not be written until they stopped trying. BR




Nancy Levenburg, PhD, is a recently retired professor of management in the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, MI. She is the president of Edgewater Consulting and a member of Spring Lake Country Club in Spring Lake, MI. For more information, contact her at: or (616) 821-5678.

Recognizing First Responders

“Real heroes don’t wear capes. Real heroes wear uniforms and badges and stethoscopes.”

“I’ve always seen first responders as unsung heroes and very special people because when everyone else is running away from danger, they run into it.”

Who is a first responder? According to the Legal Information Institute, first responders include people who are firefighters, law enforcement officers, paramedics, emergency medical technicians, and other individuals (including employees of legally organized and recognized volunteer organizations, whether compensated or not), who, in the course of their professional duties, respond to fire, medical, hazardous material, and other similar emergencies (34 U.S. Code § 10705).

A first responder has also been described as “a person with specialized training who is among the first to arrive and provide assistance or incident resolution at the scene of an emergency, such as an accident, disaster, medical emergency, structure fire, crime, or terrorist attack.”

Unquestionably, first responders – regardless of their capacity – provide invaluable services to their local communities. They respond to life-threatening calls, often putting their lives on the line to protect and save others.

As one example, an Ottawa County Sheriff officer who is a dear friend was the first to arrive at a crash scene in February 2022 when an SUV rolled over and came to rest in a frozen Michigan pond, trapping a mother and three small children inside the vehicle. He quickly called for backup and did not hesitate to plunge into the frigid water in a frantic effort to try to free them. In recognition of his valor, he recently received an award for his bravery. A local shoe store also generously replaced his boots, which were waterlogged and ruined.

In addition to this shoe store, other retailers nationwide demonstrate their recognition and appreciation of first responders’ service and sacrifice through discounts and special offers. Verizon, for example, offers first responders a Welcome Unlimited Plan.

First responders can enjoy a free chicken sandwich at Chick-fil-A by showing their ID. Wendy’s offers a 20 percent discount to all active-duty military, police, and search and rescue personnel. Home improvement stores such as Home Depot and Lowe’s offer first responder discounts that range from 10 percent to 15 percent. And Jeep offers a $500 cash discount on selected 2022 and 2023 models. These are but a few examples.

Why do they do this? First, as Dean Cain tells us, first responders are unsung heroes who protect citizens’ well-being. And we ought to thank them for what they do. Secondly, according to one marketing firm, because the public often clamors that businesses should “give back” to the communities that support them, additional goodwill and intangible benefits accrue by focusing efforts on first responders.

One way to market to first responders is simply to show appreciation for them through signs (literally!) of support. Other ways: offer discounts (like Jeep) or free goods (like Chick-fil-A), or hold a fundraiser.

Numerous private clubs host golf tournaments to raise funds for first responders. For example, Mesa Country Club (Mesa, AZ) hosts a First Responders Appreciation Tournament, and Bluegrass Yacht and Country Club (Hendersonville, TN) hosts a First Responders Golf Tournament to raise funds that support the county’s rehab unit. Not only do these events demonstrate appreciation for first responders, but they also support the important work they do.

Finally, your club could consider doing as The Canyon Club at Four Hills (Albuquerque, NM) does and make first responders your priority. The Canyon Club welcomes first responders as club members, offering full golf privileges, access to tennis courts, a fitness room, a swimming pool, a restaurant, social functions and activities to first responders and their families.

Huntsville Country Club (Huntsville, AL) offers a 20 percent membership discount to first responders (and teachers, too!). Membership dues are staggered by age, so whatever age category the first responder falls into, the dues are discounted by 20 percent.

According to Morgan Cochrane, HCC’s membership director, first responders appreciate the discounted memberships. The discounted memberships have also generated new member referrals.

Sounds like a win-win to me. BR

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Striving for service excellence is a vital component of any successful private club.

Service can be a unique competitive identifier, setting the club apart from the rest and bringing members back time and again. Yet, achieving service excellence requires a delicate blend of complex factors, including a dedicated staff, a commitment to training and a laser focus on member satisfaction.

Excellence is a shared mindset or attitude toward achieving the best possible results, continually striving to improve and be the best. Excellence is a state of being reflected not only in the outcome but also in the way one approaches work, one’s attitude toward others and the level of care and attention one puts into every task.

To achieve service excellence, clubs must have a well-defined and communicated service culture: a set of shared values, beliefs and practices that shape the way staff members interact with members and guests and with each other. A service culture of excellence creates a positive, welcoming and professional atmosphere that reflects the club’s values and enhances the overall member experience.

Hiring employees who share the club’s values and show dedication to its members is critical. A set of shared values helps staff members fully invest in the club’s success, with a commitment to providing exceptional experiences for members. Communicating the club’s mission, vision and values during the recruiting and hiring process mitigates the chances of a poor job fit, thus increasing retention and lowering turnover. Once an employee is hired, ongoing training and development opportunities help to refine the employee’s skills and knowledge.

Commitment to training must be a dedicated effort by the club’s leadership to provide ongoing education and development opportunities for staff members. Part of a club’s strategy should include a willingness to invest time, resources and energy into training programs that will help employees acquire new skills, improve their performance and advance their careers.

This may include various types of training and coaching, such as in-person workshops, online courses, mentoring and on-the-job training. A training commitment is important for the club. It helps ensure that staff members are well-equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to perform their jobs effectively, improve member service and ultimately drive the club’s success.

Well-trained employees must be laser-focused on member satisfaction, using systems and processes to achieve consistency and personalized service, pillars of outstanding club service. To do this, the club must understand the needs and preferences of its members, then show and encourage employees how to go above and beyond to exceed those needs.

Knowing member preferences allows the team to offer customized service options, such as special menus or tailored activities and events. Making personalized service a priority teaches employees to learn and use members’ names and regularly solicit feedback from members to continually enhance their experience and identify areas for improvement.

Many times, clubs rely on their long-term employees to teach others about member preferences, which isn’t fair to the members who then feel they have to help train new employees each year. Member service should be seamless regardless of the employee serving them.

Next, a dynamic and engaged leadership team has to set an example for the rest of the staff through words and actions – leading by example. The best club leaders are approachable, responsive to members and employees, and accountable for the service the club provides.

Lastly, excellence cannot be achieved in a club setting without a well-designed and maintained facility with the tools and resources to complete a job. A well-maintained facility not only enhances the aesthetic appeal but also ensures the safety and comfort of members and employees.

A thoughtful layout and design facilitate efficient service, which can lower labor costs, while regular maintenance and repairs can prevent problems before they occur. A lack of tools and resources can have a significant impact on service quality and member satisfaction. It can lead to delays, mistakes, inconsistency and poor employee morale, resulting in damage to a club’s reputation and making it difficult to retain staff and members.

Having a well-defined service culture and total commitment to achieving excellence can ensure that club members receive timely, consistent service delivered by dedicated employees, which ultimately leads to increased loyalty, retention and referrals. In short, total club success. BR

Whitney Reid Pennell, president of RCS Hospitality Group, is a celebrated management consultant, educator, and speaker. For more information, phone (623) 322-0773; or visit the RCS website at


Watch Your Language


Michelle Riklan is a career strategist, consultant, and search executive with Kopplin Kuebler & Wallace, a consulting firm providing executive search, strategic planning and data analysis services to the private club and hospitality industries. Michelle can be reached at (908) 415-4825 and at

I have worked in the private club industry for about 12 years.

A love of the industry and recognition of how unique and special the people and the clubs are spurred me to engage full time with Kopplin Kuebler & Wallace.

The more clubs I visit and the more educational opportunities I attend, the more I know this is true. And I’m also aware of how many cultural issues mirror my previous corporate clients.

When I’m invited to a club to work on a search, coach, consult, or deliver teambuilding or communications training, I observe first. One of the things I notice is the language they use. I listen and note how the team members communicate ─ verbally and non-verbally. It helps me to get a better sense of the overall culture.

Now, we all have a bad day from time to time and may go into one of the freezers, close the door and yell a few choice words … but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about one little word that can cause toxicity, infiltrate a culture, demoralize a team and increase attrition. It’s simple. The word is “I.”

Let me share some recent examples. Several weeks ago, a friend and I went to dinner at a trendy, casual restaurant in Manhattan. The server approached our table with a young lady right behind him. He smiled and said, “Hello, I’m John. I’ll be your server, and I’ll be taking care of you today. This is Lindsey; she’s training with me. I’ll give you a few more minutes to look over the menu.”

Lindsey did not seem happy when she left the table. I was embarrassed for both of them. It also seemed that Lindsey was questioning the type of team culture she had joined. It certainly didn’t feel inclusive. It also seemed to me that John needed some training. Specifically, he needed to work on his “we.”

The language of non-inclusion can manifest at so many touchpoints.

Another example was a job posting I recently read by a club looking for someone to fill a somewhat senior-level role. The position level doesn’t matter, but the posting began with “I am seeking a (blank) to join my team.” If I were an applicant, I would already be turned off. Whose team is it? Read that sentence out loud. Now read this: “We are seeking a (blank) to join our team.” Simple. Can you feel and hear the difference?

Or how about the department head who brings a team member or two to a presentation where perhaps those team members provided some input? Let’s say they addressed the group by saying, “I am here today to present” instead of “We are here to present.”

How does watching the language being used shift the culture in a positive direction? If you are a department head discussing an issue with the staff, think about how you open up the dialogue. What do you say? “I’ve noticed during the past month that many of you seem distracted.” Or this: “I’ve noticed during the past month that many of us seem dis tracted.”

The replacement of one little word says a lot about the department head’s leadership style. The department head is part of the team and reinforces that notion, even when something needs to be addressed and corrected. It bolsters overall trust and emphasizes the team concept.

Multiple linguistic and psychological studies conclude that using words that are more “other-focused,” such as “we,” “us” and “our,” is advantageous to building a more trusting, friendlier, more collaborative, more open to connectivity, communal environment.

In contrast, several studies showed that excessive “I” talk, using pronouns such as “I,” “me” and “you” — talk that is inward or self-focused — actually decreases connectiv ity, is associated with depression and causes employees to disengage.

Is it possible that the workplace is a bit depressed? Gray and gloomy? Are we striving for a dynamic, positive team culture but are not quite sure why we aren’t getting there? Maybe we need to take a deep dive into how our people communicate with each other and the language we use.

If we watch our language and are more mindful of being other-focused in our words, our words become actions and actions become habits. And … guess what? Positive habits are the foundation of a positive culture.

So, let’s all watch our language. BR

Your national search begins here. Powered by the PGA, ExecuSearch is the leading professional resource for employers looking for their next leader in the golf and hospitality industry. DRIVE YOUR FUTURE SUCCESS

Beau Welling

Meets the Challenge Of PGA Frisco’s Field Ranch West

The landscape in Frisco, Texas, is changing... rapidly! It’s all because of the PGA Frisco project. This public-private partnership includes PGA of America, Omni Hotels & Resorts, the City of Frisco and the Frisco Independent School District.

The project is part of the Hunt Realty Investment 2,500acre master plan development that includes two 18-hole world-class courses, a 10-hole short course, a 30-acre practice facility, 500 Omni PGA Frisco Resort with a 127,000 square foot convention center, as well as a unique golf themed retail experience, 40,000 square foot clubhouse, 10,000 square foot performance center and the PGA of America Headquarters and NTPGA Headquarters.

As might be expected, the economic impact of the development in the coming years is anticipated to be in the billions.

Two world-class golf courses – Fields Ranch East, designed by Gil Hanse Golf Course Design, and Fields Ranch West, the baby of Beau Welling Design, Greenville, SC – help anchor the project. It’s expected that 26 Championships will be played on the courses during the first 12 years.

The fact is, Beau Welling’s firm has been more involved than just designing the West Course.

“We were also responsible for the master planning for the entire PGA Frisco development,” Welling said recently. “Our team designed Fields Ranch West, the development’s practice facilities, and co-designed The Swing short course with Gil Hanse, designer of Fields Ranch East.”

So, how does Welling describe the West Course?

“Fields Ranch West was designed to offer a very playable and enjoyable yet strategic test of golf. The topography on the West Course is one of the first things that will strike players as the site has over 75 feet of elevation change. Playing along Panther Creek, the course looks to take advantage of the site’s natural character and its prairie setting,” Welling added.

“The course itself is strategic and will encourage shot making and creativity from tee to green. In addition, fairways are rather expansive and average some 75 yards wide, which will support creativity and different routes of play.

“It’ll also promote enjoyment and fun as players will not constantly be looking for their balls outside of the fairway (and also allow for a faster pace of play). The green complexes are large and undulating, emphasizing accuracy and shot making, but will also be a ton of fun,” Welling enthused.

Are there any features that are particular to this PGA course?

“We worked really hard to take advantage of the site’s natural topography, using it to affect the playability of the golf course. With large fairways and significant low-cut greens surrounds, ‘ground contour’ and the ball rolling on the ground will be big elements of the experience at Fields Ranch West,” Welling explained.

“Given how fast the golf course will play and with windy conditions, the golf course will sometimes have a sense of ‘links golf.’ As a result, we have also incorporated



A refresh of Ocean Forest Golf Club in Sea Island, GA

• Construction just started in February 2023

A renovation at Atlanta Country Club in Marietta, GA

• Construction also started early this year (2023)

A renovation at Evansville Country Club in Evansville, IN

• Construction started late summer in 2022 and will be completed in March 2023

A renovation at The Peninsula Club in Cornelius, NC

• Construction to start in fall 2023

New course design for Travis Club in Austin, TX

New course design for Kiawah Island Club in Johns Island, SC


Members and leaders of BoardRoom’s Distinguished Clubs will experience the PGA’s new Field Ranch West Course in Frisco, Texas, June 11-13.

The West Course will be the site of the inaugural Distinguished Club Golf Expo and Ambassadors’ Cup Tournament . Beau Welling, who designed the West Course, is featured in this issue’s cover story.

Welling will also be a featured speaker at the tournament and will discuss the designing and building of the championship West Course, where the tournament will be played during the Expo.

The Ambassadors’ Cup tournament is an exclusive event open only to leaders and members of Distinguished Clubs The tournament field is limited and will be filled on a first-come-first-served basis. Any questions regarding the expo or tournament should be addressed to: Keith Jarrett, President, Distinguished Clubs

significant ‘ribbon teeing grounds’, which present more like fairways than distinct tee boxes, to create significant options for course setup.

“I think one of the most special elements about PGA Frisco and Fields Ranch is the overall programming of the facility with world-class practice facilities but also a short course, a more playable 18-hole championship course with Fields Ranch West, and then a more difficult and

challenging 18-hole championship course with Fields Ranch East that will host a variety of PGA of America championships,” he added.

“This programming and overall idea behind PGA Frisco was one of the first things that made me so excited about the project because it has the ability to allow someone to learn the game of golf on a short course and progress all the way to major championship golf all in one facility.

“PGA Frisco reminded me a lot of where I grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, at Greenville Country Club when I first heard about the idea and ambitions of the project,” Welling recalled.

“At Greenville CC, there too was a short course for juniors and then a more playable course where you could play before ‘graduating’ to the championship course. That made this project a bit more special for me, but also, I feel like the club where I grew up ‘made’ a lot of great golfers with its programming.

“I could not be more excited to see the impact that PGA Frisco and Fields Ranch are going to have on the game of golf with its grand scale,” Welling raved.

For Welling, it’s been a complex and involved process from beginning to completion.

“I was truly excited to see Omni PGA Frisco and Fields Ranch open to the public this spring. Our team started working on the project in late 2015, so the project has been quite a journey,” Welling recollected.

“From the outset, PGA Frisco always seemed like it was always going to be special, but as concepts and plans progressed, the project continued to evolve for the better as the PGA of America made the decision to move its headquarters to Frisco and then the involvement and incredible investment from Omni Hotels & Resorts. PGA Frisco is something I am truly honored to have been a part of.”

The golf course construction began in late 2019. “It was an interesting construction process as we were navigating construction amid the height of the pandemic. Luckily construction never stopped progress, but we did have to get very creative at times with technology,” he offered.

Welling’s golf course inspirations go back many years. During an interview with Golf Vacations in 2013, Welling recalled how he began work with the famed course designer Tom Fazio.

Fazio happened to pick up a project in Welling’s hometown in Greenville, South Carolina, called Thornblade Club, and Welling’s father was one of the project’s developers. So, the young college kid basically got Fazio’s number from him and called to ask a simple question: ‘How does one become a golf course designer?’

“Tom basically had to take the phone call as I was a son of a client,” Welling recalled in that interview. “We had several nice chats, and luckily for me, he ultimately said, ‘Well, if you are really that interested, you should come work for us when you are home for the summer.’”


“Tom thank you for all of your help and support. This was a pivotal day for Tradition. Your professionalism was something we haven’t experienced in the past and we feel truly grateful for your patience and hand-holding along the way. We will always be a fan of you guys and we will support KK&W as you need.”

Serving The Industry Since 1996 SCAN TO BROWSE OUR ACTIVE CAREER OPPORTUNITIES Specializing in GM/COO, CEO, AGM, Clubhouse Manager, Food & Beverage, Financial, Golf, Culinary, Agronomy, Racquets, Human Resources, Fitness & Wellness, Membership/Marketing Searches. We look forward to seeing you at the CLA Presidents Council at Monterey Peninsula Country Club April 23rd & 24th, 2023

“Fazio today is a Hall of Famer with more courses ranked among the top 100 in the U.S. than anyone else in the business and I was very fortunate to get that opportunity, which ultimately led to me working for Tom full-time after college and being able to learn from a true master of the craft,” he exclaimed.

The Fazio-Welling working relationship lasted 11 years before Welling ventured on his own.

Welling feels golf course operators today should focus more on the benefits. “Focus on course set-up. Make it as playable as possible, make sure people play from the correct tees and bring high service levels to your course. Everyone should have a ‘hospitality’ attitude. It costs no more money to greet someone with a smile than not to do so,” he maintained.

So, what are the signs that a club’s golf course needs a renovation?


The process of designing and constructing a new golf course or remodeling an existing layout is complex. Market analysis, site selection, cost estimation, permitting, master planning, detailed design, construction and grow-in must all be understood and coordinated.

Your golf course architect, as recommended by the American Society of Golf Course Architects, has specialized experience and skills that encompass the many challenges of taking golf course projects from concept to reality. A professional golf course architect’s capabilities include:

• Thorough knowledge of the game of golf, its history, players and design strategy

• Expertise in financing and permitting

• Familiarity with heavy construction, agronomy, hydraulic engineering, soil science, geology and civil engineering

• An understanding of landscape architecture to help create a golf course plan that highlights and preserves the natural environment

• Training and experience in the creation of both a master plan and the routing plan

• Specifications covering all the phases needed to build a golf course

• With this skill set comes a unique perspective. A golf course architect, retained early in the development process, will help guide the process in an efficient manner from start to finish.

“The most common elements that will drive a renovation are the need to replace an irrigation system or other large golf course infrastructure items (greens, tees, bunkers, etc.),” Welling stated.

“Each element of a golf course has an expected useable life. Unfortunately, once that time period is near, functional problems start to emerge, which impair the ability to present the conditioning and playing experience that meets golfers’ expectations.

“Our team works with a number of existing clubs that are looking to undertake master planning efforts to help guide capital expenditures, including replacement of infrastructure items and course improvements,” he added.

“Our master planning process is a bit unique as we emphasize membership engagement with focus groups and town halls to get an understanding of desires and opinions from the membership but also to educate on why a renovation and capital investment might be necessary.

“We have had great success through this process as membership is engaged and informed throughout, so if or when there is a vote to approve a project, there is relatively minimal opposition,” he opined.

Are there reasons golf clubs decide they need to change or improve their golf course?

“The starting point of most clubs deciding to implement changes or improvements to their golf courses and experiences typically relates to infrastructure reaching the end of its usable life and starting to affect the golf experience itself as it relates to conditioning but also labor,” Welling stressed.

“As things break on the golf course, the clubs often find that superintendents and their maintenance staff are busy chasing down issues which are to the detriment of other items that might affect the playing experience more for members and players.

“That infrastructure element is often the most common, but when that happens, we have found that many clubs also take the opportunity to evaluate the larger picture,” he added.

“Do tees need to be expanded? Should greens be reworked and recontoured? Should the course strategy or variety be improved etc.?

“Beyond that, we also see clubs looking to elevate the totality of the club experience with campus improvements to meet the changing needs, wants, and desires of membership,” Welling explained.

“Our firm is a bit unique in that we also have master planning professionals on our team, which allows us to provide a holistic look at every project we undertake.

“As such, we are increasingly finding ourselves not just renovating golf courses but also helping to plan new amenities and assisting with campus functionality to affect the totality of the club experience,” Welling concluded. BR


Adjust and Adapt

Sometimes those who are called to be leaders feel as if they are at a standstill, stuck in the mud, and unable to get over the drag they are feeling.

The answer may be to take the initiative to get moving again. Once that potential energy is converted to dynamic kinetic energy, the energy of movement, momentum builds. You may need a spark, a starter to ignite the source of energy.

Adjust and adapt. Two key concepts to be practiced by private club leaders.


Adjust includes a movement, sometimes slight, to achieve the desired direction that fits. In other words, the outcome. The desired fit often is achieved through understanding what is needed. The outcome often takes the form of one or more SMARTER goals. Adjust can trigger a spark that flames.


Adapt means to alter, change and revise. The purpose is to achieve the key results needed. Altering the path often leads to movement toward achievement of the key result. Changing is a function of what is desired and what is being achieved. The gap between the two is where change happens. Change is possible when revisions are made to the plan.


To exhibit adjust and adapt behaviors, the SMARTER goals must be understood by all who can choose to participate in the process and assist with them. The goal is a leadership tool.

How might adjust and adapt affect you as a private membership club leader? Adjustment is an opportunity that comes in every interaction you have with peers, talent, members, and the community. In order to adjust, the leader must first understand the present situation. What are the issues? The challenges? The opportunities?

What would be happening if the leaders in the present situation are ideally effective? What do your leadership peers, talent, members, and the community want? What adjustments can you make as a leader to satisfy these people? What will they be saying if you successfully reach the desired results?

Adapting means putting the needs, wants and expectations of others before yours. Leading a private membership

club as a paid executive or as a volunteer leader takes vision and humility. Oftentimes adapting requires leaders to place their beliefs aside in favor of different beliefs. After all, in many cases, the others own the club as members.

To exhibit adjust and adapt behaviors, SMARTER goals must be understood by all who are able to choose to participate in the process and assist with them. A SMARTER goal always begins with stating the specific goal. Write it down. So, too, the goal must be one that is measurable. Metrics provide a comparison, time period to time period and goal to goal. A means attainable, because with some efforts on the part of all participating, the dream will become a reality as the goal is achieved. R is reasonably difficult and tougher to simply pull off. T means time period to begin and, if applicable, complete the goal. Evaluate and reevaluate to stay current and continuously improve.

Here is a club example. The demand for qualified talent exceeds the supply in your community. The specific goal is to raise the talent pool in terms of numbers and availability. The club’s focus must be on all possible participants who can assist, i.e., current talent, volunteer leaders, and community members. The m is measured by the number of talent attracted and retained over the next year. This is a quarter-to-quarter and year-to-year tracking of the numbers and subsequent comparison. The goal is attainable if all volunteers and paid leaders work together to attract and retain talent.

Realistically high includes attracting and retaining talent who possess the top set of the needed skills in the talent pool. Time is over the next quarter and the remaining three quarters in the next fiscal year. Evaluate and reevaluate the results as planned.

There you have it. Adjust and adapt. In your organization. This process also works well in your personal life. Try it, adjust and adapt it to you.

S – Specific

M – Measured

A – Attainable

R – Reasonably high

T – Talent and time

E – Evaluate

R – Reevaluate results BR

Dr. Ronald F. Cichy, O.M. is professor emeritus, Michigan State University. lifestyle master planning • clubhouse design + detailing • furnishings (203) 259-2555 westchester country club harrison, ny beach point club mamaroneck, ny kansas city country club mission hills, ks sea island st. simon, ga siwanoy country club bronxville, ny country club of new canaan new canaan, ct turks & caicos sporting club ambergris cay, bwi orchard lake country club orchard lake, mi riverside yacht club riverside, CT judge us by the company we keep! Boardroom Magazine Excellence in Achievement Award Winner 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021


at He is the author of “The Culture of Golf - Isn’t It Just a Game?” available at:

How Much Debt Is Right for Your Club?

Among the challenges many clubs face is how much debt to take on.

As most of us know, when you apply for a home mortgage loan, the lender will evaluate your application based on your ability to service the debt. Typically, that means your monthly payment shouldn’t exceed, say, 25 percent of your gross monthly income or your total debt from all sources shouldn’t exceed, say, 35 percent of your gross monthly income. Of course, the lender will have an appraisal done on the property and the loan-to-value ratio will also impact the likelihood of approval.

In the golf and club world, appraisals of the property are also done, and often there is an analysis of a borrower’s ability (or potential ability) to service debt by calculating a debt coverage ratio (cash flow/debt service = DCR).

It often seems as though lenders focus more on the collateral (value of the property), which may or may not be representative of a club’s ability or likelihood of adequately servicing the debt. Remember, at many clubs (especially member-owned private clubs), “zero-based” budgeting is practiced where there is no cash flow. Thus, the question of how much debt is appropriate becomes relevant.

According to Club Benchmarking Inc., the typical club (median) carries $2,648,058 in debt, while the top 25 percent of clubs (in terms of debt) have over $5.3 million in debt. The median debt-to-equity ratio is 24 percent, while the highest 25 percent of clubs are at 56 percent or above. Of particular interest to me is the debt-to-gross revenue ratio. The median club (according to CBI) has 34 percent of operating revenue as debt, while the highest 25 percent are above 61 percent. Concerning dues revenue, the median club has 82 percent of dues revenue in debt, and the highest 25 percent are above 139 percent. What does all this mean?

Clubs often like to compare themselves to each other, but when incurring debt, I’m not sure it matters much more than simply seeing where other clubs stand. What’s important is whether the debt incurred makes sense to the club incurring it. In some cases, it’s a question of whether the costs are for “required” items (e.g., roof, HVAC, irrigation system) or if the funds will be used for club enhancements, such as a fitness center, golf course renovation or clubhouse expansion.

If borrowed funds are to be used for required items, the club will need to show the ability to service the debt. Each member is likely to ask how much it will cost them. If the projects being considered are “desired” and the club can show they will enhance membership, club usage and fees (revenues), then the analysis of how much debt/cost can be incurred would be based on how much additional revenue can be generated. How many new members will these improvements generate? What is the risk to each existing member in dues increases and assessments if no new members or additional revenues are generated?

We like to look at this on a market basis. If dues have to be increased or assessments levied, will the club’s rates be consistent with similar clubs in the competing market? If higher, will the membership be willing to absorb the higher cost in return for the enhanced amenities?

Any analysis of a club’s capability to carry debt needs to consider not only the club’s market value but also its present – or future – ability to service that debt which is subject to the membership’s (present and future) willingness to support the dues and fees required to service it. It’s a complex analysis with multiple ”moving parts.” BR

LARRY HIRSH 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


Is Your GM a Leader or a Manager?

Why do many clubs continue to struggle with building/maintaining a consistent and sustainable culture?

As a board member, remember that one of your primary responsibilities is to hire and inspire a leader, not just a manager, to achieve the vision of the board and membership. While the operating team, led by the general manager, contributes to the vision and strategy, it is ultimately the board’s responsibility to provide oversight and ensure that the organization’s vision and strategy are executed effectively.

One key way to achieve an integrated, healthy and aligned culture is by hiring a general manager who is emotionally intelligent, empathetic, responsible, mature and a big-picture thinker. As Jeff McFadden, CEO of the Union League of Philadelphia, states, “I’ve had the guts to hire people smarter than me and to invest in them and empower them.” By hiring individuals who possess these qualities, the organization will be better equipped to build a strong team and create a healthy and sustainable culture.

However, it is common for a disconnect to exist between the board and the general manager that is often attributed to collective egos and a lack of open and honest communication. As one of our general manager masterclass students said, “I have an ongoing challenge with my board as we often have conflicting views where the vision meets the operations.” The GM may fear losing a job and often feels unable to “speak truth to power,” resulting in poor communication, turnover at the management level, unnecessary drama and stress at all levels of the organization.

To address this issue, the board needs to foster an environment of openness and transparency. The board can

achieve this by creating channels of communication that allow for more effective dialogue between the board, the GM and the management team. Additionally, boards should work to build trust with their GMs by valuing their input and recognizing the important role they play.

Also, understand that your club may not have an onboarding process that helps the board and committee members to understand your role and responsibilities and the proper protocol to engage with staff, managers and members. One of our clubs used a communication tool (Focus Wheel) that connected committee chairs to their respective department heads to better understand each other’s vision and perspective and co-create realistic goals and action plans.

Furthermore, the board should strive to invest in continuous learning and growth, where individuals are encouraged to take risks, learn from their mistakes and grow as leaders. It will allow individuals to develop their skills, build their confidence and ultimately develop succession plans that survive the annual board member turnover to create continuity and long-term sustainability for the club.

Annual board retreats are the perfect venue to open up a dialogue and set the tone for better collaboration between the board, GM and the management team.

In conclusion, as a board member, it is essential to remember that your primary responsibility is to hire, inspire and empower a leader, not just a manager. By hiring emotionally intelligent, empathetic, responsible, mature and big-picture thinkers, your organization will be better equipped to adapt to a changing environment. BR

CRAIG MARSHALL Craig Marshall is “The Monk” and co-founder of Mindful “U” and can be reached via email: and at


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:


Preparing the Next Generation of Club Leadership


noun suc·ces·sion \sək-’se-shən\

: a series of people or things that come one after the other

What defines a successful club? Succession planning, plain and simple. Most clubs are usually caught behind the eight ball or chasing their tail just to keep up. This type of management weakens a club, and it becomes evident in the club’s financial decisions, planning, personnel hiring, services provided and, most importantly, club leadership.

Club leadership is “generational.” Successful clubs begin to recognize a shift in needs, wants and desires every 20 years. The current leadership is most likely enjoying the

• The club developed a consistent committee structure: a specific number of members, a way to manage term limits, when they meet and a clearly defined committee profile

• The club planned a high-energy reception for all members (not just proprietary members) under 55

• It was the type of reception the next generation would attend: light music, fun hors d’ oeuvres, specialty cocktails, no formal seating, pub tables, couches, welcome gifts, exciting club activity video playing in the background and posters of all committee profiles

• Current young leaders gave a presentation

Welcome and thank you to those in attendance

Explain “next generation” 55 years old and younger


Controlling Operating Expenses With Proper Labor Management

With the increase in rounds, dues and fees that private and daily fee golf has enjoyed these past few years, we have focused on managing the influx of demand – at times, leaving labor and labor expense management as an afterthought.

We’ve all heard the cries: “I don’t have any labor to manage – I’m short three people here and two people there, so hitting my labor budget is not my challenge.” In addition, many clubs have needed to use unconventional tactics to hire and maintain team members. During this time of flourishing revenues, the true cost of these creative and, at times, desperate personnel practices was masked by top-line success.

But as revenues retreat from great to good, NOI will be compressed by increased operating expenses, causing labor costs to become a more weighted factor in 2023’s financial story. Responsible labor expense management, which extends beyond the purview of the general manager, has more chance of success when embraced by the entire leadership team.

Know the numbers: The big picture counts, and every department manager should be aware of the club’s total annual labor budget to help ensure that these funds are managed responsibly. Try conducting a quiz in a managers’ meeting to truly gauge how in tune they are with the club’s labor budget, their department’s labor budget and their budgeted low and high FTEs. It can be shocking how many managers lead departments without this critical knowledge.

Manage, don’t cut: Nothing flows more untouched to the bottom line like a labor dollar saved. In some cases, better management of just 3 percent (three out of 100) hours budgeted can result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings. Be sure the leadership team understands the benefits of diligent and effective management versus schedule slashing. Member experience is key and should always be safeguarded by ensuring proper coverage is in place because, as we all know, member experience impacts satisfaction, satisfaction impacts value proposition, and value proposition impacts the ability to elevate dues to a needed level. At the same time, we must be ever vigilant in sanding the edges of our operation where excess, non-experience-impacting labor expenses exist. If we learn to properly manage this, we won’t be placed in a position to cut.

Schedule with precision: Isn’t it curious that we often require two signatures to trigger the writing of an expense check yet allow new managers the freedom to spend tens of thousands of dollars every two weeks through what can often be a rushed and unsupervised exercise of constructing the labor schedule? Scheduling should not be a “rinse and repeat” of the previous schedule, simply plotting people and plugging in hours. Managers should be taught that every time slot they fill with labor hours is equivalent to writing a check, and they should be able to explain the purpose and need for every hour scheduled.

Be present to see where there are labor gaps or fluff. Consider phasing in times and have someone responsible for managing the nightly phaseout. Be cautious about listing Close (5-C) as your out-time. Rather, give staff the expected ending time of their shift to encourage them to complete their duties with efficiency.

Add a (+) to the closing time (5-9+), indicating the shift may be extended as the business predicts or at the manager’s discretion and approval. It’s the 15- and 30-minute extensions by multiple people, over multiple days, weeks and months that add up to a big number. Managing this common labor creep saves resources and allows for funds to be redirected to wage increases for top performers or counter minimum wage growth.

Show me the money: I have often wished I could conduct an exercise where I hand managers their monthly labor budget in cash. I inform them that they can keep whatever funds they don’t spend without impacting the member experience. I would have to believe a renewed focus on scheduling and daily adjustments would become priority number one.

In a more realistic object lesson, try waving a $20 bill in a staff meeting and ask who wants it – you will be alarmed by the enthusiasm and pleas for this tangible treasure. After selecting the lucky team member, ask the team to put that same energy in saving $20 (equivalent to one labor hour of many front-line staff) through their management decisions. Remind the team that the board or owner is trusting that we value their $20 with the same enthusiasm.

Ryan Whitney is vice president of operations for Troon and he can be reached at O 888.408.9522 E

Greg Stenzel is a PGA Career Services consultant serving the Middle Atlantic PGA sections. 561-379-7724


Awards and Achievements

It Takes More Than a Little Effort

Our national award winners and their accomplishments were recognized recently at the PGA Show.

So, congratulations to everyone who was honored for what they achieved through the years with hard work and excellence in their field.

Whether it be PGA, GCSAA or CMAA award winners, all chose to make a difference not only at their facilities but with their peers and their membership. Believe me, it doesn’t just happen. As I once was told, if you are waiting for your ship to come in, it will be just luck. If you want to achieve success, you must swim out and meet it. It takes more than just a little effort.

In many speeches made by award winners, I hear similar words expressing humility and sincere appreciation for those who have helped and supported them along their journey.

A common story tells of a turtle on a fence post. There isn’t any way the turtle got there itself. Someone had to put it there. Getting to the top of that post started with someone with an idea, a leader, a motivator, a coach or a mentor. Those who lead know not only where they are going but why and how to get there and how to motivate others to support their journey.

Are you a leader? Have you chosen a path and identified what you need to accomplish your goals? Have you taken action to see how much you can learn, how much you can earn or how you can engage, educate, and motivate those around you? It’s not an easy task; it isn’t supposed to be. As those who lead and achieve know, you can’t take the elevator to the top. You have to take the stairs.

Many times in life you do not get what you want. Whether it is making the baseball team, gaining acceptance to your favorite university or getting the job you always wanted. Have you ever asked yourself, “Why not me?”

Whether it’s a job or an award, the reason you were not selected is simple. You were not as qualified or had not achieved as much as the person who was selected. Your first step is to identify the reasons you were not selected or identify the skills you lack which determined your fate.

Skill gap analysis is a simple self-assessment of your value. You must be honest and take the steps necessary to not only identify what you are missing but also how you are going to gain the knowledge or skill you require.

We must ask ourselves four questions: Why? Why not? Why not me? Why not now?

Why? Why put in the time, the effort, why study, why learn, why develop your skills, why see how far you can go and why would you help others along the way?

Why not? Why not see how much you can earn, how much you can learn, how many of your skills you can develop, how far you can go and how many people you can help along the way?

Why not me? You have the ability, you have the time, you can develop your skills, you can reach your goals, you can make your dreams come true.

Why not now? There is no better time. Develop your skills and reach your goals. Grab your dreams and breathe life into them, give them your spirit and create unstoppable momentum. Share your knowledge, see how many people you can help along the way. Reach the pinnacle of your career and place your flag at the summit letting everyone know you have achieved success.

Once you have answered these four questions, will you be where you need to be to get that job or receive the award you earned and deserve?

Ask yourself today and every day going forward, “Why not me and why not now?”

I wish you the best in your career. BR

Angela Grande Design Interior Design ▪ Architectural Collaboration ▪ Procurement Creating Clubhouse Environments That Elevate Member’s Lifestyle Contact : Angela Grande 917-873-2425 agrande @



Todd Dufek is the president of the Locker Room Managers Association with 400 - 500 members at over 200 member clubs nationwide (

He is the locker room manager at The Country Club at DC Ranch in Scottsdale, AZ Contact Todd at for information about membership in the LRMA.

Locker Room Staff Appreciation Day Is May 12

Course superintendents have long been known as the “unsung heroes” of the golf industry because they maintain the courses.

But golf’s “other” unsung heroes will have an annual Appreciation Day on the second Friday in May.

Who are they? The locker room staff at golf and country clubs. In 2023, the date falls on May 12. And the Locker Room Managers Association would like as many clubs and vendors as possible to participate in this special day of recognition.

Why do locker room staffers deserve an Appreciation Day?

First, an army marches on its stomach. But golfers depend on their feet to secure them to the ground and to help them look stylish. Locker room staff at clubs across the US and Canada keep golf footwear—and every other kind—looking their best.

Second, the locker room staff provides members and guests with the first and last impression of the club. In other words, members and guests go to the locker room first to put their golf shoes on and take advantage of all the amenities. And it’s the last place they go as they head to valet and/or their cars. As Will Rogers said, “You only get one chance to make a first impression.” That means locker room staff, in large part, determine the reputation of their clubs through their hospitality, service and amenities.

However, locker room staff should be appreciated for more than their friendliness and for cleaning and shining dozens of shoes a day. Many put in 70-plus-hour weeks, ensuring amenities are filled and locker rooms are orderly and spotless. And that doesn’t include the fact that many of these staffers also manage card rooms and men’s grills. In addition, these staffers are trustworthy, respectful and personable and make

sure the personal belongings of every member and guest are safe and secure.

How will clubs and vendors show their appreciation for all that locker staff do daily? For clubs, here are suggestions:

• Provide the locker room manager with business cards (the same as the GM, CM, etc.)

• Have a photo of the entire locker room staff (women’s and men’s) on the club’s website, or just the locker room manager

• Have framed photos of the locker room staff (men’s and women’s) in plain view on the wall with hire dates and bios

• Allow locker room staff to bring their wives, husbands, girlfriends, boyfriends to a complimentary evening dinner in the main club dining room, when and where appropriate

• Provide service pins for years served that locker room staff can wear

• Provide staff with gift cards to the pro shop and/or local restaurants

• Allow individual members to show their appreciation by giving extra gratuities on the annual Appreciation Day.

Vendors can also offer locker room staff free products for personal use, gift cards or large discounts on their most popular amenities (easing the budget and the stress level of these staffers).

Elevate to emeritus status those locker room managers who have put in at least 30 years and are retiring by naming locker rooms after them. Hold a grand event where the retiring manager picks the menu. Staff and club members would be present for a reception and dinner. A limousine picks up the retiring manager and the manager’s family. BR

The Award-Winning Agency For Private Clubs Website Company Of the Year Winner 9x Interactive Media Award Winner 50x | 508-653-3399 See for yourself at



Brad D. Steele, JD, started Private Club Consultants to provide in-depth legal and operational answers for America’s top private clubs. For more information about PCC, email Brad at, call/text him at (703) 395-5463 or connect with him at

The Member Disciplinary Process

How to Enforce Your Rules Without Opening the Club to Liability

We have all seen it. A member has one drink too many and speaks a little too loudly or knocks over a tray or becomes a little too familiar with a staffer.

At that point, the manager asks the member to leave. Incensed, the member proclaims that he owns the club and will not go. After a heated discussion, the member ultimately heads home – usually with a parting word or two for the manager.

Without a doubt, this type of behavior violates club rules and will result in that member facing a disciplinary proceeding. The concern for club leaders is how best to ensure that the disciplinary process does not cause potential legal liability for the club while they enforce its rules.

Most legal claims coming from disciplined members are based on a lack of due process surrounding their disciplinary hearing. However, in most states, the law simply requires private clubs to have a “fair and reasonable” means of determining a violation of its rules. As such, club leaders are free to establish any disciplinary process they deem appropriate, with that fair and reasonable standard in mind.

To meet that standard, courts have ruled that clubs must satisfy three basic requirements:

1. The member must be notified of the charges and be given a chance to defend his actions

2. The club must follow the disciplinary process as outlined in its bylaws, without deviation

3. There must be some evidence that the action complained of happened – however minuscule that evidence may be.

So, what should your club’s disciplinary process look like?

If a member violates club rules, the alleged violation should be presented in writing to the club’s general manager, who should investigate the matter to determine if referral to the disciplinary committee is appropriate or if an informal resolution is appropriate. If it is passed to the disciplinary committee, the committee should review the complaint and the findings from the investigation to determine if charges should be brought.

Should charges be brought, the committee must notify the member and call for a disciplinary hearing. The notice should include:

• The date and time of the hearing

• The charges and a concise summary of the facts upon which they are based

• That the member may file a written statement setting forth any and all defenses

• That the member is entitled to attend the hearing, with or without counsel, and present evidence that refutes the charges or that provides a defense for his actions

• That representatives of the club, its employees, other members and other persons who may have relevant information regarding the charges may also provide testimony

• That there is a possibility of reprimand, fine, suspension or expulsion if the charges are found to be true.

At the hearing, testimony should be taken from all sides and the committee should then come to a decision based on the evidence. Upon issuing its verdict, the committee should provide the member an opportunity to appeal that ruling –likely to the board of directors. If an appeal is requested, the committee must provide the same notice as before along with a statement that reversal of the decision will only occur if the board so votes.

Remember, club disciplinary hearings do not take place in a court of law. Thus, judicial standards for testimony are relaxed (e.g., hearsay is allowed) and the committee does not need to be impartial like a judge or jury. Though the formality of a court proceeding is not required, club leaders must follow their stated process and provide the offending member the opportunity to have a say – even though the result may be a foregone conclusion.

In the end, it is never an easy decision to discipline a member. Thankfully, clubs are granted great leeway in managing disciplinary matters. While litigious members may feel emboldened to attack a club when faced with a suspension, expulsion or some other punishment, their attempt will likely fail as long as the club adheres to a fair and reasonable disciplinary process. BR


Philip G. Newman, CPA, CIA, CGFM is a partner with RSM US LLP. He can be reached via email:

Financial Orientations for Private Club Boards

Shutting Down the Rumor Mill Before It Starts

There has been noticeably more tension recently between boards and management regarding the financial management of private clubs.

Club management needs to be proactive if it wants to maintain the trust of board members when it comes to how the club spends hard-earned member dollars.

You need your board members to be “ambassadors of truth” when they disseminate the realities of the club’s fiscal management to the membership. To accomplish this, it is worth educating the board about the key aspects of club finances at the beginning of each term.

What should such an orientation cover? While such sessions should be tailored to the nuances of your club, here is our list of the top items to cover.

1. The audit report, management letter and tax returns: This is the official scorecard for how the club’s accounting systems, controls and staff have performed in the most recent fiscal year. Hopefully, these documents tell a good story but if not, they can still be a good starting point to highlight resource shortages or allocation challenges that the board should be aware of at the beginning of the board year and not at the end.

Reviewing your audit report will also highlight the importance of the club’s balance sheet. If accounting rule setters place the balance sheet before the operating statement in your audited statements, why would you allow anyone to think that it should not, therefore, be the primary focus for those ultimately charged with the governance of the club? Have your controller explain the key components of your balance sheet to the board.

When it comes to tax, it is still amazing how many board members don’t know their club’s federal income tax status. Once educated on the various rules and limitations of the respective tax code section, board members can be aware of any tax risks surrounding their decisions.

2. Explain your budget process from the ground up: Use the financial orientation to put to bed any suggestions that your club’s budget is just a wild guess that gets inflated each year by a few percentage points. Bring in your key department heads to explain the complexities of their financial challenges, including capital and operating needs.

Wrap up this part of the orientation with a graphic displaying how the dues dollar is used – it will set the table beauti-

fully for the inevitable food and beverage discussion. Make sure you get out ahead by providing industry whitepapers on F&B in advance. We think ours is the best, but you can decide for yourself -

3. Internal controls, including cyber: How can it be that board members, at the end of a fiscal year, do not know how expenses get paid and invoices get approved? Your controller should use this opportunity to explain how funds leave the club and how many sets of eyes/hands/approvals are in place before a dollar is spent.

Walk through a purchasing cycle: ordering procedures, invoice reviews, check signing and online banking protocols, credit card usage and approvals, and inventory management – leave no doubt that your club’s financial controls are buttoned down.

Clubs are also facing more frequent and sophisticated cyberattacks, with many falling prey to ransomware resulting in financial losses. Educate your board on how the club manages this risk through employee training resources such as KnowBe4 as well as insurance coverages. Walking the board through the club’s response plan, should an attack be successful, is also a key element in reaffirming board confidence in management.

4. Use the F word … fraud: You may as well drop this F-bomb so the board knows you are always monitoring this risk. Annual anti-fraud training for club management is proven to reduce the amount of loss from fraud schemes. Your board should know how aggressively you address the risk of fraud.

5. Benchmarking: The earlier you can educate the board on club industry performance the better, sharing how other clubs stack up and have performed over time.

Industry resources are plentiful on this topic and a good place to start is CMAA’s uniform key performance indicators white paper and companion case study, which also emphasizes balance sheet metrics rather than operating ratios.

Engaging your club’s professional advisors – auditors, lawyers, insurance brokers, bankers – should be an effective way to augment the power of your story to your board and ensure that your board members are indeed ambassadors of truth inside and outside of the boardroom. BR


A Glance Backward to Understand the Pathway Ahead

In early 2020, a few weeks before COVID-19 shut down the world, I stepped on stage in Dallas, TX, at the CMAA National Conference. I was there to speak about racquets, and I was excited.

It was the start of unprecedented growth. Tennis, which was flat for over a decade, had finally grown one percent. Pickleball had just hit 30 percent growth for the third consecutive year, and squash and platform tennis were forging ahead. Something was happening no one had seen before. Despite the growth of every racquet sport, individual racquet sports were dying. We were entering the age of racquets.

I remember when I announced tennis director positions would disappear and be replaced with racquets directors. I said one racquet sport would ultimately serve and grow all racquet sports. That single-sport clubs would vanish in the coming years.

I told participants that the golf and tennis model was dead. I predicted pickleball would become the biggest racquet sport in the country. Through pickleball, all other racquet sports would grow. Then COVID-19 changed everything.

Clubs that didn’t invest in their facilities shut down. Professionals that didn’t invest in themselves were lost, and the industry changed forever. The few months that felt like forever gave birth to the golden age of racquets. Those who invested, listened and believed were on the ride of their life. They adapted, and their people adapted with them.

Pickleball recorded 35 million-plus players in 2022 (up from 4.8 million in 2021). This number was unthinkable a few short years ago. On average, there is a 30 percent crossover rate between racquet sports. So out of those 35 million players who played pickleball in 2022, almost 10 million tried another racquet sport. That is substantial when understanding growth through racquets. Out of that 10 million, the largest percentage of those people tried tennis due to the availability and affordability to get on a court.

On average, a director of racquets oversees two to three racquet sports. Some oversee up to five racquet sports. The crossover rate is key in retention and growth across all membership tiers and age demographics. The best directors in the world have a crossover rate of 54 percent.

Imagine that growth. If you have 100 people playing pickleball, 54 will also play tennis. That is the gift racquets has given us.

Success in any business is about relevancy. The same can be said for life. As leaders, we must continually reinvent ourselves and adapt to the challenges and opportunities ahead. In doing so, we create value for ourselves, our businesses and, most importantly, others.

Racquets provides a mirror image of life. Like the grandfather who buys a book about Pokémon cards to stay relevant in his grandchild’s life, we adapt to racquets to stay relevant to our membership. Instead of fighting what is coming, we must prepare and look for it years in advance. That is how we mentor. We learn, we listen, and we lead.

It is important to look back occasionally to understand the path forward. Tennis dominated the United States through the ’80s, ’90s, and 2000s. A lot of that had to do with the champions we had.

The success tennis had then came down to people. The years that followed, where tennis stayed flat, was also due to people – or lack thereof. Simply put, we ran out of champions. That is when racquets was born. People started to play platform tennis and squash and soon pickleball. Racquets didn’t need professional stars to grow its popularity, but the players themselves became the stars.

The racquets industry is expected to grow by over 200 percent in the next five years. In that time, pickleball will break 45 million players, resulting in tennis reaching an unimaginable milestone of more than 30 million players. Platform tennis will continue to expand across the north as padel grows nationally.

At the same time, the racquets industry will lose 30 percent of its professionals due to an unprepared and complacent industry. The future will demand more of our leaders. It will take a piece of all of us. It is our time to rise to the occasion and meet this demand. This is your right place, right time moment. Leaders will be born, and the foundation will be set. The question is the same: Are you up for the challenge? BR

Jarrett Chirico is the director of racquets at Royal Oaks Country Club in Dallas, TX.

4 Reasons Why Top Clubs Choose FOOD-TRAK®

We know you have choices when selecting F&B management software for your club. So how do you choose the right system? We believe it is as much or more about talent than about software. If you agree that it takes the best of both, then the choice is easy. The company that started it all 42 years ago is your key to success!

4 Reasons Why our Clients Chose FOOD-TRAK®

a To ensure a successful result, our senior consultants do a deep dive to fully understand your operation, staffing and process flows.

a Working with you, they develop a blueprint for database construction, training and startup based on your specific objectives and time frames.

a Our team builds the database and provides position-targeted training using your data to implement the plan as designed.

a We continue the relationship over the long term to help you get the most benefit from the system and related processes. We do this through ongoing training, consulting and monitoring.

In the final analysis, it’s about talent – your and ours combined – to produce the best possible result.

Our purpose and passion is and will always be to help clubs get as close to their ideal food and beverage cost as possible. We have remained resilient in delivering a turnkey setup giving your employees the confidence and the training to be successful!

Contact our club account managers to get started!

1980 2020 800.553.2438 | WWW.FOODTRAK.COM


Boris Fetbroyt is the director of racquets at The Philadelphia Cricket Club. He can be reached at


Key Factors to Avoid Burnout in the Racquets Industry

As the racquets industry continues to expand with padel, pickleball, tennis, paddle and pop tennis, racquets professionals are under more pressure to deliver first-class member experiences.

Especially since the racquets industry is expected to lose 30 percent of its professionals in the next five years.

In the past two years, topics such as mental health, worklife balance and burnout have been trending topics of conversation and factors in our employment culture. In the private club industry, members and their guests expect our staff to be perfect when delivering memorable experiences.

As a fellow racquets professional and director of racquets at the Philadelphia Cricket Club, I offer below factors to keep in mind to avoid burnout.

love to play the different types of racquet sports a club can provide. By creating seasons, you allow your members to participate in all the racquet sports without making them choose one over the other. With programming, you make decisions based on data. Seventy-five percent of our racquets participation comes from 30 percent of the total membership, hence why creating seasons is so valuable to staff and members.

Short- and long-term goals/leadership: To avoid burnout, racquets professionals must have short- and long-term goals to progress in their careers. Our current leaders must provide them with the proper resources to succeed and develop in the industry.

Ten years ago, you had your tennis-playing members. Today, we see racquet-playing members who love to play the different types of racquet sports a club can provide. By creating seasons, you allow your members to participate in all the racquet sports without making them choose one over the other. With programming, you make decisions based on data. Seventy-five percent of our racquets participation comes from 30 percent of the total membership, hence why creating seasons is so valuable to staff and members.


To create an amazing member experience, do not spread the racquets staff too thin, especially when applicants coming into the industry are at a low-time high.

When you create a season for each racquet sport, your staff can focus on one sport at a time and deliver a better experience. Before moving forward, understand what it means for a racquet sport to be in-season and out-ofseason.

Your in-season tennis calendar should consist of club championships, member-guests, socials, tournaments, corporate outings, charity events, etc. Your out-of-season tennis calendar will consist of lessons and clinics, which members take in-season and out-of-season.

With seasons for each racquet sport, your staff knows what to expect during specific times of the year outside of lessons and clinics. Your members also benefit from having seasons for racquet sports.

Times have changed in the private club industry when it comes to racquets. Ten years ago, you had your tennis-playing members. Today, we see racquet-playing members who

Many racquets professionals work day in and day out without short- or long-term goals and no clear path forward due to a lack of knowledge or a lack of proper resources from club leadership.

As racquets professionals age, the 40-45 lessons per week they provide start to take a toll on their bodies. They start asking themselves if this is what they want to do for the rest of their lives. Burnout kicks in, and they see their peers leaving the industry due to a lack of planning.

Many industry leaders, such as Mark McMahon, are willing to help you achieve your goals and career aspirations, but at the end of the day, it comes down to you putting yourself out there day in and day out.

It is not easy to be a part of this industry. You don’t have a work-from-home option. The hours aren’t your typical 8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays, and you work on weekends and holidays. Early on in your career, you have to be flexible to accommodate members’ schedules. But if you love what you do, plan properly and are willing to learn from industry leaders, this industry can be rewarding, and you can avoid burnout. BR

Using the power of automated member surveys, MemberInsight provides you with real time details about your members experiences at the club, helps you understand the service levels in your various facilities, and prompts you to take action when necessary. 1-866-220-6090 | WWW.MEMBERINSIGHT.CLUB VISIT MEMBERINSIGHT.CLUB TO LEARN MORE Review and respond to feedback directly from your mobile device.

Pickleball Packs a Punch

Economists declare that pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in America at 21.3 percent participation rate during 2019/2020 and a 14.8 percent increase in 2022.

Five years ago, there were 500,000 active players known as “picklers.” Today, pickleball’s packing a punch with a huge increase in numbers.

Pickleball has been around for a long time. In the summer of 1965, Joel Pritchard, a congressman from the state of Washington, and successful businessmen Bill Bell and Barney McCallum invented a backyard game for their families, who were sitting around with nothing to do after the men returned from a round of golf.

Pritchard and Bell improvised on equipment using a pingpong paddle and a perforated plastic ball to play badminton on a court at the Pritchard property on Bainbridge Island near Seattle. Last year marked the sport’s 57th anniversary.

The game combines elements of badminton, table tennis and tennis. It provides a beneficial physical workout for a wide range of ages and abilities. The pickleball court is smaller and requires less range of motion, causing less muscle, tendon and joint strain; the paddle is lighter than a tennis racquet and the ball travels slower and bounces higher. Pickleball statisticians and enthusiasts predict worldwide participation to be high enough for the sport to be an Olympic event in 2028.

The name pickleball comes from Joan Pritchard, Joel Pritchard’s wife. It refers to the thrown-together leftover non-starters in the “pickle boat” of crew races. Other accounts say the game’s name came from “Pickles,” the family dog; however, the Pritchard family maintains the dog came along a few years later and was named after the game. Many prefer to tell the more exciting story that the game’s name came from the family dog.

The United States Amateur Pickleball Association was formed in 1984 to advance the growth of the sport on a national level. In 2005, it was established and reorganized as the USA Pickleball Association, the leading body for the sport in the United States and recognized in all 50 states since 1990. National tournaments began in 2009, drawing over 400 players from 26 states. The International Federation of Pickleball, established in 2010, helped grow the game

internationally. In 2021, the USA Pickleball membership reached a 50,000 milestone, with the sport continuing its status in over 8,500 US locations.

Steve Kuhn formed the Major League Pickleball organization in 2021 in Dripping Springs, TX. In its first year, the league consisted of eight teams; in its second year, it expanded to 12 teams. The league uses a drafting method to pick teams of four players with both men and women.

Fun fact . . . The catchphrase “Dink” means a controlled shot where you hit the ball into the non-volley zone (also known as the Kitchen) on your opponents’ side of the court.

Country clubs are adding pickleball to racquet sports as an additional member benefit as the game grows in popularity. Converting a few tennis courts into pickleball courts has become a trend in the industry alongside new construction as demand for the sport increases.

As more members seek to spend time on outdoor activities, it is critical to continue to develop and build programs that give more member value in the club experience as expectations reach an all-time high post-pandemic.

Pickleball is played with singles or doubles. Those new to the sport can learn the basic rules easily in one lesson. No special apparel is needed other than comfortable clothing appropriate for racquet sports. Every age can play the game, and the equipment is inexpensive. It can become a fastpaced competitive game for experienced players looking for more involvement in the sport or just fun casual play.

The game allows for many cool and exciting club events to keep members involved, such as interclub league play, clinics, junior programs, professional exhibitions, evening under the lights play and other fun get-togethers involving pickleball.

It looks like pickleball is here to stay. The future of the game is bright as new and interesting elements create more for fans of the sport. BR

Rosie Slocum is the director of membership and marketing at BallenIsles Country Club in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. She can be reached via email:


Mike Strauss is GCSAA’s media relations manager.

To learn more about GCSAA’s wide range of continuing education opportunities for the golf course management industry, visit

GCSAA Offers Programs for the Highest Level of Professional Recognition

Kayla Kipp, a seven-year member of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, is about breaking through barriers and reaching new heights.

Kipp, who served in the U.S. Air Force for six years, is unafraid of challenges or new opportunities.

As a female and as a turf equipment manager, Kipp is part of two small segments of GCSAA members, and she is stepping out to the forefront through opportunities provided by the GCSAA. Women make up just 2 percent of the association’s 19,000 members, and only four females are in the equipment manager membership classification.

Kipp is the turf equipment manager at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington, PA. The facility in the Allegheny Mountains features two Pete Dye golf courses. While just a few weeks into the job at Nemacolin, after 10 years at another golf course, Kipp took on the challenge to earn certification from GCSAA.

“I want to be the best at everything and CTEM is a way to show I know what I am doing in this industry,” Kipp said. “It is the epitome for me in this industry. And being a part of the (GCSAA’s) Equipment Manager Task Group, being visible in Women in Turf, I want people to say, ‘She is a certified turf equipment manager. She knows what she is doing.’ I am confident and I want other people to have confidence in me.”

Educational opportunities abound through GCSAA. The association offers live and on-demand webinars and short educational videos year-round and at the annual GCSAA Conference and Trade Show.

These ongoing educational webinars and videos keep superintendents up to date on the latest technologies, best management practices and other situational issues that can come up in the lives of those managing golf courses.

In addition, GCSAA provides certifications and certificates for those seeking to be recognized at the highest level of their profession. There are career tracks for superintendents, assistant superintendents and equipment managers.

New hires with certifications and certificates and employees who receive support from their employers in seeking certifications and certificates possess the highest degree of knowledge in their profession.

Certified Golf Course Superintendent: This is the most widely recognized and highest recognition that golf course superintendents can achieve. In 2021, the CGCS program was modernized to meet the needs of today’s superintendent.

For superintendents, competencies are categorized as agronomy, business management, communication, environmental management and leadership. These are key areas that make superintendents extremely valuable to golf clubs.

Among the eligibility requirements required to become a CGCS, a person must be a Class A member of GCSAA.

GCSAA’s Certified Turf Equipment Manager Program launched in May 2022, and Kipp became the first woman to earn certified status, completing the process in September. Twenty-one individuals were certified in the first eight months of the program, but Kipp remains the only female to earn CTEM letters after her name.

“The process forced me to continue to grow as a superintendent and think about my profession and skills in a different way, including some areas where I can still improve,” said Adam Hoffman, CGCS, Sunset Hills Country Club, Carrollton, GA. “I believe that becoming a CGCS will position me in the best possible situations moving forward in my career.”

Assistant Superintendent Certificate Series: This certificate allows individuals to demonstrate their knowledge as an



The Sports Turf Industry Weathering the Storm

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. Dave Doherty is the 2022 recipient of the Dave White Excellence in Achievement Editorial Award. He can be reached at (913) 706-6635 or via email:

It’s been quite a few years of ups and downs for the sports turf industry.

Ten years ago, there was little good news about the golf industry as some regions experienced minimal gains in the rounds played while other sections of the country experienced a noticeable decline.

Was the weather the cause of these increases and decreases of rounds played? Not of itself. However, it has played a role, but the lack of recreational dollars also played a role. The most common but not the only thread that is consistent with the courses that are doing well is that 99.9 percent have very good to excellent playing conditions.

Every course with good to excellent greens also has good to excellent physical properties in their greens’ material. The USGA-recommended guidelines are for new construction materials and do not necessarily apply to greens once we seed, sod or sprig as the greens age. The physical properties of greens must also be compatible with the microclimate in which they reside.

For instance, greens that receive adequate sunlight and have good air movement will normally need/require different physical properties than those that have limited sunlight and limited air movement. The different types of turf (Poa, Bent, and Bermuda) will also in most cases require different

However, more recently, COVID-19 sparked an increase in rounds of play. So, what have we learned?

Increased rounds equal increased stress: The greens are the most valuable asset of any golf course. We can have a $100 million clubhouse, a master chef, the finest cutlery and the most trained staff, but if the greens are not in the condition that players have come to expect, we will have a clubhouse catering to luncheons and card playing, and neither of those two by themselves covers the overhead.

I believe the importance of balanced physical properties because of increased rounds of play because of COVID-19 makes this issue even more important today. Greens with balanced physical properties are doing very well while those without balanced physical properties are in most cases struggling.

physical properties. The number of rounds played, size of greens, and cupable areas will have a tremendous impact on the physical properties as well.

The chemical and biological factors of our golf greens cannot function properly if the physical properties are out of balance.

I am still amazed that only 25 to 30 percent of North American golf courses do regular testing of physical properties. If your course is among the 70 to 75 percent that do not regularly test physical properties, I strongly urge you to think about starting a physical property testing program. Balanced physical properties will in most cases lead to savings on the chemical and water sides of the maintenance budget. BR

Increased rounds equal increased stress:
The greens are the most valuable asset of any golf course. We can have a $100 million clubhouse, a master chef, the finest cutlery and the most trained staff, but if the greens are not in the condition that players have come to expect, we will have a clubhouse catering to luncheons and card playing, and neither of those two by themselves covers the overhead.

Rita Barreto is an engaging, motivational speaker on the national stage. She offers customized, industry-specific consulting services to navigate change and build an agile and thriving company culture. Don’t hesitate to visit, and then give Rita a call to book a free 20-minute consultation.

The Importance of Feedback to Employee Retention

As with so many other workplace trends in a post-pandemic era, the way of doing business has changed.

Companies have replaced board meetings with Zoom calls, and in-person work schedules with remote, home offices. It is more challenging to find (and keep) good employees. Although there are many reasons for these vicissitudes in business, one word sums up the changes: dissatisfaction

Today’s emerging workers are free agents; they belong to no one. Understandably, business owners have been frustrated by the lack of commitment and follow-through in this new generation of employees. They start with eagerness and enthusiasm, only to quit unexpectedly.

So, what is driving this behavior, and how can it be fixed?

Albeit a loaded question, the short answer is feedback. Giving and getting feedback is vital to engagement, from the bottom to the top of any successful company. Businesses are built on relationships; therefore, feedback provides an anchor so people can feel valued, heard, and inspired. When you deliver feedback properly, a frustrated person who is silent can go from feeling discouraged to encouraged.

This tip should not be misconstrued. In fact, nobody wants a boss, parent, friend, or partner constantly nagging or yelling at them. Instead, adopting a “coach” mindset is a better way to deliver feedback. It can lead to noticeable improvements, higher engagement, and greater job satisfaction when employees feel that the leaders care and listen to them.

Skip the annual evaluation in lieu of stay interviews and informal meetings

People are overly sensitive these days, so it can be tempting to stay silent or choose a path of least resistance to preserve someone’s feelings. It is much easier to give compliments than critiques, but you can do both gracefully and punctually to keep employees on track.

Taking the “coach approach” instead of the rank-and-file review process is a modern way to keep employees engaged. It allows them to participate by returning the feedback to managers rather than being talked down to or scolded. Think of the best coach in high school or college; how they fired up their team by telling players about the skills with which they were pleased while tactfully telling the kids things they could work to improve. Those subtle adjustments and shifts in attitude caused a reaction, and the kids played noticeably better after a rowdy pep talk.

Continuous feedback reinforces teamwork. Instead of employees feeling singled out or picked on, the perception is that

“we’re all in this together.” Therefore, it can help individuals break bad habits right away while simultaneously bolstering positive attributes and empowering a team mentality. People like to feel part of something bigger. It gives them purpose and fulfillment and can lead to better employee retention.

Ideas to give and receive feedback

• Short surveys. Although some managers feel these are too cumbersome, employees will not become fatigued if the surveys are short and frequent. For example, after each project, you could offer everyone a survey that asks three to five questions and seek comments on how the project went.

• One-on-one sessions. Depending on the nature of the business, managers and team leaders could make these a once-per-week or monthly ritual. Start by asking employees for feedback so they feel valued and heard. When they can express their feelings openly, it goes a long way to building trust and rapport.

• Team time. This can work for both remote employees and in-person staff members. Create a special name for this jam session. Everybody can voice their feedback in a friendly and non-hostile meeting. Reflect on a particular project, client or situation.

• Feedback cards. The idea is to get everyone’s input, so depending on whether you have a large company or a smaller, more intimate setting, you can break this up within departments or do this comprehensively for the whole business. Photocopy index-sized cards with everyone’s name and pass them out to everyone on the team. Just ask two simple questions: What is that person’s strength or best asset? What can that person work on or do better? Then, you can email or pass out everyone’s individual results and discuss concerns in a safe setting. For example, over a cup of coffee on the office patio, where individuals can feel free to express their perspectives.

Great leaders can also accept feedback from workers without holding judgment or jumping to conclusions. When managers support their team members without being bullies or bossy dictators, the people will respond accordingly. Strong feedback helps to unleash the ambition within every individual. Weak or non-existent feedback can create silent animosity, fuel resentment and frustration and, ultimately, cause turnover.

Remember, employee engagement is a direct offshoot of feeling appreciated, connected and purposeful. Feedback is a continual process, not just a once-in-a-while milestone. Think like a coach, not a boss. BR

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BoardRoom magazine Recognizes the Private Club Presidents of the Year

Now in its 15th year, BoardRoom magazine annually recognizes the world’s top private club presidents, captains and chairs as Private Club Presidents of the Year, for their outstanding work, their understanding of the industry, and role and responsibilities of the club’s board of directors. In this continuing series, BoardRoom introduces four more of its top 24 presidents for 2022. The Distinguished Club President was featured in the November/December 2022 issue. Private club board presidents play a huge role in professional operations of their clubs as a volunteer working diligently with their board of directors and general managers, striving for well informed, but not emotional decisions. This recognition by BoardRoom magazine has attracted board president nominations from clubs and other nominators around the world. These outstanding presidents exemplify the focus on the leadership responsibilities, the accountability and the management of the board providing a healthy respect for the club’s macro management. They are cognizant of the importance of working, effectively and efficiently, with their volunteer boards and the dedication required from everyone with whom they work. Key elements of a “good” board include commitment, competence, diversity, collective decision making, openness, transparency, effective communication with the management and the membership, fiscal responsibility, development and establishment of the clubs’ mission, vision and policy direction, especially through establishment of a strategic plan. A successful board president draws upon the expertise of other board members, the club’s institutional memory and stewardship of the club’s resources. As well the board president provides new board members and future board presidents with information they need to perform effectively as board members.

Congratulations to these outstanding private club board presidents. See pages 58 & 59.

Private Club Presidents of the Year Major Sponsors


“The strategic planning process for Peak 100 took two years and was unanimously supported by the board and membership in 2020. The result was an effective blueprint that I have been able to use as I became president to guide my focus and work with the board, management, committees and members. We have everyone aligned on one plan. We are already seeing outstanding results.”

During the strategic planning process, Bennett and his team determined that Bald Peak needed to enhance its amenities and procedures to satisfy and exceed current and future membership desires.

The golf course, for example, now offers varying lengths for all skill levels. The new sports complex offers other membership options, such as pickleball, paddle tennis and basketball. The food and beverage operation has addressed capacity due to high engagement and added new offerings, like a pizza oven.

In 2018, Jeff Bennett led a group of members that embarked on establishing Peak 100, a strategic plan for the Bald Peak Colony Club. The objective was to thoroughly assess every aspect of the club and establish a plan to put the club on a path of sustained success as it entered its second century of operations.

“Peak 100 focused on an important set of areas that would have the most impact on the club’s ongoing success and sustainability, including member mix, capacity planning, new amenities, succession planning, five- and 10-year financial modeling and expanded capital plans. We were able to focus on these key areas while we worked to maintain the unique Bald Peak culture and experience,” said Bennett, Bald Peak’s president.

Bald Peak’s board leads the strategy, and the general manager oversees the club operations. Every board meeting references the strategic plan. In addition, the annual board agenda has five main objectives derived from the strategic plan. To gauge success, Bennett communicates the results with the board, committees, membership, and management at key points throughout the year.

“Mr. Bennett is an engaged, hardworking, ‘get it done’ kind of club president. His transparency in all aspects of the club helps the board, committees, membership and managers understand the goals and objectives set forth,” said Christopher S. Wyles, Bald Peak’s GM.

“Mr. Bennett is a strong advocate for operations being led by management, whereas the board of governors sets strategy, policy and focuses on capital management. Mr. Bennett takes on challenges head-on and with a balanced approach when making decisions.”

Bennett combines his private club governance experiences with his experiences as an entrepreneur, board member and advisor with growth companies in the technology industry. He received the prestigious E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year Award and graduated with honors from Bentley University and executive education at Stanford University. BR

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the epitome


“His family members are high users of the club, he supports the CEO model of club governance and is an excellent confidant to discuss club business and bounce ideas off,” says Petrick, whom Denton empowers to implement policies and manage day-to-day operations for the club.

“It’s wonderful to have open and idea-generating conversations with a president who is more your partner in club success than a boss.”

Denton led the resurgence of the strategic planning committee post-COVID, which allowed for a broad insight into the club’s growth and development. He spearheads strategic plans involving all club committees that will produce a great outcome for Kenwood’s future.

Kenwood, which welcomes back the LPGA in September, has two 18-hole courses. The club also offers a state-of-the-art fitness center, an upscale pool and pavilion area, a racquets facility, and an extensive food and beverage/events program. Talented employee partners continue to elevate the team and ensure a high-quality member experience.

Denton is excited about the upcoming renovation of the Kendale greens.

“This renovation will bring the Kendale greens up to USGA standards and will complete the more than $8 million investment by the membership in renovating our premier course,” Denton says. “I am confident that once complete, this will make the Kendale course one of the best in the Midwest.

“I want to thank our membership for their patience and support as we have worked the past few years on these improvements and our leadership team led by Dylan Petrick and Nate Herman (director of agronomy and grounds). They have worked tirelessly to ensure the Kendale course is to the level of excellence that our members expect.”

Denton is the senior vice president, secretary and general counsel of Cintas Corp. He leads Cintas’ legal, risk management, compliance, environmental, social and governance initiatives. Before joining Cintas, Denton was a partner at Keating Muething & Klekamp PLL for 22 years. In addition, he served as the general counsel of FC Cincinnati, a professional soccer team playing in Major League Soccer. BR

“As we entered 2022, like most other clubs, we were faced with inflation, supply chain and labor supply issues; however, we were in the middle of a transformational construction project that was exposed to these issues as well,” said Ira H. Green Jr. He was elected president of Houston Country Club in late 2021.

“We quickly understood that we needed to enhance focus on our fiduciary duty to our members with some creative steps in realizing savings and efficiencies. We also understood that communication with the membership was key to the success of the project and operations while alleviating fear and anxiety. As such, we implemented a successful periodic video update program that incorporated our 2022 theme, Positive Energy & a Return to Normal.”

Green worked under the premise that he represented the entire membership, not just the board and the general manager.

When differing opinions arose within the club about the direction and execution of the project, he stuck to the intent of the project.

Green worked with the construction committee and general contractor to continually revise the project and plan the phased re-opening of new and refurbished venues.

He helped general manager, Mark Bado, review payments owed to the contractors and worked out payment schedules to maximize the club’s cash availability.

Green also worked with the GM to establish a new management team to help ensure the club would be able to properly staff the new service areas and allow the membership an exceptional experience with each visit. He helped evaluate staffing and compensation levels to make the club an attractive employer in the new tight labor market.

Green has worked with the board to begin revising/updating the club’s governance by establishing best practices, consolidating and eliminating duplicate and outdated committees and establishing new, necessary committees.

“Until you are in the leadership position, volunteer board members never fully comprehend how many hats you have to wear as the president of the board,” says general manager and chief operating officer Bado.

“Luckily for Houston Country Club, each hat that Ira Green has worn during his tenure has fit him perfectly because of his intelligence, foresight, patience, compassion, dedication and professionalism.”

During his time on the board, Green has also served as chairman of the pool, entertainment and finance committees, treasurer and vice president.

The University of Texas graduate and recipient of an MBA from the University of Virginia is the managing director/head of energy and power capital markets at Piper Sandler. BR


When Robert (Bobby) F. Heiser took over the reins at Belle Haven Country Club in December 2019, he was optimistic about the club’s future.

Three months later, the COVID-19 pandemic turned the president’s long-range plans upside down as Heiser dealt with shutdowns and staff furloughs; with keeping the club open and with absent revenue streams because of the lack of catering and banquet events, golf outings and guest fees.

Once it was apparent that the club would be OK, Heiser rallied the board and set his sights on the club’s

SWOT analysis. Because of his leadership, unmatched board governance, and open and transparent communications with the membership, the club thrived.

Heiser turned the financial ledger around, righting the ship and putting the club in a better position to look with hope and optimism toward the future.

“President Heiser was unwavering in his leadership through the pandemic, and the trust and support from the membership that he still receives are unmatched,” Husam Atari, Belle Haven’s general manager and chief operating officer, said about the first board president to serve two consecutive two-year terms since 1984.

“His support and vision to improve the club continues with the master plan the club is preparing to embark on. He truly takes the idea of ‘leaving something in better condition than you found it in’ literally.”

Belle Haven’s board and general manager focus on the club’s goals. The remaining management team runs the day-to-day operations, delivering amenities, programs and events that consistently exceed the expectations of members and their guests.

Heiser joined the club in 2004. He sought a haven where he could raise his young family, meet new friends and relax on beautiful grounds with views of the Potomac River.

In his career, Heiser, a businessman at heart, has worked with diverse groups and industries. Most recently, he was a real estate developer and senior vice president of property management and development for CBTC. He owned and operated student housing near universities in 20 markets around the U.S. until he sold the company in 2016.

“I have often been faced with large personalities and diverse ideas of partners and colleagues,” Heiser said. “This has taught me to keep a level head, to be open to what others think and to be thoughtful before taking action. These traits govern my efforts in everything I do.” BR

“The concept of Tara Iti began out of my love of golf and the desire to create a special oasis in one of the most beautiful countries in the world,” said Richard (Ric) Kayne, part owner and chairman of the board of Tara Iti Golf Club. It’s the first private equity golf club in New Zealand.

“New Zealand is a country to which I have been bringing my family and friends for over 20 years. My vision started with a challenge to build an uncompromising golf course on land with a complicated history but unparalleled beauty.”

Matt Guzik, the general manager at Tara Iti, has worked closely with Kayne for the past nine years and helped execute his vision.

“He is an incredible judge of character and continues to empower those who are involved with and a part of Tara Iti to take ownership of the property with pride and integrity,” Guzik said of Kayne.

“Ric recognizes that employees are the most important resource in the ongoing success of Tara Iti, and he applies the principles of respect, honesty and commitment at all times towards the team.”

Privacy, exclusivity and the security of members are key elements of Tara Iti’s membership and a huge focus for staff.

Underpinning the board’s governing philosophy is Kayne’s vision of a place where members and their guests can come to play an outstanding golf course and enjoy the benefits of Tara Iti’s unique and natural setting, where they can have fun and make friends but never at the expense of anyone else, including staff.

“That pretty much summarizes our view of rules,” said Guzik, who works closely with the board. “If you can accomplish that, you don’t need a lot of rules. Our objective is to create a culture where people always feel welcome and valued, whether they are members, guests or staff. We want people to come and play golf, relax, drink, eat and socialize in the spirit of kindness to all.”

Kayne is the founder and chairman of Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors, a manager of alternative investment strategies based in Los Angeles, CA. He is a husband to Suzanne, a father to three daughters and a philanthropist who has served on many boards and national committees and has created foundations. BR


HFTP 2022 Compensation and Benefits Survey


The HFTP 2022 Compensation and Benefits Survey provided the unique opportunity to gain insight into challenges faced by club professionals throughout the historic pandemic event of 2020 and its after-effects, as well as the solutions they employed throughout this time. This data offers a historical glimpse that can serve as a reference for future events which may similarly disrupt the hospitality industry, and more specifically, the club segment.


Of the 81 respondents to answer the question, 55 (68 percent) indicated some form of staffing issue as their greatest challenge during the the pandemic. Common phrases that cropped up in their open-ended responses include: staff shortages, reductions and lay-offs; difficulties with recruitment, retention and maintaining employee morale; greater workloads with smaller teams; and wage decreases. “Especially in the hospitality industry, getting job applications and going through the interview/new hire process only had a success rate of about 5 percent due to applicants dropping out, not calling back or showing up to interviews,” wrote one respondent. “Keeping all employees employed and paid” was a challenge noted by another.

Thirty-three respondents (41 percent) identified a challenge related to health and safety during the pandemic. These responses indicated difficulties navigating government mandates, restrictions and relief programs related to the pandemic; dealing with forced business closures; implementing social distancing measures; safety concerns for guests and employees. “As a club (non-501c7), we needed to ramp up to-go options,” wrote one respondent. Another club professional found difficulties navigating “the constantly changing local laws regarding in-person dining... social distancing for office staff...[and] providing updates on Covid vaccines, testing and reporting.”

For nine respondents (11 percent), impacts to business and finance presented the greatest challenge to overcome throughout the pandemic. Business and finance are closely interrelated and therefore, grouped into the same category – as many put it: no business equaled no income. Loss of business, budgeting and decrease in sales are frequently referenced in this category of responses.

Various miscellaneous issues, also categorized as “other,” were indicated by nine respondents (11 percent). These encompass supply chain issues, limitations with IT equipment, lack of factual information, and difficulty managing changing legislation and changes dictated by the pandemic.

Staffing, 68% Health and Safety, 41% Business and Finance, 11% Other/Miscellaneous, 11% None, 1%
What were the biggest challenges faced over the course of the pandemic?

As one respondent put it, “the norm was no longer successful.” And another: “Oh so many challenges and changes have been made due to the pandemic.”

It should be noted that several respondents identified multiple challenges in their response. For example, one respondent noted issues with “understanding and complying with government funded programs...staffing...[and] budgeting in the pandemic.” Each of these comments were separated and categorized accordingly.

Furthermore, one respondent identified no challenges (none) during the course of the pandemic.

A total of 67 respondents provided insight into the various ways they addressed the challenges experienced during the course of the pandemic. Their answers represent a wide range of solutions. Many individuals chose to resolve staffing issues by increasing salaries, offering retention, signing and/or referral bonuses, reorganizing duties, implementing technologies such as an applicant tracking system, providing better training, using seasonal labor and cutting back staff where needed.

In response to health and safety challenges, respondents increased outdoor seating, limited services, allowed staff to work from home, followed recommendations from a health and safety committee, and enforced protocols such as mask wearing, testing and vaccinations. To resolve issues impacting business and finance, respondents reduced expenditures and performed daily monitoring, ordered from different vendors or substituted products, and made best estimates for budgets.

Other responses were more simplistic and straightforward. When asked how their challenges were addressed, one person simply put, “they weren’t.” On a more optimistic note, another respondent said they tackled challenges “with every bit of creativity and positivity that we all had.”

The survey also sought to identify the challenges that respondents continue to face as a result of the pandemic. A total of 65 individuals provided feedback to this question. Staffing remained the most common challenge, represented by 49 respondents (75 percent). A greater number of respondents (6 individuals, or 9 percent) indicated that no challenges (none) remained related to the pandemic in its aftermath. Adversely, the number of respondents experiencing challenges related to health and safety declined quite significantly post-pandemic, with only 2 respondents (3 percent) identifying issues in this area.


The global Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 irrevocably altered the hospitality industry and had a years-long, lasting impact on business practices, revenue streams and staffing. The HFTP 2022 Compensation and Benefits Survey offered a unique opportunity to collect feedback from hospitality professionals and create a historical snapshot of the challenges that arose as a direct result of the pandemic, as well as how these individuals chose to respond. This information may serve as a future reference if another widespread, cataclysmal event should occur. BR

62 BOARDROOM | MARCH / APRIL 2023 from HFTP - Technology Committee | 60 Staffing, 75% Health and Safety, 3% Other/Miscellaneous, 14% Financial/Business, 12% None, 9%
What challenges do you continue to face currently that stemmed from the pandemic?
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Get to Know the Difference Between Local, Hosted and Cloud Software

I’m writing this article having just returned from the latest CMAA BMI session in Los Angeles.

One of the discussions our group had while there reminded me that some clarification around a hot industry topic could be useful. The topic is cloud computing, which is often thought of as cutting-edge technology. At its root, it is less about the software an individual or business uses and more about how they access it.

Locally installed: With locally installed software, the application is loaded directly onto a device. A great example of this, and one most of us use on a near-daily basis is Microsoft Excel. While we no longer venture out to a store to purchase an oversized Microsoft Excel box containing a user guide and a CD for installation, the concept is the same. We download files and install them directly onto our devices, allowing us to easily access our software without an internet connection. This form of software deployment is extremely reliable and uses the device’s computing power to run the software. The more powerful the device, the faster the software can run.

This deployment method has remained the most common throughout the club industry due to its dependability in hospitality environments. There is nothing worse than losing your ability to process transactions or take orders due to an internet outage. Connectivity in rural and remote locations has also been a reason that this deployment method has remained so popular. The downside is the need to buy and maintain the hardware required to run the software locally. This includes computers with sufficient computing power, as well as network and database servers.

Hosted deployment: The second method, hosted deployment, could be considered a hybrid of local and cloud. Hosted means that local workstations connect to a server where your software is installed. In this scenario, an application may be installed locally to facilitate the connection and provide some limited functionality, but workstations won’t need large amounts of processing power even for complex tasks since the server is responsible for processing data. With hosted deployment, you can work with a third party and host your software on a remote server. It eliminates the need to buy your own server, which can be a significant

upfront cost saving. Additionally, most hosting companies will provide guaranteed uptime and ensure that your server software is always up to date. Of course, there will be monthly or annual hosting fees, but the peace of mind may be worth it when considering the upkeep and replacement cost of any owned server. Lastly, remote hosting will require a high-quality internet connection, so if your club is in a rural area with limited connectivity, this may not be the option for you.

Cloud software: The final option, and a commonly used term in the industry to describe browser-based software, is cloud software, or software as a service (SaaS). While the “cloud” gets a lot of recognition today, what we’re really talking about is the method used to connect to a server where software is hosted - in this case, a web browser. On the other end of every browser window is software that has been installed on a server; we’re paying a service fee to access it. Even when we refer to storing data “in the cloud” we’re really just saying our data has been uploaded to an internet-connected server somewhere in the world.

Part of why cloud technology is widely considered cutting edge is that the web is a constantly evolving ecosystem of programming languages and communication layers, all of which create a relatively new platform for business management software to be built on. The key differentiator with cloud software comes down to accessibility. Since it is web based, cloud software can theoretically be accessed from any internet-enabled device. It also lends itself well to the deployment of related mobile apps offering well-integrated functionality. However, the greatest advantage of cloud computing is also its greatest downside. Cloud software is only as reliable as your internet connection, unlike local and hosted deployments, which offer layers of redundancy where your business could continue to operate even during an internet outage.

Making technology decisions is hard enough, and with confusion around software platforms and their deployment methods, it can get even trickier. Understanding these three deployment/access methods, and that they have their own benefits and drawbacks, is essential to making smart business decisions for your club. BR

Trevor Coughlan is vice president of marketing at Jonas Club Software. He can be reached at (800)352-6647 Ext. 2278, or via email:
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What Do Asbestos and Member Identity Theft Have in Common?

Sometimes day-to-day practices and materials – standard ones used for many years – eventually offer unforeseen dangers.

Take asbestos, for example. Used in ancient times as a fire retardant and popularized during the Industrial Revolution as an excellent insulator, asbestos was all around us. Until recently. Incredibly, several thousand years passed before the health dangers of this naturally occurring substance became widely acknowledged.

The story I am about to share with you doesn’t offer the wallop of asbestos, but it should concern you enough to take note.

Let’s begin with an imaginary club’s member billing. On the 20th of every month, the accounting staff exports the month-end billing statement charges to the bank, which uses the standard ACH procedures to debit each member’s bank account for the statement balances due. No fuss. No muss. Members fill out a simple form with their bank information to initiate the ACH process. The information goes into the club’s billing system, and the form is destroyed for security purposes.

Our story continues with Mr. Smith, a longtime member of the club. Mr. Smith is getting a little forgetful. One afternoon, he calls the club’s office asking for help with his club website password. He is transferred to Mary, the administrator of the club’s website. Mary uses the website admin password to access Mr. Smith’s account. She looks up his password and reads it to him. Mr. Smith thanks Mary and goes on with his daily routine.

Normal ACH debits. Help with a member password. Should you be concerned?

Absolutely. This scenario, repeated month after month at many private clubs, offers the double whammy needed to steal member identities and drain their bank accounts –without the member knowing how it happened. Here’s how this simple but effective scheme works.

An unscrupulous member of the accounting department has access to member ACH information by saving copies of the registration forms, viewing the information sent to the bank or viewing the ACH account information in the member billing program. The staff member can also access the website admin function and view each member’s access password.

Bingo. Bank information. Password. Ready for action.

But you might be thinking … password? That’s for the club website access, not the bank. Ahh yes. But according to Security magazine and other sources, 50 percent of people surveyed use the same password for multiple accounts. In this case, Mr. Smith is among that 50 percent.

So, what do you do to avoid this scenario? Three things:

1. Don’t collect bank information from your members. Have them set up their own billing accounts on the club’s website and make sure that the bank ACH information is not stored or viewable on the club’s systems. Instead, a token should be stored that accesses the actual bank information on a separate, secure banking system.

2. Don’t use the admin password access feature. (If it is available, disable it.) Members should set up their own login names and passwords. No club personnel should be able to see this information. The website should offer a “forgot password” and “forgot login name” feature so members can change their login names and passwords.

3. If your club accepts credit cards as payment, re-read this article and replace ACH with credit card. We must be as vigilant with members’ credit card information as we are with their banking information.

Three simple guidelines that can save you a world of trouble if an unscrupulous person joins your staff. Don’t wait. Make sure this is a non-issue today. BR

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. During his 30-plus years in the club industry, Bill has assisted more than 400 private clubs with the planning, evaluation, selection and implementation of computer technology in all facets of their operations. Bill can be reached at

Jonathon Goodman is the CFO of Lost Tree Club in North Palm Beach, FL. He is a certified public accountant and was a member of the RSM US (formerly McGladrey) Club Service Team for eight years. After departing RSM he served as the director of finance at Fairfield Glade Community Club in Tennessee and the CFO at Frenchman’s Creek in Southeast Florida. He is a member of the international board of the Hospitality Financial and Technical Professionals Association. Jonathon can be reached at


Our club is now debt-free, all of our ‘wish list’ capital projects are being completed and we will never again have assessments. Members don’t want to be managers; they just want to enjoy the club. Frankly, this is the best thing that could have happened for our club.

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Enhance. Thrive.
“ ”
The Club at Renaissance - Fort Myers, Florida
ConcertGolf Partners


2023 Legislative and Regulatory Update

Independent Contractors, Seasonal Workers and a New Water Rule

It is a new year and a new session of Congress.

While the divided nature of Congress will make bipartisanship and compromise difficult, it will not stop the action in the regulatory agencies which have been busy with new proposed and final rules affecting many facets of the club industry.

Department of Labor addresses independent contractors and intentions for overtime rules

Independent contractors

In October 2022, the Department of Labor issued a new proposed regulation to redefine a worker’s status as an employee or independent contractor under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Despite speculation that the new rule would mirror the stringent “ABC Test” used in several states, the proposed rule outlined six economic reality test factors to consider in determining whether an employment relationship exists.

In December 2022, the Club Management Association of America and the National Club Association filed joint comments with the DOL concerning the proposed revisions. “We recognize the significant role independent contractors have in the delivery of goods and services in all sectors of the economy. We believe federal and state labor laws and regulations should provide a more stable and predictable standard by which to determine employment status and worker classification,” read the comments in part.

The associations wrote that a “totality-of-the-circumstances” approach would introduce too much subjectivity to the determination process; instead, they urged the DOL to adopt easier-to-understand guidelines, noting that the club industry relies on independent contractors to meet seasonal and other needs and that the proposed revisions would be overly complicated, necessitating legal expertise in each situation.

The DOL will review the more than 55,000 public comments and is expected to release its final rule later this year.

Overtime rules

It is now expected that the DOL will issue a new proposed rule on overtime pay exemptions in May. It had previously been slated for the fall of 2022. This rule regulates which employees are exempt from the payment of overtime by meeting the duties test and the qualifying minimum salary threshold and was last updated on Jan. 1, 2020.

The DOL has not released any specific details of its intentions, but employers should be prepared that the minimum salary level for the FLSA’s executive, administrative and professional exemptions will likely increase and could include automatic increases (as was previously proposed in 2016).

Department of Homeland Security and DOL release additional fiscal year 2023 visas for entirety of year

In October 2022, the Department of Homeland Security and the DOL announced their intention to release 64,716 additional H-2B visas for fiscal year 2023. This move marks the first time that these agencies have made additional visas available for the entirety of the fiscal year. These visas will provide welcome relief for many employers as the first half of fiscal year 2023 allocation was already exhausted as of Sept. 12, 2022.

Of the nearly 65,000 visas being made available, 20,000 visas will be earmarked for workers from Haiti, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. The remaining 47,716 visas will be designated for returning workers, those who have received an H-2B visa within the past three fiscal years and be allocated over the entire year to address the need for peak season summer employment. In December 2022, the final temporary rule was published, outlining what’s available, the release timeline, additional employer requirements and petition submission specifics.

In addition to the announcement of the release of additional visas, the DHS and DOL plan to convene the H-2B Worker Protection Taskforce in cooperation with the White House. The Taskforce will examine policy options to address threats to the program’s integrity; vulnerabilities for H-2B workers, including their limited ability to leave an abusive employment situation without jeopardizing their immigration status; and the impermissible use of the program to avoid hiring US workers.

Environmental Protection Agency announces new water rule, continues confusion

On Dec. 30, 2022, the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers announced the final Waters of the United States rule. Despite calls from the regulated community and our coalition partners with the Waters Advocacy

Melissa Low, CAE, is the senior director, communications and advocacy for the Club Management Association of America. For the latest information on these and other issues affecting the club industry, please visit CMAA’s Legislative Report blog at


David Crandell, CCM, principal, MTL International Work and Travel, the leading international recruiting company for the the private club industry. For more information please visit David can be reached at


H2B and J1 International Staffing—Making the Dollars Make Cents

Congratulations to every club that is now, finally, after all these years, at full membership capacity.

As we are all aware, with a solution comes more problems and vice versa. During the pandemic, people gravitated to more outdoor activities such as golf and tennis and club membership thrived. Who could have predicted the pandemic would cause a boom for the private club business? Renovations thrived, and with new spaces came more business. These are all really good problems to have.

But the biggest problem coming out of the pandemic is now an old adage. “No one wants to work” As a partner in an International Season Staffing business, working with H2B and J1 Visa workers, this is music to our ears, and the phones have been ringing off the hook ever since. We thought that just about all clubs that were going to get into using International seasonal staff had plateaued. But, boy, were we wrong.


The best way I can describe what occurred in the world of labor as we know it now is an earthquake followed by many aftershocks. The quake was the pandemic. The aftershocks were, “Where do we get help?” How do we house the help if we can acquire it?” and “How do we pay for the help once we find it?”

Once restrictions lifted in January of 2021, clubs scrambled to keep up with reinvigorated, up-to-capacity members who wanted to use their club more than ever because clubs did a great job keeping the membership safe from COVID. Any GM would have been out of their mind to set staffing levels at “normal” levels coming into the winter season of 2020-21. Here in Florida, when members could return to fully using their club, pandemic pandemonium hit! Not only were club intentionally understaffed due to the unknowns, membership levels and usage was at an all-time high. And you thought you knew what busy was?

So, in comes the summer of 2022. Clubs wanted seasonal international workers, as their staffs were decimated because of the pandemic, and many long-tenured workers of hospitality jobs simply left the industry, never to return.

A series of aftershocks occurred in the international staffing industry as many borders of previously utilized countries were closed. For example, the Schengen region of Western Europe, South Africa and Brazil were closed to the United States, so we had to find alternative countries, like South America, Jamaica and Mexico, to name a few.

Another aftershock was every person that applied for a Visa had to be vaccinated, and there were dozens of vaccination options worldwide. Some were more accepted than others, but most importantly, they were acknowledged by the U.S. Gov-

ernment as acceptable. Some countries simply did not have the infrastructure to support vaccination production or rollouts.

So, clubs now had to find workers to come to the U.S. to work from abroad who were fully vaccinated, have experience in the field, come from a limited number of options around the globe, speak relatively good English and do it fast!


Now let’s say you found workers from eligible countries like Romania or Montenegro. When en route, the workers’ plane could not touch down anywhere in the 27 countries that make up the Schengen region of Europe, which contains major airline hubs like Munich, Barcelona, and London. And they had to produce a negative COVID test within 36 hours of getting on the plane. So, a straight line now becomes a jigsaw puzzle.

Congratulations on navigating these land mines, and now here come the workers. The only problem now is where they will live because the U.S. is experiencing a housing crisis of unprecedented supply and demand. An eviction moratorium was in place that allowed people to stay in rentals for the unforeseeable future at no cost to them, further fueling our labor crisis. And any available housing was at premium prices, much out of the range clubs wanted to or could muster.

Many clubs raised workers’ salaries by 20 percent or more because they had no choice if they wanted to stay open. All of these costs caused unprecedented dues increases. Aftershock number, who knows at this point!

The good news is our vital signs have stabilized, and clubs are incredibly healthy again. Without foreign labor programs, this is not possible. The programs are expensive, intimidating, complicated, perplexing and necessary.

Not all clubs require an “instant” workforce, but many do. Highly seasonal business is a product of the diverse weather patterns here in the U.S. Some call it a blessing, and some call it a curse. However you look at it, our great country was built on immigration and will continue to thrive because of immigration. Inevitably, our workers that come from abroad for better opportunities often stay and become our citizens. To quote a famous movie line, “Our ancestors were kicked out of every great country in the world,” never rings truer than today. Immigration and foreign workers are now evolving through the U.S. Visa-based programs. We now have more structure and pathways than ever for citizenship into the U.S.

We all hope this is the last of global pandemics, but we have emerged better equipped and stronger than ever before to rise once again and reclaim our status as the greatest and most resilient nation in the world. BR

H2B and J-1 Visa Programs Seasonal Staffing Solutions for Private Clubs David Crandell, CCM (561) 531-0861 | Bia Molina (305) 926-6908 | WWW.MTLINT.COM SPECIALIZING IN PRIVATE CLUBS AT COMPETITIVE PRICING — Candidate selection and acquisition — — Onsite and virtual interview recruiting — In and out of country placement and extensions — — Full legal services — — Housing acquisition and management — — Air and ground transportation — — Health insurance available —
Excellence in Achievement Awards 1 8 15 22 29 36 43 50 57 2 9 16 23 30 37 44 51 58 3 10 17 24 31 38 45 52 59 4 11 18 25 32 46 53 60 5 12 19 26 33 40 47 54 61 6 13 20 27 34 41 48 55 62 7 14 21 28 35 56 63 39 Achieve What You Believe A distinguished club deserves a distinguished private bank. Discover how MidFirst Private Bank can assist with all of your financing needs. Whether you are renovating the clubhouse or re-designing the golf course, MidFirst Private Bank is here to provide concierge-style banking service every step of the way.


1. Kevin Reilly

2. Dan Denehy


3. Ryan Doerr (Strategic Club Solutions)

4. Rick Ladendorf (Mindful ‘U’)

4. Craig Marshall (Mindful ‘U’)


5. Dave Doherty


6. Robert DeMore

7. Carmen Mauceri


8. XHIBTZ Contract Furnishings


9. Benshot glassware


11. Duffy’s Tri-C Club Supply



13. Association of Club Catering & Event Professionals



15. Strategic Club Solutions



17. Peacock + Lewis - Architects and Planners CHAIR MANUFACTURER*



22. Corby Hall


23. The Members Only Show - Michael Gutenplan


24. PHX Architecture


25. ClubDesign Associates


26. GGA-Architecture collaboration with

27. FRANK Architecture & Interiors


28. Northstar Club Management Software



Clubessential and Golf Genius Software Announce Maj

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL, USA (January 21, 2016) , the nation's leading provider of technologybased solutions and services to private clubs, reso Golf Genius Software supplier of cloud-based tournament management solutions to the golf professional, club manager and clu member, announced a complete and extensive integration between their respective products.

In making the joint announcement, Bill Ivers, Jr., Clubessential president, and Golf Genius Software C Michael Zisman, said, “This groundbreaking partnership is the first of its kind and offers those in the profession and club management industry unprecedented features and enhancements. This new arrangement is available immediately and is for the benefit of While both companies currently integrate with many club website products, the level of integration the companies have now achieved goes far beyond what was previously available in the industry. “This ulti assists golf professionals as well as club managers who previously had to navigate among different sof products in an effort to efficiently operate a modern golf facility. Moreover, golf professionals who manage multiple golf events during the course of a season must do so quickly and flawlessly. Now with combined systems this has never been easier. Integration into a customer's website, managed by Clubessential, along with Golf Genius's innovative programs will be done seamlessly, and is a critical enhancing the member experience,” Ivers, Jr. noted.


28. Northstar Club Management Software


16. Jonas Club Software



49. Gasser Chair Company


“This 'Best of Breed' integration is the result of an intensive collaboration between our two organizations. As a result, members can access Golf Genius information such as live scoring results, past results, tournament tee sheets, etc., directly from the Clubessential website after signing in, as well as registering for tournaments either through Clubessential or through Golf Genius. That information is passed between the two systems by new Application Program Interfaces (API) developed by both companies,” Zisman said. He added that information collected by Golf Genius for golf outing guests is communicated back to the Clubessential CRM system for club Business Intelligence and marketing purposes, a vital revenue generating capability.

50. Yamaha



73. Telescope Casual Furniture




29. E.A. Photography


30. Signera


16. Jonas Club Software

51. International Golf Maintenance (IGM)


52. Vivid Leaf

“Historically, golf industry software has been a set of separate “stovepipes” with little connectivity. This has been a source of great frustration for golf professionals and club managers. We decided to step up to this problem and really invest in integration between our market leading Unified Suite of products and the best cloud-based tournament management system available,” stated Bill Ivers, Sr., CEO of Clubessential. “Our technical teams have innovated in a number of areas to achieve an extraordinary level of integration and have worked together very effectively,” he added.


53. HINT | Harris Interiors

75. Rogers McCagg Architects, Planners, Interior Designers


76. ClubPay


77. AM Design group (Shadow Wood)


31. Marsh & Associates, Inc.

24. PHX Architecture


32. C2 Limited Design Associates

17. Peacock + Lewis - Architects and Planners


33. Chambers

15. Strategic Club Solutions


34. Frozen Solutions Ice Cream


35. Ambassador Uniform


8. XHIBTZ Contract Furnishings


36. CSR Privacy Solutions


37. Inrange


38. Survey & Ballot Systems


39. Wausau Tile

40. Bambrella


41. Kopplin Kuebler & Wallace


42. Midfirst Private Bank


43. Castor Design Associates


44. Technogym


45. Proform™ Premium Matting & Commercial Carpets


46. Emersa WaterBox


47. System Concepts, Inc. / FOOD-TRAK


48. RealFood Hospitality, Strategy and Design


54. High-End Uniforms

The most recent facility to experience this new arrangement has been Pinehurst Resort. Ben Bridgers, Director of Golf said, "We are pleased to see Clubessential and Golf Genius working together for the benefit of mutual customers like Pinehurst. The tight integration provided by CE and Golf Genius is a double win for Pinehurst: it saves our golf professionals a great deal of time by eliminating manual work, and it greatly enhances the golfer experience by providing very easy access from our Clubessential website to all of the information stored in Golf Genius member portals."


55. Gecko Hospitality


56. Preferred Club


57. Bozeman Club & Corporate interiors


58. MTL International Work and Travel


59. Montague


60. Addison Law


61. Salsbury Industries (metal)

62. Hollman, Inc. (wood)


63. Troon


15. Strategic Club Solutions


64. JBD JGA Design and Architecture

32. C2 Limited Design Associates


65. Kennis


66. Clubessential


67. Creative Golf Marketing


68. McMahon Group


69. Cobalt Software


70. Pipeline Marketing


71. Angela Grande (Montclair)


72. The Verdin Company


66. Clubessential


8. XHIBTZ Contract Furnishings


78. Hilda W. Allen Real Estate


16. Jonas Club Software


70. Pipeline Marketing


18. Larson Nichols


79. RCS Hospitality Group


68. McMahon Group


80. PBMares


66. Clubessential


81. Welch Tennis


82. Cliff Drysdale Tennis


40. Bambrella


83. MembersFirst


14. Kuo Diedrich Chi


43. Castor Design Associates


84. Flora Springs


33. Chambers

64 71 78 65 72 79 66 73 80 67 74 81 68 75 82 69 76 83 70 77 84 Tanner Detro Senior Vice President 602.801.5325 MARCH / APRIL 2023 | BOARDROOM 73



Corey Saban works with clubs on crisis management training from a reporter’s point of view. An Emmy-nominated and award-winning former reporter, he trains you and your team to be prepared for what could happen and how to best respond.

No Comment Is No Comment

Joe Smith is everyone’s favorite member. He’s always smiling and takes a genuine interest in the staff.

One night at the bar, he’s a little buzzed and asks for another round. Cheryl, the bartender, is about to say “No,” but Joe gives her a little grin, tells a joke, and against her better judgment, she serves him his gin and tonic.

A short while later, Joe settles the tab, gets his keys from the valet, drives off and slams into a car full of teenagers. He is arrested and charged with DUI. Police learned he was at the club drinking and put that information into their report, which is a public record.

The following day a local TV reporter calls for comment. Why did this happen? What are the club’s guidelines for this? The call is forwarded to the general manager, who sends it to voicemail. The reporter tries again, and the same thing happens. That evening on the 6 p.m. news, the reporter shows Joe’s mugshot with images of cars driving in and out of the club as he recounts everything from the police report.

nately, most clubs do not have one and think that if they bury their hand in the sand, the problem will disappear, but that approach only leads to gossip inside and outside the community.

Having a series of brief statements called holding statements and ensuring your staff is ready to handle the press can stop things from spiraling out of control. The same is true for numerous situations you could face, such as accidental death, a sexual harassment claim or a member not happy about an overbudget capital project.

The main takeaway is that what may not seem like a problem today could cause you BIG problems tomorrow. However, proper planning, training and an understanding of your local news market will help you prepare for the unexpected.

First, consider creating a crisis management team. This team should consist of the key staff at the club who will have defined roles. Those roles include two backup spokespeople to cover for one another if the GM is on vacation, someone to inform the staff/members of the issue and a person to monitor your Facebook page and respond accordingly.

The spokespeople need to be aware of the baiting questions reporters ask and know how to handle them. The questions can get tricky as reporters are trained to ask your opinion on something, or they will create hypotheticals designed to trip you up. Once you answer one, they can take you down a rabbit hole you want to avoid. You must say what you know and stick to your talking points.

In a crisis, time is not on your side. Preparing means sitting with your response team, listing all the potential situations you could face and creating holding statements to fill in the blanks later when you have learned more information.

He ends the story by saying, “We tried to reach the club for a comment, but they did not get back to us.”

The damage is done. Your lack of comment or “no comment” leads to further speculation about your policies and liability. No comment kills. It’s an expression I often share because it raises doubts about your authenticity as people perceive you are hiding something.

You can easily avoid this and similar scenarios with a crisis management plan for handling the media. Unfortu-

Your crisis team leaders should also train fellow department heads and their teams, particularly the front line of defense, the people answering the phones. Reporters will ask them questions that seem harmless, like “Describe the culture at the club,” but they will use the information against you later.

When pressed for information, the receptionist must stick to the talking points and say, “Our policy is our GM handles all media inquiries.” When pushed further, the receptionist

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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.

Let’s Focus on Employee Base Compensation One Factor Fueling a ‘Great Resignation’

As the so-called current “Great Resignation” impacts the corporate world, reasons and remedies appear in print and social media.

The focus here is not to opine reasons nor give a laundry list of potential remedies. (We’ll leave ping-pong tables in the employee lounge and work-from-home scenarios to others.)

Of course, in private club operations where the ultimate focus is on consistently creating exceptional member experiences, WFH is not a viable consideration. Members may be doing that. But the staff at the club must be “at the ready” to professionally establish expectations and personally deliver something special.

Real people delivering real service in real time. Thus, private clubs typically find that more than 60 percent of operating expenses are tied to employee compensation/payroll and related.

There are lots of moving parts in the revenue and expense side of club operations. When it comes to overall employee compensation, it is “mission critical” in just plain getting it right.

The focus here is to specifically dive into employee base compensation. (You have to get this one right.)

If a repetitive “We’ve always done it this way” approach is taken ― unfavorable “ripple effects” can cause long-lasting waves of unfavorable net results. To name a few: (1) Your very best performers may be hearing about some kind of Great Resignation and simply decide it is not worth it to them to stay. (2) Your poorest performers decide that it is. (3) If annual “blanket” percentage increases are used as a basis rather than performance — many employees will use this as a basis to annually expect a raise regardless of performance. (4) Do we really need any more reasons to get this one right?

A serious approach by professional management is mandatory before recommendations are presented to the finance committee for increases in employee compensation/payroll. This is true in any business, but it is especially true in private club operations where NET operating results are heavily impacted by the decisions/ policies in this mission-critical area.


Simplistic blanket percentage adjustments to the prior year are not viable. As if by magic all employees become more productive the day new budgets are approved. Really? And, due to COVID-influenced new thinking about employment, is what happened last year really relevant to what needs to be done this year? Most likely, not so much.

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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 Don’t Be Like Jack Welch, Choose the Right Person to Succeed You...During his 20-year reign as chairman and CEO of General Electric, Jack Welch helped make GE the most respected and valuable company in the world. Under Welch’s leadership, GE became a part of our lives, making everything from light bulbs to jet engines. Along the way, Welch became a media darling, the poster image for CEO rock stars and the go-to source for business leadership guidance. But, as Welch admitted in the later stages of his life, he failed one of a leader’s biggest responsibilities – he picked the wrong person to succeed him – and he lived to regret it. Read more on page 79.



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

Don’t Be Like Jack Welch Choose the Right Person to Succeed You

During his 20-year reign as chairman and CEO of General Electric, Jack Welch helped make GE the most respected and valuable company in the world.

Under Welch’s leadership, GE became a part of our lives, making everything from light bulbs to jet engines. Along the way, Welch became a media darling, the poster image for CEO rock stars and the go-to source for business leadership guidance.

But, as Welch admitted in the later stages of his life, he failed one of a leader’s biggest responsibilities – he picked the wrong person to succeed him – and he lived to regret it.

Welch’s choice was someone who certainly looked and acted the part. Jeff Immelt was a former Dartmouth offensive tackle, fraternity president and graduate of Harvard Business School who some said came straight from CEO central casting. Immelt ran GE from 2001 to 2017 and is credited with several smart managerial moves. But he is equally criticized for dismantling some of the company’s most profitable infrastructure and driving away talented managers because he didn’t listen to their ideas. Compared to its former glory days, GE is practically irrelevant today.

In his book Power Failure: The Rise and Fall of an American Icon, William Cohan writes that Welch “spent the last few years of his life profoundly regretting what he believed was the most important decision of his career: his choice of successor.” (Welch died in March 2020 at 84.)

Welch’s mistake – falling for a candidate’s charm and political skills rather than choosing the person best suited for the job – is prevalent among those who influence the person who follows them to the top of an organization of any size. As Cohan notes, it’s “one of the most common management mistakes around.”

Looking at Welch as a cautionary tale of the pitfalls of poor succession planning, how should private club boards and leaders ensure they leave their jobs in the most capable hands?

For club leaders who are profoundly influenced by club politics and partisan interests (as in male golfers or tennis players as the arbiters of the club’s future), Welch’s mistake reveals excellent learning insights and actionable guidance:

1. Establish essential leadership qualities. Private clubs differ from one another just as clubs require different leadership skills and capabilities from one cycle to the next. Before you consider who and when, think about what you need in the assortment of rising-leader successor prospects.

Many clubs are dealing with behavioral challenges arising from the pandemic. Disrespectful, uncivil and indifferent behaviors have become as widespread in private clubs as the pandemic itself. Your club is not unique. As

people became untethered from other social norms, historically acceptable behavior within clubs eroded.

The next generation of private club leaders is required to demonstrate patience, understanding, mutually respectful behaviors and the backbone to restore the club’s social norms.

2. Watch successors in “live-fire” situations. Private clubs are excellent proving grounds for servant leaders … and they are different from hierarchical organizations or entrepreneurial settings. It is important to understand where and how prospective club leaders have developed their skills.

For example, entrepreneurs tend to make decisions without discussing options and possible outcomes with other board members. And those who have long-standing professional success with highly structured organizations obsessively seek “more input” before deciding.

In private clubs, committee service, interactions with management staff and task force assignments that call on organizational and political agility can reveal candidates’ strengths and weaknesses.

3. Vet leadership candidates through diverse lenses. Do you select successors based on your views and experiences? Or do you organize a diverse network of people who draw on different life experiences and social networks within the club? Few are wholly “right” and none are absolutely “wrong” as they indicate various shades within the club lifestyle. Build a pyramid of evaluative inputs with a wide base.

In doing so, make it clear to candidates that you are doing your homework so they know and understand your intentions before you act. Leaving candidates uninformed while you are asking others to provide inputs damages trust.

4. Ask management staff for input. The deeper one goes into the organizational chart, the more one learns. Some members treat management staff differently than


More Voting Questions — Part II

What constitutes proper voting in member-owned clubs?

In Part II of our series, the discussion continues with more questions.

Can we send a ballot and letter without a formal notice of meeting? Most state statutes and most bylaws discuss proper notice for a meeting. In most cases, it says that the only matters that may be considered at a special meeting are those set forth in the notice of the meeting (sometimes annual meetings specifically exclude this requirement).

So, simply mailing a ballot alone may not be enough. Many bylaws and statutes also provide expressly for a member vote without a formal meeting – called action by written ballot or something similar. Then, it is important to follow those provisions if you are having a member vote without a meeting.

Typically, those statutes and bylaws provide that the “solicitation” of votes (which has some similar content to a meeting notice) must include certain specific items – usually the number of votes that must be cast (quorum), the number or percentage of votes that must vote yes, etc. In conclusion, it is not the title (Notice) but the content that controls.

Is there a specific format that the meeting notice must follow? There is not a specific format required, but specific content is required. Most statutes and bylaws provide that the notice must include the meeting’s time, date and location and that the special meeting notice must state the purposes for which the meeting is called.

I have seen this in the form of a letter titled “notice of special meeting” and more often see a form of notice that clearly states all the elements of the required notice. My preference is to create a form for each club that works for the club’s documents so that the club can reuse it for each subsequent meeting by changing the required fields.

Can the members vote on anything they want? This is tricky. They can vote on many things if they format the question properly, but there are some things they cannot

vote on. First, most bylaws provide that the board of directors has broad and specific authority, and state statutes usually provide broad authority to the extent not limited by the bylaws.

That means the members cannot vote on a range of things that are within the board’s authority (i.e., fire the manager). However, the members can vote to amend the bylaws. So, if the bylaws say the board sets the club’s fiscal year, it would not be a proper member vote to set the fiscal year in a certain way, but it would be a proper member vote to amend the bylaws to state what the fiscal year is and/or to state that a change to the fiscal year required a member vote.

How do you know if your meeting vote question is stated properly? That is more difficult to explain. Often clubs send me their proposed voting package with many things that are incorrect, so it is more difficult than it might appear. The voting question needs to be a yes or no question (approve or disapprove), except for elections.

Surprisingly, that is often an issue. There also needs to be a clear path to implement the voting result. For example, I have seen voting questions that ask if the bylaws should be amended “to change the way we do this thing.” If that vote passes, then how do you know what language to add to the bylaws? A better question is “should this bylaw section be restated to say this: _______________________.”

Then, if the vote passes, you delete the old and add the new language. Recently a member petition presented bylaw amendments along the lines of “change the way we do this thing” and the board was required to call the meeting. The bylaws provide that the board can amend the bylaws, so if these bylaws pass, the board will draft the language that will be added to the bylaws. That was not the petitioners’ intent, but they drafted their petition poorly. BR

ROBYN STOWELL Robyn Nordin Stowell is a partner in the law firm of Spencer Fane LLP in Phoenix, AZ. Robyn may be reached at (602) 333-5467 or at
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When Members Sue, Can We Kick Them Out?

We know that members will misbehave from time to time. That is why club bylaws need to contain specific disciplinary procedures.

But when a member takes the disciplinary dispute to the next step and sues the club, some clubs would prefer to terminate the member’s membership. While it may seem appropriate to kick the member out of the club, there are significant legal issues to consider.

First and foremost, the board must consider the disciplinary procedures outlined in the bylaws. In particular, the board must confirm whether the bylaws allow for expulsion if a member sues. If yes, the club must follow the process described in the bylaws. If the club’s bylaws do not expressly provide for expulsion, an amendment for such action may be desirable. In any event, the club should follow disciplinary provisions contained in the bylaws to the maximum extent possible.

After considering the club’s bylaws, the board must also consider the statutes governing clubs. Most private country clubs and social clubs are formed as not-for-profit corporations and, as a result, are governed by the state’s not-forprofit corporation act.

portunity for the member to show cause why the proposed action should not be taken, and a decision made by an impartial tribunal that is not influenced by bad faith or fraud. The tribunal could be the board, grievance committee or other similar body depending on the bylaw requirements.

Courts will defer to the decision of the club’s tribunal on the issue of whether the member’s actions would interfere with the friendly and congenial social relationship between the members.

However, notwithstanding the foregoing general rule, in the event of a specific allegation, and clear and convincing proof of fraud or bad faith on the part of the tribunal, courts will frequently review the decision when a member is expelled for suing the club.

Thus, if the member can show that the expulsion resulted from the member’s lawsuit, and such expulsion was made as a result of either fraud or bad faith (which is more frequently the allegation in lawsuits challenging expulsions), the courts will review the decision of the tribunal and the general rule of deference to the tribunal will not apply.

In one such case in Florida, the court held that where due procedural requirements as to notice and hearing were met before the member was expelled, and there was no other showing of fraud or lack of good faith in expelling a member from the club, the court refused to review the tribunal’s decision and the member’s expulsion remained in effect. In contrast, when the member alleges that the real reason for expulsion was the lawsuit, and claims that fraud or bad faith was involved, courts have reviewed the tribunal’s decision and overturned the expulsion or awarded damages to the member.

Before making any decision about expelling a member for suing the club, the board must consider and adhere to provisions of the applicable corporation act. Of particular importance are the act’s requirements for due process.

Due process is generally considered to be written notice of the action to be taken delivered to the member, an op-

Thus, when deciding whether to throw a member out of the club for filing a lawsuit, consider the following: What do the club bylaws allow? What procedural requirements, such as notice and opportunity for a hearing, are required by the bylaws? What are the applicable statutory requirements? Was the real reason for the expulsion nothing more than the lawsuit itself? Could the former member allege and prove that the expulsion was a result of fraud and or bad faith?

When making this analysis, it is always prudent to consult with experienced club legal counsel to avoid kicking a member out and winding up in court. BR

Michelle Tanzer, Esq. is chair of the Global Club and Branded Residences group at the law firm of Nelson Mullins. She serves on the National Club Association board of directors, arbitrates club-related disputes for the American Arbitration Association’s (AAA) National Golf Industry Panel and authored “The Club Litigation Book: Keeping Clubs out of Court.” Ms. Tanzer can be reached at (561) 866-5700 or via email:
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Kris Butterfield is the director of membership, communications and public relations at Bethesda Country Club. She can be reached at (301) 767-8252 or


The Struggle Is Real Dealing with the Influx of New Members


Before I even begin, this could be a controversial concept. Is anyone else exhausted from trying to find a solution?

We spend a lot of time talking about retention. The fact is, it is a lot easier to keep a current member than it is to welcome a new one. At least, that is what we said for years and years until the recent COVID effect. But I think it’s time we focus on something other than retention.

Nothing new to report here – the private club industry is thriving with waitlists, increased dues and record-breaking initiation fees. Recent club renovations have compounded prospective member interest. Private lessons for golf and racket sports are at an all-time high.

However, club infrastructure was built to accommodate the average member load. Pre-2020, our restaurants were comfortably full, tee time policies guaranteed availability, tennis courts were open, and we didn’t even know that pickleball had a kitchen.

Someone once told me that “all boats rise with the tides.” Who else is struggling with the influx of new members? Is the stress from candidate calls on your waitlist causing your membership professional headaches and indigestion? Do your tenured members feel like they no longer know who belongs to their club? Have you heard the buzz amongst the membership that the club feels full? And the question we are afraid to admit: How many of you are begging for resignations? Maybe even just a little bit? I understand if you don’t want to confess.

We have spent an endless amount of time (and dollars) talking about retention. But what about when we need a little attrition to

make our financial models work? Do I dare ask: How do we encourage a few resignations? I know of one club that decided to raise dues to see how many would jump ship. We all know the future of that dangerous path. So what is the solution to the opposite of retention?

I spent a good part of 2022 speaking with membership professionals across the country. I asked, “If you could go back and re-do the COVID effect, what would you do differently?” The answers were all the same: have a strict LOA policy and charge a nonrefundable deposit for the waitlist.

It is surprising how many regular and random people added their names to private club waitlists. And why wouldn’t they? With no skin in the game, they can decide whether to join when their ticket is called. Many waitlisted people contact membership professionals constantly, wondering where they stand and when they will get in. The others have likely forgotten that they even applied for membership.

My club is in a very competitive market. There are 13 opportunities to join a private golf club within a 10-mile radius. Interestingly, we rarely vie for the same member. No club wants to be the outcast and go against the grain, and most of the area clubs are on a lengthy multi-year wait, without charging a waitlist deposit.

Luckily, I am not afraid to be different. At Bethesda, once the candidate clears the membership process, we require a non-refundable deposit. And no, the candidate is not allowed club access because they paid a deposit. This fee authenticates the waitlist, providing a true picture of the future and proving those on the list are going to join and are not looky-loos. This isn’t a solution to club compaction, but it does address the lack of initiation dollars coming in, due to capacity concerns.

For clubs without a membership cap, I have seen one successful concept addressing club capacity. The club welcomes new members in certain months of the year, outside of the club’s “season.” This allows the club to experience its season at its fullest membership load to better monitor the member experience. If member usage overwhelms the club facilities, the club may delay adding new members until it ensures attrition.

We can apply numerous waitlist tactics to secure our financial future. While we balance the art of welcoming new members with a full tee sheet, let’s spend our spare time focused on waitlist strategy and adding parking spaces versus retention. Attrition will happen at some point – it has to eventually, right? BR


Achieve What You Believe

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What Is Club Branding?

How Can You Leverage it to Create Loyal, Lifetime Members?

Your club brand is more than your logo and your website.

It’s the sum of all the experiences a person has with your club ― whether the person is a new member of your community learning about the club’s existence for the first time or a decades-long club member whose family has made memories at the club for generations.

Every touchpoint someone has with your club influences the person’s perception of your brand. Yes, your marketing materials ― your website, your social media channels, the design and color you use on your flyers and menus, and your messaging ― represent your brand. But your brand is also what people experience at the club ― how you introduce potential new members to the club for the first time, how you onboard new members, the customer service your members come to expect, and even the treatment your employees receive.

Whether someone is walking into your club for the first time or the 500th time, think about: What does the person see? What does the person smell? How is the person greeted? How do all of these combined elements make that person feel? Every detail of the club experience becomes a part of your brand.

Failing to provide a consistent, on-brand experience across all elements of your club will result in a disconnect that will negatively influence people’s perception of your club and erode member and potential member trust, which can happen both on a conscious and subconscious level.

It could be as obvious as a club telling potential new members that it prides itself on being welcoming and inclusive but then providing an onboarding experience that is confusing and fails to introduce new members to other members to get them involved.

Or, this could be as simple as a club boasting luxury and top-notch amenities but featuring a blurry photo of the golf course on its website or having handwritten, taped signs peeling off locker room doors.

Without a strong brand experience, you risk member loyalty, your reputation, your ability to stand out from your competition, and the ability to justify the membership cost. In today’s ever-changing, competitive landscape, this is something clubs can’t afford.

So, how do you ensure every detail of your club experience represents the perception you want people to have of your brand?

Start with having absolute clarity with your brand identity. What would you say if someone asked you to describe your club’s brand? What would one of your team members say? If you and your team can’t identify your brand, how can you expect it from your members?

A strong brand identity should include your club’s narrative or story, the club’s mission, vision, and values, its personality, its key messaging, its unique differentiators and offerings, and brand guidelines.

All this information should be clearly defined and shared with your team to ensure everyone is working toward creating experiences for members that consistently align with your brand. Just because you clearly outline this information does not mean it is set in stone. As times change and your club grows, your brand can and should evolve, too.

When you tell and show people what they can expect from your brand ― and then consistently deliver on these promises ― you’ll increase your club’s value, set yourself apart from the competition, build trust and excitement for potential members, and create delighted, happy members who will be loyal to your club.

Loyal members who believe in and trust your brand will be dedicated to your club for a lifetime. These are the members who tell friends and neighbors how much they love the club ― and bring in the most referrals. These are the members who will support and advocate for the club in times of challenge. These are the members who will attend your events and get other members to join them. These are the members clubs dream of having.

The next time you walk through your club, think about every detail through the eyes of your members. Are you delivering on your brand promise? BR

Strategic Club Solutions partners with clubs across the country to hire the right people, plan for a strong future, and develop consistent brand experiences to create delighted, loyal members. Laura Leszczynski is vice president of club branding and strategy, and Ryan Doerr is president of Strategic Club Solutions. He can be reached at: (262) 292-1137 or via email:,


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Mike Phelps is co-founder of Pipeline Agency, a specialized brand marketing agency for private clubs and communities. More information about Pipeline can be found online at


Fuel For Thought

You are driving down the road. The sun is shining. The air is warm. Wind at your back. Momentum on your side. You confidently wonder, “If I cut the engine and quit burning fuel, how far can I coast?”

If your hope was to save fuel, you have made a costly mistake. At least according to the laws of physics…The fuel you will burn to regain your speed is a lot more fuel than you would have burned to maintain your speed.

Your ability to coast will be determined by four factors: 1.) Speed, 2.) Mass, 3.) Friction, and 4.) Gravity.

Marketing is the fuel that energizes business.

1. Speed of growth is determined by how heavily you have been marketing.

2. Mass is determined by how long you have been marketing that heavily.

3. Friction is the inefficiency of your people to consistently delight your members or customers.

4. Gravity is the resistance of things outside of your control, namely the strength of your competitors and the direction of the economy (Are you coasting uphill, or down? Anyone can coast downhill in a booming economy.)

But it has been so long since they focused on marketing that no one suspects it to be the problem. “Our initiation fees are too high. We’ve got to offer a discount.”

Whether it is after a one-month pause, a three-month hiatus, or a six-month abandonment, when that club starts marketing again, they invariably become frustrated that it doesn’t seem to be making a difference. (Remember “The fuel you will burn to regain your speed is a lot more fuel than you would have burned to maintain your speed.” Payback is hell. It’s going to cost that club at least six months of painful fuel inefficiency to regain the momentum lost during that time the club was counting all the marketing dollars they saved.

A second club believes they can build their membership waitlist to a certain size and then, “just hold what they’ve got,” as though that volume of members is something they can count on from now on. But “holding what you’ve got” is never a smart option because the physics of mass, friction, and gravity apply to maintaining your current speed just as surely as they apply to regaining lost momentum.

“Hold-what-we’ve-got” thinkers quietly believe, “We have all these members now, so we don’t need to reach people with marketing anymore.”

Membership clubs inhale and exhale, expand and contract, just like every other living organism. This fantasy of “holding what you’ve got” springs from the misbegotten belief that your club can hold its breath. Maybe your club can do it. I’m certainly not saying it can’t. But if you have ever seen a rocket lift off the launchpad, you know the profound amount of fuel needed to push that rocket slowly upward.

In 25 years working with clubs, it has been my observation that a roaringly successful club with a lot of momentum can coast for at least six months…maybe over a year before people begin to suspect that something has changed. During that time, a finance committee member or budget-savvy COO might say, “We cut our marketing, and nothing changed! We should have done this a long time ago.”

When negative momentum inevitably sets in, they begin blaming the competition, the economy and the method by which they were originally marketing in the first place. “The thing we were using no longer works. We’ve got to find the new thing.”

Months pass. Seasons change. Committee members turnover. And now, the club is in danger of being in real trouble.

People stay “reached” like grass stays mowed.

Membership clubs inhale and exhale, expand and contract, just like every other living organism. This fantasy of “holding what you’ve got” springs from the misbegotten belief that your club can hold its breath.

Maybe your club can do it. I’m certainly not saying it can’t.

But if you have ever seen a rocket lift off the launchpad, you know the profound amount of fuel needed to push that rocket slowly upward. Mass and gravity are forbidding, whether you are trying to launch a rocket or a club. Fuel inefficiency during lift-off is just a fact. It’s simple physics.

If you let that rocket begin to fall back to earth, you’ve got to start all over again. BR

MARCH / APRIL 2023 | BOARDROOM 89 Can Anyone With Money Get Into Your “Exclusive” Private Club? If your club isn’t engaging a professional intelligence gathering firm to provide deep, detailed information about your prospective members, you are undoubtedly letting in new members you shouldn’t! Implementing fact-based applicant vetting into your current approach is new to many clubs, but has quickly become the industry best practice. For the first time, clubs can make fully educated membership decisions. Redefining the applicant vetting process. KENNIS WITHOUT KENNIS, THEY LIKELY CAN! Real protection for the club’s reputation Verify candidates are a good fit • No more surprises Reduce dangerous and problematic members Meet the board’s duty of care • Increased safety The world has changed, call us today • 888.318.1480 • Join Us For the Association of Club Catering & Event Professionals (ACCP) National Educational Experience (formerly known as the National Conference) September 10 - 12, 2023 Union League Club, Chicago Lynne LaFond DeLuca, Executive Director of ACCP states “Every meal period, break and even the conference room set-up itself is an opportunity to inspire and educate our attendees on new event ideas, food & beverage offerings and presentation. I love giving them the opportunity to know what it feels like to be on the receiving end of an over-the-top experience. They can then go back and create even better events at their clubs.” EDUCATING THE CLUB INDUSTRY...ONE CATERING DIRECTOR AT A TIME! REGISTRATION IS OPEN ON THE WEBSITE. SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER OR JOIN AS A MEMBER | Lynne LaFond DeLuca |

Skip Avery is director of club development, Stone Group Architects. He can be reached at (608) 335-0342 or via email:


Creating Vibrant Spaces and Stunning Environments

As we navigate a fast-paced world driven by technology that disconnects us more and more each day, our souls long for respite and relaxation - places to breathe and be well.

We seek to bond and create memories with family, friends, colleagues and community. At Stone Group Architects, we understand the need for revitalization in the ever-changing club industry due to a Multi-Cultural and Multi-Generational membership. We focus on creating vibrant spaces and stunning environments that positively impact people and place. From clubhouses to condos, restaurants to fitness centers, and everything in between, we design distinctive facilities that feature firstclass amenities for members looking for an upscale, refreshing experience.

With an intent focus on history and culture, Stone Group Architects’ Division of Club Development works with club leadership to provide

an enhanced member experience -providing members a safe getaway where they can socialize, entertain, do business, play golf and enjoy family. Practicing the art of careful listening, we employ a common-sense project management approach that will help make the best use of your resources and honor your club’s traditions.

From six office locations across the Midwest, Stone Group Architects provides architectural, interior design, and planning services to clients throughout the Nation. As a service-disabled veteran-owned small business, our company culture revolves around commitment to faith, family, country and community. Enthusiasm for that commitment starts with president and CEO, Todd Stone, and radiates throughout the team. Each member is truly dedicated to positively impacting people and place.

Among our dedicated staff is 35-year club industry veteran and CMAA Past President, Skip Avery, CCM, CCE. Serving as division director for the SGA Division of Club Development, Skip brings his vast experience in club management to his new role, along with 10 years of facilitating strategic and facilities planning programs working closely with club leadership. Through the planning process, Skip will also work with the management team on the club’s day-to-day operations to ensure the club provides an overall enhanced member experience. SGA believes it takes the combination of excellent programs, services, and exceptional facilities to provide an outstanding member experience.


As we all navigate a fast-paced world driven by technology that disconnects us more and more each day, our souls long for respite and relaxation - places to breathe and be well. We seek to bond and create memories with family, friends, colleagues and community. At Stone Group Architects, we understand that need for revitalization, and we focus on creating vibrant spaces and stunning environments that positively impact people and place.

Skip Avery // CCM, CCE 608.335.0342

Todd Stone // AIA, NCARB 605.274.2893


5 Things to Consider When Assessing your Club Software

Legacy club technologies have failed to keep up with evolving needs, causing inefficient workflows, over-staffing and a clunky member experience.

If your system needs improving, now is the time to assess your club’s technology. Here’s what to consider:

• Improvement Capacities - Legacy technologies for private clubs are often decades old, slow, and unable to implement changes or feature requests. When vetting providers, be sure they are open to feature requests and integrations, and have the capacity to quickly implement the changes.

• Integrations Work- The private club industry is unique in that customers buy ALL their software from a single vendor. Unfortunately, a single vendor cannot possibly meet the robust needs of each operations center. If a product you use from a legacy provider isn’t cutting it,

find the right solution and request an integration. If you expect operational excellence from your team, ensure they have the right tools for the job.

• Cloud is Here - In most industries, the days of on-premise servers, pen and paper, and redundant data entry are over. On-premise servers limit off-site access, require expensive maintenance, have limited (if any) integration capabilities and place your data at risk. Cloud computing provides data back-up and ensures staff has real-time information at all times.

• Tablets & Mobile - Tablet and mobile-based systems enable staff to manage their operations on the course, at the driving range, or on the courts by eliminating pen and paper from your operations. Untether your staff from the counter to better engage and serve your membership.

• Better Digital Member Experience - Your club’s website and app are crucial to the member experience. Look for web and mobile technologies that provide a seamless membership experience, even when using multiple providers. Don’t get locked into a legacy tech stack with an app provider that doesn’t allow third-party integrations!

There is better, modern technology out there for you. Now is the time to take

Modern Club Operations Software

TECHNOLOGY SHOWCASE COLIN READ L e a r n m o r e a t w h o o s h . i o C o n t a c t h e l l o @ w h o o s h . i o f o r m o r e i n f o r m a t i o n
W h o o s h h a s s o l u t i o n s f o r t h e e n t i r e c l u b
“We’ve been using the Whoosh software for over a year now and it has drastically improved our operations. The software is easy to use and saves my team valuable time on a daily basis so we can focus on our members.”
- Gamon Manne Director of Golf The Country Club
of Louisiana Colin Read is the CEO and co-founder of Whoosh, a modern club operations software company recently recognized as one of the most innovative technologies in the club industry. Colin can be reached at


Get Ready to Cross the Rivers

Do you remember learning about Julius Caesar crossing the river Rubicon in 49 B.C.?

According to some historians, as he crossed, he stated, “alea iacta est,” which loosely translated means “the die is cast.” Over time, Caesar’s utterance has come to mean the passing of a point of no return.

Well, on Nov. 15, 2022, the world crossed another Rubicon. It was on that date that demographers from the United Nations said that the world’s 8 billionth baby was born. The die is again cast.

While no one knows the who, where or specifically when this Rubicon was passed, population scientists believe that the world’s newest citizen was born in the Southern Hemisphere, with most thinking the birth occurred in India. This supports the projection that India will soon overcome China as the most populist country and that there will be a shift in economic power to the Southern Hemisphere.

But it seems as if other Rubicon crossings will affect how we live, work, play, and operate our clubs, too. Take energy, for example, which can simply be defined as the capacity to do work.

Half of a century ago, futurist Alvin Toffler developed a theory called the Third Wave. He speculated that the waves are based on how we can do work – i.e., energy. The first wave was driven by human and animal power, and it was called the agrarian wave. It was followed by the industrial age, based in large part on energy produced by hydrocarbons.

The second wave enabled the industrial era and was based on everything mass – production, markets, education, media, ad infinitum. This often led to centralized management, standardization, sameness (often called “cookie-cutter”), and “a style of organization we call bureaucracy.”

If you adhere to Toffler’s trilogy, the Department of Energy began taking us across another Rubicon when it announced a scientific breakthrough in nuclear fusion, “a major step toward developing a new sustainable form of energy that releases virtually no carbon dioxide or other types of air pollution.”

This discovery is projected to be a major step in the ability to generate large amounts of energy without burning fossil

fuels. While large-scale applications are still years away, the DOE has at least put our toes into that river.

A third Rubicon is somewhat related to that 8 billionth baby. For the first time in history, there are five generations (soon to be six) of club members and, similarly, five generations of our employees now welcoming them – the Greatest, the lesser Silent, the large Baby Boomers, followed by a smaller Generation X, the infamous Millennials, Generation Z, and Generation Alpha, the newest to be named.

This last is the cohort born after 2011 and just beginning to enter the middle grades. And if you have recently been to Orlando’s land of the Mouse, you know they already have an impact on where families go, stay and buy.

But it is Generation Z that is currently commanding our attention. While demographers may disagree as to when Gen Z began, most agree that 1996-1997 was the starting point. Numbering about 68.8 million people, they currently represent about 21 percent of the US population. Sometimes called the Zoomers, the vanguard of this generation is now about 25 or 26 years old. They are leaving college, entering the workforce, and beginning to move up the proverbial corporate ladder. They are also joining clubs. And are our newest set of employees.

The connection between these three Rubicon crossings is technology. I read somewhere that the whole nature of society – i.e., the relationship between people and organizations – is significantly altered by the impact of new technology.

Icebox to refrigerator. Horse-drawn wagon to electric vehicle. Pony express to email. Printed menus to QR codes. Wooden to graphite club shafts. The Hawk-Eye line calling system, high-tech tennis rackets and strings. Form goggles that use digital technology to help swimmers measure their performance in real time. And sensors that are bringing sailing into a new era.

To some degree, people’s lives modify to serve the technology, changing the way they behave, communicate, and interact. For Baby Boomers, it was television; for Generation X, it was the computer; and for Millennials, it was the internet.

But it is Generation Z that is leading the charge across this next river of transformation as it is the first truly digital gen-


eration. By the time they were in their formative years, Wi-Fi and high-band cellular service enabled them to connect to the web on mobile devices anytime and anywhere.

Social media, 24-hour communications and on-demand entertainment were assumed; these were an integral part of the Gen X lifestyle.

So, what does this Zoomer cohort see as the relationship between technology and hospitality? To begin getting a better understanding of how Gen Z thinks about this connection, we surveyed our current hospitality business students in 2022. And naturally, the survey was conducted online.

We used word cloud analysis to visually show us the most used words or phrases from three open-ended questions. This process displays the words or survey responses as a text graphic, with the most common responses represented by the largest text.

The first question asked them to define the word hospitality. The overarching word they used was memorable, followed by beyond and happy. For this generation, memorable might also be interpreted as Instagram-able. Think about how often these members reach for their iPhones to post a picture of that spectacularly plated dessert or a beautiful sunrise rising over the lake by the first tee.

The emergence of these three words reminds us that it is not necessarily enough to just meet expectations; it is imperative to perform beyond them. In his book, “Raving Fans,” Ken Blanchard called it Service+1. This, of course, means that as expectations continue to change, more pressure is put on club GMs/COOs to keep on creating, developing and delivering fresh memorable member experiences that go beyond and make members happy.

Next, we asked our Gen Z how they would describe the hospitality industry. Here, dual themes emerged. The first is innovative and ties in with the need to continually evolve with advances in technology, services, products and, most of all, members’ expectations.

The second theme embodies the people side of the business through the prevalence of the words welcoming, helpful and responsible. We were not surprised that welcoming and helpful were often cited; finding the word responsible was somewhat unexpected.

At its core, a club is in the business of providing the most basic of human needs. Could these Gen Zers be thinking about responsibility to members? To employees? To their communities? Or to all the above. This question is yet to be answered.

Finally, we asked tomorrow’s leaders what they see as the biggest challenges facing the hospitality industry five years from now. Their answers were strong and clear. Technology and engagement

While technologies – from data-driven analytics to robotic caddies – continue to grow, clubs will still have to emphasize people, not technology. This year has been called the year of the customer, but in reality, every year is the year of the customer. Start with personalization, which has been called the key to the customer’s heart.

We have long known that the two most important words in the world are a person’s name. Today’s technology will allow personalization to be better integrated into your club’s marketing and operational plans – everything from displaying the day’s players on a TV screen in the locker room to a personalized birthday call from a favorite celebrity. It all comes down to that “everyone wants their 15 minutes of fame” mantra.

If the post-pandemic world has taught us anything, it is that the club industry cannot be developing a marketing plan aimed at just convincing people to be active club members. The emphasis – indeed, the priority – has shifted toward providing amazing experiences that build loyalty, that command comments via that elusive word-of-finger (no longer just word-of-mouth) and revenues.

It will be Generation Z – the next generation of hospitality leaders – that will lead your club’s charge across the technology Rubicon.

What they see as the main challenges in the future also brings us to a fundamental question of whether technology is a boon or a bane for our hospitality industry and for our clubs. Only time will tell. Club managers will have to put their hip waders on to wade across these Rubicon rivers along with those that lie ahead.

Your bottom line will thank you. BR

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

Dr. Michael McCall is a professor and the Hilton Hotels Fellow in Hospitality Management at Michigan State University. He can be reached at:

Jim Anhut is a former hospitality executive rewired as director of the real estate minor at Michigan State University.


Kevin Reilly A Lifetime of Club Industry Achievements

When BoardRoom magazine asked me to put together some thoughts on Kevin Reilly receiving the magazine’s Lifetime Achievement Award, I admit that I actually thought it was a joke. No, not because I didn’t think he deserved the award, but because, well, how could he not have already received it?!

This is 2023, after all, and Kevin was already one of the foremost authorities on club financial matters when I first met him way back in the spring of 1991 when we were both at Pannell Kerr Forster. I simply cannot remember a time when Kevin didn’t seem at the forefront of club industry matters, whether on a local, regional or national level.

You cannot have been involved with clubs for any length of time and not have an appreciation for the levels of dedication that Kevin has shown to our industry.

As an Irishman just off the boat when that spring introduction occurred, I had no idea the impact that this fellow “mick” would have on my career. To adhere to Irish stereotypes, one of my seminal memories of working with Kevin took place in a bar.

Even though I had been working with Kevin on club clients for quite a few years, it wasn’t until an incident at my first CMAA World Conference that I believed the “hype” – that he really was as big a deal as our clients had always told me. Returning from a chapter dinner, Kevin persuaded me pretty quickly that we needed to take a tour of the hotel bar before retiring for the evening.

Clearly, this sounds like the setup line for an old joke: ”Two Irish accountants walk into a bar …” An hour later, though, I was not amused as I still had no drink in hand because everyone, it seemed to me, in the place wanted to talk to Kevin. I mean, it was bordering on ridiculous, but I knew my place, so I got the beers myself. I doubt Kevin remembers that evening as I know it was just one of many for him, but for me it was inspirational: I got to see a level of recognition and appreciation from industry veterans that I knew I wanted to try and achieve.

It seemed to me therefore that the best way to pay tribute to my friend is not to list his numerous achievements and awards but rather to let those same industry veterans explain what Kevin means to them.


It has been a pleasure to know and work with Kevin for over 40 years starting when he was in the Houston PKF office. Kevin has remained a valued industry resource for best practices, financial leadership and association support. At The Country Club, we relied on Kevin heavily regarding financial positioning for our major golf championships. At the National Club Association, Kevin served in several capacities while I was on the board, and he was the voice of reason and respect for many challenges. His influence in our industry and upon our professionals has been extraordinary.

I have had the distinct pleasure to work with and know Kevin in a variety of capacities throughout my career in private club management. He is an accomplished presenter and educator, a tireless local and national industry association board member, our club’s auditor, and a professional colleague and friend. Kevin’s enthusiasm for our profession is infectious. Whether on the golf course, enjoying a glass of wine, or helping inform a room full of club board members, it is evident that he loves what he does, and that he has poured his life into the club profession.

While he has provided our club with technical guidance in a professional capacity, it was often his views on the industry as a whole and his insights into the inner workings of clubs large and small that most reassured our volunteer leadership that our club was moving in the right direction. His ability to speak equally about matters of law and accounting coupled with a sense of humor always appropriate for the setting put his clients at ease and allowed even those less sophisticated in financial matters to feel as if they grasped the concept he was explaining.

This is a true gift. This recognition from BoardRoom is richly deserved and represents the culmination of a career that has spanned decades, and one that has positively influenced the successful operations of clubs and club industry professional organizations across the United States.

All the best,

Kevin has always been the ‘go-to guy’ when me or my controller have questions or issues related to club finances. Kevin is a resource regardless of whether his firm performs our internal audits, which they currently do. He gives this same support to the club industry as a whole. His vast knowledge, willingness to help, and unconditional support are clear determinants for the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from BoardRoom magazine

And so there we have it – testimonials of excellence in his chosen field from some of the best-known names in our business. I guess I could follow suit and wrap this piece up with some similar comments, but I’ve known Kevin too long and too closely to leave it there. You can’t say you really know Kevin Reilly if you don’t know that his incredible dedication to our industry pales in comparison to his dedication to family. Family always has been and always will be paramount to Kevin.

Around 2004, when I had to spend many hours, weeks and months traveling back and forward to Ireland to take care of my ailing mother, Kevin Reilly, my partner, never wavered in his support for me and my family. This is the Kevin that I think of first and foremost. If we don’t have family to reflect on as a measure of a lifetime of achievement, then what have we really achieved?

Caoimhín - Sláinte agus go raibh maith agat.

Translation: Irish phrase literally meaning May you have goodness and another way to say “Thank you.” – Phil BR

Philip G. Newman, CPA, CIA, CGFM is a partner with RSM US LLP and a longtime colleague of Kevin Reilly.


‘Insider Podcast’ Builds Community at Houston Racquet Club

The “Insider Podcast” was meant to be a new, creative way for the management and staff of the Houston Racquet Club in Houston, TX, to communicate.

After club members learned about the podcast, they also got access to it.

Thomas Preuml, the club’s chief operating officer, said that sharing the podcast with members was the “best decision ever.” Members love hearing about the lives and backgrounds of the staff.

Paul Peacock, a past club president, has listened to every episode since the podcast began in March 2019.

He said: “Employees at HRC are very special. Many have been around for a very long time. The employee podcasts are very professionally produced and well thought out. They give me, and all members, the ability to know more about their families, hobbies, education, etc. It’s the additional knowledge that makes the member and employee relationships so personal.”

Each podcast episode highlights an “HRC Insider Rock Star,” an employee who goes beyond to provide members with memorable experiences.

Sicily McCambridge, the director of recreation, meets with the employee before the podcast and provides a script. McCambridge and Preuml then interview the guest.

“One of our rock stars shared with me that she feels that the podcast provides a deeper sense of community,” Preuml said.

Each episode also includes a segment by a professional speaker about a life topic. Preuml provides a brief update on facility improvements and operations, mentions work anniversaries and reads member feedback, which usually mentions employees by name and the extraordinary service they provided. McCambridge lists upcoming events

Listeners get a new episode once a month (on a Friday morning) via the HRC app.

“We have podcast breakfast parties on the day each podcast airs,” Preuml said about the staff. “They love each other’s company during what we call the ‘HRC Insider Podcast Listening Party’ and hearing about their team

members in other departments that they don’t get to interact with regularly.”

Preuml and McCambridge have recorded special episodes when the occasion has called for something extra.

In one, staff and members shared what they loved about a popular employee who passed away unexpectedly. In another, they paid tribute to an employee who was retiring.

The idea for the podcast originated from a conversation Preuml had with a friend who has a podcast studio.

The club’s then-director of communications was the point person and assisted with the setup, buying and setting up microphones, headphones and software. Preuml’s office became the recording studio. BR


Chryssoula Filippakopoulos is the copy editor and Innovative Ideas editor with BoardRoom magazine. She was a newspaper reporter for more than eight years and worked as a marketing and communications specialist for 16 years. he is a graduate of the School of Journalism at Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University) in Toronto, ON.

If you have an Innovative Idea you’d like to submit, please send them to

Members Reserve Skate Times at Army Navy Country Club

Back in January 2021, Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, VA, wanted to provide its members with an activity that would give them a reason to visit the club with their families safely.

Unfortunately, it was a typically quiet time of the year that would probably be slower than normal because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

So, the tennis court and patio became the setting for Skate on the Patio.

Members and their families made reservations to skate six days a week, eight hours a day, including at night under the lights, on a synthetic ice rink that covered the tennis court.

Skating fees and skate rental fees covered the rink costs.

The rink was so popular, with families returning multiple times, that the club, which had planned to host Skate on the Patio for two weeks, kept it open for a third week.

On the patio, the club placed fire pits, heaters, and comfortable seating for family groups.

It offered après-skate hot drinks and snacks.

“Skate on the Patio was a huge success for the club, giving members an outdoor winter activity when they were unsure about how to use their club,” said Andrew Welch,

the director of clubhouse operations.

The banquet management team took the lead in organizing Skate on the Patio, which had strict capacity limits.

“Employees supported the concept as it provided them a source of employment during the height of the pandemic,” Welch said. “Restaurant revenues increased by 30 percent over the prior year, with members dining before and after skating,” he added.

Building on the first year’s success, the club has offered Skate on the Patio for the past two winters, expanding it to four weeks.

“Skate on the Patio is amazing. The members love it, and they appreciate having something to do during the winter,” said Alba Palencia, manager of the club’s Stars & Stripes quick-serve restaurant.

“Like many clubs in the colder climates, our business slows down significantly during the winter months,” Welch said. “Skate on the Patio is one way we keep the club foremost in members’ minds by providing them with an opportunity to use the club at a time when they might not otherwise have done so.” BR


Gregg Patterson is founder and president of Tribal Magic. He can be reached via email:



Directors, managers, supervisors and staff, to do what they do well, need to be masters of talk. Huh?

We’ve all seen people who do talk well. The committee member whose back-and-forth banter before a committee meeting loosens everyone up, gets people engaged, inspires conversation and spurs participation.

We’ve all seen people who do talk poorly. The chairman who, once the meeting begins, commences to lecture the committee members, cuts off responses, dismisses questions, stumbles and mumbles, deadens the mood, chokes off discussion and kills the spirit of participation ignited during cocktails.

We’ve all experienced the dreadfully boring classroom where interactive talk is an alien creature. The lecturer, thinking that her pontificating is stimulating and engaging, goes on and on for hours on end reading from the slideshow presentation, oblivious to the yawns in the front row, the text messaging in the middle rows and the banter back and forth in the back row, believing in her obliviousness that real students should listen and absorb and keep their thoughts to themselves.

Committee members, chairmen and presidents–and supervisors, managers and trainers–will do what they do better when they believe in talk and understand their role as stimulants of talk.

Right talk is all about engaging people, asking questions, getting the hesitant to speak, listening to answers, reading body language, expanding on answers, asking follow-up questions, keeping the dialogue going and the “facilitated” speaking.

Talkers are the askers of questions, the sustainers of conversation. Talkers know that listeners want to be talkers, the focus of attention, part of the conversation, a participant in “the answer,” engaged in “the verbal embrace.”

Talkers know “people.” They understand that people are screaming for engagement. Make me comfortable! Engage me! Draw on my ideas and experience! Listen to my message! Embrace me with a question!

Talkers are “active listeners.” They read between the lines, make sense of jumbled answers, clarify what was said and craft their response and follow-up questions to stimulate further comment. Active listening is an art form, an organic rather than a linear process, vague but directed and talkers know how it’s done.

Talkers are masters of “process,” of the two-way discussion, the Socratic method, the give and take of an engaging conversation. They’re the catalysts for initiating, accelerating and sustaining the dialogue.

And clubs that focus on talk and have talkers who stimulate conversation win.


Clubdom can learn from those who do talk well. A minister, rabbi or priest is a master of the art of question and response, guiding with questions, purging demons, pointing out “the path.” Marketing professionals, management consultants, headhunters, maitre d’s, reporters, psychologists, party planners, marriage counselors and executive coaches probe others with questions, expand on the answers, then ask more questions once the answers are given. Those who master talk engage others and move them toward the answers they need to achieve personal or professional success.

Club managers are blessed because they wear many hats, encounter a myriad of talk opportunities and must use, at different times, all of the talk gifts learned from others. Club managers are generalists who know that the well-asked question, the amplified response and the guided follow-up question, in whatever role they’re playing, work to engage others, to inspire their contribution and build a better product from disparate and seemingly unrelated parts.

Great managers wear many hats. Each requires talk. Here’s how.


Talkers need a “talker toolbox” filled with principles and practices. Here are the basics.

Belief in talk leadership: Talkers know the first principle of talk–he who guides the conversation, leads. Questions have power. Knowledge is question-driven. Ideas surface through dialogue. He who asks, leads.

Belief in the power of collective intelligence: Talkers believe that the more questions posed and the more people asked, the better the outcome. Toss out enough questions to enough people, keep the conversation popping and the ideas will flow.

Belief in the enfranchisement mindset: Talkers believe that the people who are impacted by decisions should be asked to comment before decisions are made. They believe listeners should feel “enfranchised,” that their vote counts, that they’re engaged in the decision-making process even if The Impacted know the final decision, the hard choice will be made not by them but by The Cheese-In-Charge. Talkers know people will commit to an outcome when they’re part of the process and will contribute more ideas with more insight and enthusiasm to future decisions.

A catalytic personality: People rarely “open up” without a prod and a poke. A catalyst is needed. Talkers accept the need and responsibility for “doing catalyst.” They start, direct and sustain conversations and look forward to the opportunity to do so.

Social enthusiasm: Talkers enjoy the company of others. They smile, laugh, reach out the conversational hand. They


show the love. They empathize. Talkers must be interesting enough to attract others to the conversation. People who are good with people are often good with talk.

Other focused: Talkers make those they talk to the focus of conversation. They use their own conversational “spark” to ignite others and to focus the discussion on the talker’s response.

Asker of questions: Talkers must be genuinely curious about a broad range of subjects. They ask lots of “whys” and “how comes” and “what ifs” and “have you considered this.”

Thin slicer of questions: Talkers know that broad-brush questions can be tough to answer and difficult to use. They hone down your questions so that they can be easily understood. They might open the conversation by asking, “Did you like the meal?” but follow up quickly with “Did you enjoy the freshly baked bread and the dishwasher-churned high-fat, high-salt butter?”

Validate answers: Talkers affirm the answers of those who have answered. They weave “foolishness” into “usefulness.”

Conversant in issues outside of clubdom: Great talkers can carry on a conversation with anyone–corporate bigwigs, college professors, delivery men. They can do so because they read lots, travel lots, watch lots and talk lots to lots of different people.

Does the homework: Talkers have to know their stuff. They’re prepared for the meeting, the forum, the “encounter opportunity.” They know writing prepares–white papers, annotated agendas, weekly board updates, newsletters. They know talking prepares–with chairmen, with staff, with professional peers. They’re ready to lead the conversation because they’ve mastered the facts.

Parable-izer: Talkers can spin the stories told by those they’re talking to into a “life-learning lesson” and an insight into the universal human or organizational condition. They make from the “every day” a universal parable.

Overcome the pregnant pause: Talkers know that most people can’t sustain a conversation, that they’ll answer questions monosyllabically and then hush up. Talkers know the pause is coming and are ready to jump in at the first sign of silence.

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Gordon Welch, president of the Association of Private Club Directors, 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 orientation, you can reach me at or (918) 914-9050

Have You Had Your Orientation?

If you have not experienced your club’s orientation, you need to stop reading this and ask your GM why.

Depending on when your board changes, if you have not had your orientation, you are already behind. I say this because most clubs transfer power to new leadership in February, March and April.

The good news is it’s not too late, but it is necessary. A thorough orientation is beneficial for many reasons.

It is an initiation to board service; an introduction to the organization, its mission and programs; a clarification of future time and financial demands; an opportunity to get to know other team members; and a chance to form an educated foundation for the coming years serving on the board.

Orientation is a chance to speed up the learning curve of new board members and get them quickly engaged in the board’s direction and activities. It ensures that every member functions within the same framework and with the same directives. Orientation benefits the board, as a team, by providing an official launch for new collaborations and relationships.

Some boards organize a full retreat — lasting several hours to more than an entire day — to cover all aspects of orientation. This approach may be too demanding for some boards whose members are spread thin and attend regular board meetings. Additionally, for any board, it may be information overload in too short a time.

Poor club culture and inadequate leadership won’t make a private club the leading hospitality business in town. So, no one raises the bar, and that’s why so many clubs are still doing things the “old” way they always have … the status quo. Collaborative governance, on the other hand, has everyone involved in raising the bar.

Collaborative governance and teamwork are why we developed Boardroom Institute. BRI is a world-class interactive experience. It offers a good online orientation to club issues and processes. It explains the board’s fiduciary responsibility, conflict of interest, ethics, sexual harassment, the cost of micromanaging, collaborative governance and much more.

The club’s volunteer leadership (the president and the board) and its paid leadership (the general manager) are responsible for the mission, vision and values. They are the keepers of these requirements. They must articulate them, continuously champion them and, if necessary, police and enforce them.

Our multimillion-dollar system will deliver, track and measure your board’s knowledge and understanding of board members’ volunteer roles.

I hope your club has board orientation. It is so important. We also offer in-person orientations. While in-person orientations are a fantastic way to provide an orientation, our platform allows board members to refer to ideas on how boards work, what their role is and isn’t and when they are overstepping their boundaries.

Both volunteer leaders and paid managers need role clarity. They require policies and procedures that allow everybody in the organization to focus on what they need and to know where and what checks and balances are in place.

Private clubs that consider the power of the club’s culture, core values, mission and vision, and know what it takes to manage through a strategic planning process and a business plan with a strong system of accountability through a strong collaborative governance system are geared to the future.

It is essential to have an organized and efficient orientation. Boardroom Institute is the only online orientation that delivers, tracks and measures your board’s knowledge. Let me know how we can help you sleep better at night knowing your board understands its role in collaborative governance. BR


should refrain from sharing thoughts and ask for the reporter’s name and follow-up information and politely say, “I will make sure our GM gets this.”

As general manager, it’s up to you to respond. Before doing this, you need to have your assistant ask for the reporter’s deadline, what they are calling about, and the best email for you to reach them. Once you have this information, get back to them with your holding statement before their deadline.

Your statement should address what happened, what you did to remedy it and how you will ensure it does not happen again. You may not always have that information, so it’s all right to say what you know and deflect it to local authorities who may be investigating further. This approach shows that you are transparent, keeps the media from continuously calling you and avoids the negative feelings associated with no comment.

Remember, no one ever thinks a crisis will happen at their club, but it’s not if … it’s when. BR

it fully factors in meaningful points that are all relative to getting it right.

Approving an across-the-board percent increase is nonsensical when applied in a vacuum. For instance, what sense does it make to apply a cost-of-living index percentage to a base number that is already too high, or way too low, to start with?

Approving percentage increases without first knowing what they are being applied to makes zero sense. Things can get hot if bad decisions are made.


Take the time to fully digest every detail of the universal compensation guide provided here. You will note that

they do fellow members. Some aspiring “leaders” are discourteous, dismissive or condescending toward management staff. Observe candidates’ interactions with key staff. This is a canary in the coal mine for how candidates may conduct themselves as club leaders.

5. Systemize the succession plan with real-life conditions. Welch, the consummate planner, did not develop a broad-based system for selecting his successor. Don’t make the same mistake. Carefully prepare a process you intend to follow when developing your succession plan. Bear in mind that this is one of the most important responsibilities in your service to the club. Integrate the steps

There are four fixed overall performance levels where every individual employee will find a home. And, to the left of each, is a variable percentage range that can be adjusted to reflect your specific situation.

(IMPORTANT: The percentages shown here are for illustrative purposes only to convey the concept. In direct response to the current demand/supply of talented and valued staff … you may find that far greater increases are necessary. But don’t lose sight of the concept.)

On page 76, the five firewalls that negate any blanket approaches to getting employee compensation right are listed. BR

described here within the process you establish. Develop a flexible timeline that does not force you into rushed decisions and keeps you on task.

Before considering any individuals or naming anyone in particular, focus on selection criteria by asking yourself:

• What qualities will the club require from its next leaders?

• What toxic qualities must you avoid for the good of the club?

• How should you articulate the selection criteria to those who want to understand?

One of the most critical functions of servant leadership is selecting a successor. Be deliberate and get it right. Don’t go to your grave, as Welch seems to have done, regretting your choice of successor BR

talk quicker than a “faux you” that’s insincere, forced or fabricated. Fun stuff.

I care body language: Talkers give body signals that tell The Facilitated that what The Facilitated are saying matters. When others are speaking they sit up, listen, make eye contact, nod and take notes.

Focused on the goal: Talkers have a goal in mind when they ask a question. Although the conversational avenue is wide, it does have fences, and talkers know how to cut off “the wandering answer,” to maintain the “conversational boundaries” without cramping the discussion.

Be you. Talkers know that everyone’s style is different and that all of them can work if they’re delivered with sincerity. They know that talkers need to be themselves, genuine and authentic. They understand that nothing shuts down good


Everyone “does talk” whether consciously or not. Doing it well enhances “you” as manager, president, committee chair, consultant, counselor, supervisor, marketer, husband or wife.

There are no shortcuts to becoming a great talker. The principles are easy to master. Be conscious of the need. Know the tools. Know the boo-boos. Know how to reflect on the facilitating you do. Teach it to others. And keep at it.

Talk’ing is a joy and a productive tool for the club professional.

So start talk’ing. And enjoy the journey. BR

from Communication Committee | 74 from Finance Committee | 76 from Club Governance | 79 from Tribal Magic | 99

Five and five: Take 5 at 5, or five minutes at the end of your day and look at the schedule for tomorrow – review the tee sheet, the weather, the needs and make those experience or labor-saving tweaks. It has been said that “no individual raindrop considers itself responsible for the flood.” But little by little, adjustment by adjustment, tweak by tweak, those labor management raindrops can turn into a flood of savings or resources for reallocation.

from Green Committee |

assistant and get a head start on any aspirations to become a superintendent.

The Assistant Superintendent Certificate Series is composed of certificates covering key competency areas:

• Agronomy

• Business

• Leadership and communications (apply this certificate toward earning CGCS)

• Environmental stewardship.

The certificates are golf-centric, available to GCSAA members and non-members, and can be completed in any order.

Certified Turf Equipment Manager: The Certified Turf Equipment Manager designation is the highest recognition that can be achieved by turf equipment management professionals. This program was initiated in the spring of 2022.

“The CTEM process inspired me to push myself to be not only a better equipment manager but also to be a better leader,” said Bryan Epland, CTEM, equipment manager at ArborLinks Golf Course in Nebraska City, NE.

May I encourage all to reconsider our approach to managing the millions with which we have been entrusted. May we engage our managers to herald this responsibility as a higher priority. May we recognize the need to revisit our scheduling practices and look for the little raindrops that will collectively flood our P&L with savings that can be reallocated to areas of need. BR

“It was extremely rewarding knowing that I have what it takes to be a success in this industry. It took completing the CTEM program for me to realize that, not to mention how easy it became to network with other equipment managers both locally and internationally.”

To be eligible for the CTEM program, a person must complete levels 1 and 2 of the Equipment Management Certificate Program.

Equipment Management Certificate Program: The Equipment Management Certificate Program is a multi-level program that elevates career paths toward becoming a CTEM, with each level a prerequisite for the next.

Level 1 equipment manager certification exams cover competency areas, including cutting units, drivetrain systems, electrical systems, engine technology, hydraulic systems, metalworking and fabrication, spray systems and fundamentals of turfgrass operations.

Level 2 adds administrative management and best management practices to higher levels of the Level 1 categories. BR

• Wetlands adjacent to the above

Coalition for a rule that provides the clarity and certainty essential for predictable and efficient permitting, the final rule relies on vague terms, making it difficult for any business or individual trying to comply with the Clean Water Act.

In addition, the new rule comes at a time when the Supreme Court is weighing the scope of the CWA in the case of Sackett v. EPA. A ruling in the Sackett case could render irrelevant significant elements of this WOTUS rule, creating even more confusion for landowners and businesses throughout the country.

A Clean Water Act permit (for certain activities) will be necessary to obtain if a landowner’s property contains any of the following jurisdictional waters as defined under the final rule:

• Traditional navigable waters, territorial seas, and interstate waters, including wetlands

• Impoundments of waters

• Natural, modified or constructed tributaries of the above two features, including rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, and impoundments that flow into these

• Intrastate lakes and ponds, streams or wetlands not previously identified.

The final rule excludes certain features commonly found at clubs and courses that contain water including:

• Ditches (including roadside ditches) excavated wholly in and draining only dry land and that do not carry a relatively permanent flow of water

• Artificially irrigated areas that would revert to dry land if the irrigation ceased

• Artificial lakes or ponds created by excavating or diking dry land to collect and retain water and which are used exclusively for such purposes as stock watering, irrigation, settling basins, or rice growing

• Artificial reflecting or swimming pools or other small ornamental bodies of water created by excavating or diking dry land to retain water for primarily aesthetic reasons

• Swales and erosional features (e.g., gullies, small washes) characterized by low volume, infrequent or short duration flow.

The new rule will become effective on March 20. BR

50 from Executive Committee | 34 from Legislative Committee | 68

Dysfunctional Characters Often Sit at the Board Table

The character types described below are from “20 Dysfunctional Board Member Character Types,” by Eileen Johnson, Whiteford, Taylor & Preston, LLP.


Dictator — The Chair as Dictator does not believe in seeking advice or input from fellow board members, staff or consultants because s/he knows what is best for the nonprofit and will take action and then (sometimes) report to the board what has been decided or done. Board members are not allowed to express dissenting views and may be rewarded with or stripped of committee assignments or leadership positions depending on the whim of the Dictator.

King/Queen — The Chair as King or Queen will seek advice or input from fellow board members, staff or consultants and then make a pronouncement as to what will be done. Discussion among the board is “encouraged” but only up to a point. The remaining members of the board play the role of “counselors in waiting.”

Machiavelli — The Chair as Machiavelli is a strategist. You never can tell what the Chair is thinking or planning. S/he will consistently tell each and every member of the board members what they want to hear to gain their cooperation. S/ he will occasionally pull the rug out from under members who have signed on as supporters. Board meeting discussions wander and often seem to be going nowhere until the Chair pronounces the “result” of the discussion. There is often a power play in the works, with the chair’s trusted spies and lieutenants deployed to plant information, secure support and report back.

Playwright — The Chair as the Playwright scripts out every possible scenario before the board meeting and assigns roles to those selected “players” on the board who can be counted on to play their roles and speak their lines. The Playwright sometimes becomes the Director when board members forget their lines or digress but s/he is fast on her feet and gets them all back on script. Committee chairs and officers are well rehearsed before they assume their duties and they frequently check in with the Playwright to ensure they are sticking to the script.


ED or CEO Wannabe — The ED Wannabe wants the Executive Director’s or CEO’s job; she takes every opportunity to tell the chief paid staff member and the board that the ED is ineffective. S/he undercuts the ED with the rest of the board by comments and suggestive remarks that cast doubt about the ED’s capabilities and performance without actually leveling any concrete charges or producing any evidence of poor performance.

“The individuals on a dysfunctional board involve themselves in the departmental goals and operation when that’s the sole responsibility of the GM. Dysfunctional boards usually mean the chain of command is not being followed and there is no accountability, which is very disruptive between the GM and their department heads,” Wallace expressed.

Wallace also suggests it has far-reaching effects on other aspects of the club’s operation, including member experience, employees, finances, liability issues, strategic planning etc.

Member experience: Dysfunctional boards tend to be without a strategic plan, a clear vision and a mission for the future. Without these important elements, clubs become somewhat rudderless, which leads to an inconsistent member experience. Without a strategy, the club probably isn’t surveying members, and if they aren’t surveying members, the board probably doesn’t know how members really feel about the member experience. And if the club has no uniform way of knowing how the members feel, they can’t fix anything or manage member expectations appropriately.

Employees: Dysfunctional boards mean they aren’t focusing on the employee experience. Without a vision and strategic plan, there is likely no clear direction which can confuse employees. In addition, there probably is no strategy around human capital which means the club won’t be able to attract and retain the best and brightest staff.

Finances: This is probably the biggest risk for a club with a dysfunctional board. Without a cohesive board making decisions based on data, decisions are based on opinions and emotions. When there’s no uniform board, they tend to be afraid to make tough decisions that set the club up for a successful future.

Liability issues: One of the things that always surprises me is how little members

from Publisher’s Perspective | 10 106 BOARDROOM | MARCH / APRIL 2023

know about what they are responsible for at a club. Indeed, if the board is dysfunctional, they are not paying attention to the three most important duties: duty of care, duty of loyalty and duty of obedience. I have never seen a dysfunctional board taking care of those duties. And poor decisions that are made which affect the member or employee experience tend to fall into one of those three categories.

Strategic planning: Dysfunctional boards don’t like to be fenced in by strategic plans. They tend to be haphazard about capital funds, and here capital dollars are spent because they don’t operate with a strategic plan or master goals. The number one thing a strategic plan does is drive accountability across the organization and dysfunctional boards don’t want accountability.

Productivity: A dysfunctional board means the committees are also dysfunctional. Instead of the committees doing work for the GM, they are likely creating more work for the GM. This impacts the productivity of all the layers of the organization. A great board sets the goals for the committees with the GM. The GM sets the goals for the department heads and the board sets the goals for the GM. When there is dysfunction, everyone makes up whatever they think is most important and it is very frustrating and debilitating for the staff.

Philip Harvey, principal with Preferred Club Insurance Program, says, “After spending 33 years in the private club industry as a specialty insurance provider, I’m often amazed and taken back when this rhetorical question is posed: ‘Where is there risk in the club industry?’”

Harvey answered the question himself.

“Exposures exist in all club areas, from property to third-party liability issues. However, the most complicated and overall damaging exposure to a club is because of boardroom dysfunction. In today’s day and age, it seems inappropriate and unacceptable to allow such dysfunction, especially in the modern club environment,” Harvey added.

“True signs of disenchantment with club boards normally involve the board members not carrying out their duties and promises as they were elected to perform. Some of the responsibilities experiencing a breach in true governance include:

• Lack of confidentiality

• Conflicting agendas

• Lack of order

• Lack of respect

• Hostile environment

• Secret meetings

• Personal and political agendas

• Lack of trust

• Dominating members


People & Teams Celebrated As “The Best” Will Tell You They Trained Every. Single. Day.

“Your two-day food & beverage training program was on-point and directly addressed our needs. My team not only enjoyed the program, but did in fact learn much! Our dining room Member Service Experience will in no doubt, be enhanced due to your time with us!” Peter Cizdziel, PGA, CCM, CAM,


Skeptic — The Skeptic doubts any statement made or report received from staff or consultants; he questions the mission statement, the vision and values document, the strategic plan, and all programs and budgets—not in a constructive way but with snide comments and cutting remarks. Anything done by a prior board is suspect. The Skeptic will sometimes abstain from key votes to avoid being on record. Doing so makes it easier for the Skeptic to later criticize board decisions.

Expert — The Expert tells her fellow directors how to do their jobs. She has an opinion on everything and is always the first one to speak up and express her views on any subject. She frequently dominates the discussion at board meetings and is quick to dismiss other directors’ comments or opinions.

Bomber — The Bomber likes to throw a bomb during a board meeting and then sit back and watch what happens, delighting in the confusion that ensures. His goal is to not only disrupt the meeting but the board itself. Sometimes the reasons for the “bomb” are not apparent but in some cases it’s because he wants to discredit other directors (most likely the chair).

White Rabbit — The White Rabbit is always late for board and committee meetings and generally fails to complete assigned tasks. She is always seems so busy that her fellow directors assume she must be doing something useful and of value to the nonprofit but no one really knows what that is. The White Rabbit can lead the board down various dead-end paths.

Big Daddy — Big Daddy is so well known in his home town (or state or region) that he has a rather inflated sense of his own importance. He shoots his mouth off whether the comments are pertinent or not and may need to step out of board meetings for important calls. He’ll make sure everyone know when and why he has to step away. Big Daddy’s mobile phone is the MOST likely to ring during a board meeting.

Absentia — Absentia doesn’t make much of an impression on his fellow board members because he’s never there. Although he sometimes signs onto conference calls no one can tell if he’s dropped off. He won’t give up his seat, there are no term limits, and for some reason he keeps getting re-elected.

Historian — The Historian has been around since the beginning of time and claims to recall every board decision as if it were made yesterday. The Historian can (and will) tell you why every new idea was tried before with disastrous results. She is the only member who tracks all of the unwritten procedures and policies of the nonprofit and can frequently be overheard saying “that’s not how we do it,” or “we’ve always done it this way,” or “we tried that before and it didn’t work.” BR

Eileen Morgan Johnson is Counsel at Whiteford, Taylor & Preston, LLP and welcomes your feedback on this article. Eileen can be reached at (703) 280-9271 or Used with Permission from Eileen Morgan Johnson, Esq. First published by the Nonprofit Risk Management Center.

from Dysfunctional Characters | 106

“The board’s actions or lack of actions truly affect the member experience, ultimately resulting in disenchantment, ill will, bad karma and a financial loss of the club,” Harvey espoused.

So, to be more specific, how does a dysfunctional board affect a club’s member experience or employees? Jim Butler, CEO, Club Benchmarking, a premier industry consulting firm, breaks the dysfunction down into much greater detail.

Member experience: a dysfunctional board can impact member experience by focusing too much effort on trying to control costs. Similarly, boards that attempt to treat amenities (such as Food & Beverage) as profit centers also do so to the detriment of member experience. A primary obligation of a private club board is to maximize the member experience.

Employees: Especially in the current environment, retaining experienced employees is a critical tool in efforts to deliver a compelling member experience. Employees have plenty of options in or out of the club world. Dysfunctional boards do not focus on training, fairly compensating employees, or ensuring that employees are valued and treated with respect. In these cases, turnover will be inevitable and unsustainable.

Finances: In their 2023 Club Governance Survey Report, authors Joe Abely and Dave Duval noted “knowledge gaps”, which were evident in responses from both board members and general managers. The gaps appear in the form of “Not Sure” or “I Don’t Know” responses to questions addressing critical areas of club operations, finances and general practices requisite for effective governance and management.

The survey also identified numerous instances of board member responses to important financial questions that were, upon further analysis, contradicted by the club’s actual financial data. This lack of knowledge can lead to dysfunction in the boardroom, most often because of poor capital planning and failure to invest appropriately in the facility. Over time, the result is deferred maintenance, which ultimately erodes the member experience and diminishes the club’s ability to attract new members.

Liability issues: Board members have a Duty of Care, which includes ensuring the club complies in areas such as HR, payroll and benefits or potential conflicts of interest. Non-compliance by a dysfunctional board exposes the club to liability risk with negative financial Implications for the club and possibly the directors individually and damage to the club’s reputation with current and future members.

Strategic planning: Healthy boards understand the importance of maintaining a strategic plan that is fully funded, clearly communicated to the membership and grounded in member input via surveys and focus groups. Dysfunctional boards operating outside those criteria undermine the long-term viability of a club.

Collaboration between the board, general manager and senior staff: Dysfunctional boards spend an inordinate amount of time delving into operational issues Instead of allowing the general manager and the staff to run dayto-day operations. This leads to confusion and dissatisfaction for the staff and contributes to increased employee turnover, negatively impacting the member experience. On the other hand, functional boards spend 65-70 percent of their time focused on forward-looking planning and strategy and allow management to manage club operations subject to budgets and goals.

In Part II of this series, we look at the long-term effects of a dysfunctional board and then map out the road to success.

At least, that’s the way I see it. BR


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from Publisher’s Perspective | 107 MARCH / APRIL 2023 | BOARDROOM 109 (561)281-0459 •
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Richard (Dick) M. Kopplin, CMAA Fellow, is a partner with Kopplin, Kuebler and Wallace, a private club industry executive search and consulting firm. You can reach Dick via email:


Empowerment The Key to a General Manager’s Shorter Workweek!

Early on in my club management career, I was fortunate to benefit from the wisdom of a club board member who was a very successful business consultant.

Dr. McDonald (a PhD in industrial psychology) gave me the key to balancing my work and personal life and it was perhaps the best advice I’ve ever received as a club manager.

He told me it’s all about one word: Empowerment. Most of us have heard that concept bandied about for many years, but I, for one, didn’t exactly know how to begin. Then it happened.

One of my new board members told me that his son had a company that provided a better system for washing dishes than anything else on the market. We had been using Eco Labs for their service and products for many years and were quite satisfied with the results and our relationship with the company. I agreed, however, to meet with his son to evaluate the merits of this “new and better system” for washing dishes.

When his son, Chris, arrived at my office for his appointment, I had Tim, our dish room manager, join us for the discussion. I then explained to Chris that he and Tim should spend some time in the kitchen dish room to review what he was proposing and how it would be an improvement over our current system. Chris asked if I would also view the presentation and I told him no, that Tim was our dish room manager and he would make the decision.

After saying that, I noticed that Tim was sitting up a little higher because of that assignment of responsibility. (Tim had been at the club for a few years and I compensated him at the level of a club sous chef because I viewed him as that valuable to our kitchen team.)

The next morning Tim walked into my office with the brochure and proposal Chris had left him and I could see that Tim had made a significant number of notes. He told me he had studied the proposal at home for a couple of hours and his recommendation to me was that we continue with our current vendor. I thanked him for his thorough review and told him I concurred with his decision.

When I called Chris to inform him of our decision, he became a little irate and said he would be sharing his experience with his father who was on our board and happened to be the house committee chairperson.

A few days later at our monthly board meeting Chris’s father took some time to inform the entire board that “Kopplin was allowing a dishwasher to make a major capital decision and he wanted to know why I would give a line employee that much authority.”

Before I could give my explanation the club president, Mr. Haik, responded.

“I think everyone on this board knows that Dick Kopplin is our general manager and he has our complete support when it comes to club operations. I have noticed that Dick will empower, not only his department managers but other

employees to make decisions, often with his guidance, but understanding that the employee needs to own the outcome. I happen to think it is a great leadership philosophy and it has obviously served our club well. Subject closed. Next topic,” he said.

While Mr. Haik was affirming his confidence in my management, I noticed that Dr. McDonald was smiling his approval and I’m sure he would have jumped into the discussion if needed but it wasn’t necessary. The entire board clearly understood from working with me that I would always guide an employee recommendation, if necessary, but that I wanted our team to own their decisions and take accountability for the results.

Here’s the valuable lesson I learned. By empowering our employees, I was able to replicate my leadership philosophy resulting in my ability to take time away from the club whenever I wanted. Our entire team took pride in their operational decisions and they knew I would give them the credit if everything worked well but as the leader, I was also willing to shoulder the blame if things didn’t go as planned.

I’m thankful for learning about empowerment early in my management career. It was very gratifying to watch our employee team grow and mature as I allowed team members to make and take ownership of their decisions.

And an equally good result is that I had as much personal time away from the club as I desired. Empowerment has multiple benefits. This much I know for sure! BR

110 BOARDROOM | MARCH / APRIL 2023 978-827-3103 Stacking Hardwood Chairs Made in the USA EUSTISCHAIR.COM


Husam Atari, GM, Belle Haven Country Club, Alexandria, VA

Mark Bado, GM, Houston Country Club, Houston, TX

Jeffrey S. Bennett, president, Bald Peak Colony Club, Moultonborough, NH

Greg Brown, GM, Meadow Club, Fairfax, CA

Kris Butterfield. director of membership, communications and public relations, Bethesda Country Club, Bethesda, MD

Jarrett Chirico, director of racquets, Royal Oaks Country Club, Dallas, TX

D. Brock Denton, president, Kenwood Country Club, Cincinnati, OH

Todd Dufek, locker room manager, The Country Club at DC Ranch, Scottsdale, AZ

Boris Fetbroyt, director of racquets, The Philadelphia Cricket Club, Philadelphia. PA

Ira H. Green, Jr., president, Houston Country Club, Houston, TX

Jonathon Goodman, CFO, Lost Tree Club, North Palm Beach, FL

Matt Guzik, GM, Tara Iti Golf Club, Mangawhai, New Zealand

Robert F. Heiser, president, Belle Haven Country Club, Alexandria, VA

Nate Herman, director of agronomy and grounds, Kenwood Country Club, Cincinnati, OH

Adam Hoffman, CGCS, Sunset Hills Country Club, Carrollton, GA

Richard Kayne, Chairman, Tara Iti Golf Club, Mangawhai, New Zealand

Todd Kennedy, president, Wilderness Country Club, Naples, FL

Kayla Kipp, turf equipment manager, Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, Farmington, PA

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

Justus Leachmam, president, Meadow Club, Fairfax, CA

Nancy Levenburg, PhD, member of Spring Lake Country Club in Spring Lake, MI

Sicily McCambridge, director of recreation, Houston Racquet Club, Houston, TX

Alba Palencia, manager, Stars & Stripes quick-serve restaurant, Army Navy Country Club, Arlington, VA

Paul Peacock, past club president, Houston Racquet Club, Houston, TX

Dylan Petrick, CEO, Kenwood Country Club, Cincinnati, OH

Thomas Preuml, chief operating officer, Houston Racquet Club, Houston, TX

Duncan Reno CCM, CCE, GM/COO Del Rio Country Club

Rosie Slocum, director of membership and marketing, BallenIsles Country Club, Palm Beach Gardens, FL

Andrew Welch, director of clubhouse operations, Army Navy Country Club, Arlington, VA

Christopher S. Wyles, GM, Bald Peak Colony Club, Moultonborough, NH

500 Omni PGA Frisco Resort

Atlanta Country Club in Marietta, GA

Evansville Country Club in Evansville, IN

Fields Ranch East, Frisco TX

Fields Ranch West, Frisco, TX

Kiawah Island Club in Johns Island, SC

Ocean Forest Golf Club in Sea Island, GA

The Peninsula Club in Cornelius, NC

Thornblade Club, Greenville, SC

Travis Club in Austin, TX

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