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Finding support in times of tragedy


Involving Members in Culinary Creations

DRIVING ASPIRATIONAL CULTURE INTO GOAL The Path to Improving CLUBS Why Organizational Health is Critical

Golfer Satisfaction

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Leadership in professional club management in Canada. 2018–2019 BOARD OF DIRECTORS PRESIDENT Trevor Noonan, CCM, CCE VICE PRESIDENT Michael Kenney, CCM, CCE, PGA

Jeff Germond Kimberley Iwamoto, CCM, CCE David Main Jason Sigurdson, CCM, CCE David Warren, CCM, CCE Steven Pert Michael Hearse, CCM CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

Suzanne Godbehere NATIONAL OFFICE

703 Evans Ave., Suite 202A Etobicoke, ON M9C 5E9 Tel: (416) 979-0640 Toll free: 1-877-376-CSCM Email: Website: EDITORIAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE CHAIR COMMITTEE


Paul Morrell, CCM Brice MacDermott, PGA Eric Sargent , CCM Ryan Tracy, PGA Ginni Yeung


quarterly with copy deadlines on the first day of March, June, September and December. MANAGING EDITOR



Stephen McNeill Q4 Communications Eric Pezik Q4 Communications Patti Whitefoot-Bobier Q4 Communications Barbara Chambers Kendell Duthie Sportswood Printing

Canadian publications agreement #40032775 Published July 2019/CSCM-Q0308




Culture, Community, and Change A time to reflect on the impact of your decisions



elcome to the summer issue of CMQ. Summer means many different things to many different clubs. Whether it is the peak season or the off-season at your club, summer is a great time to enjoy the outdoors and the many activities that can be done with the change in weather. According to the somewhat culturally relevant website Wikipedia, summer can be defined as: the hottest of the four temperate seasons, falling after spring and before autumn. In this issue the sometimes-hot topics of culture, community, and change will all be explored. Your club’s culture defines for you, your members, and others in society how your club is viewed and how it operates. It highlights core values, honours tradition, and is the fingerprint of your club. Culture plays a key role in who gravitates towards your club, who joins your club, and who chooses to pursue employment within your club. An individual who aligns with the culture of a specific club will gravitate more easily toward that


Culture plays a key role in who gravitates towards your club, who joins your club, and who chooses to pursue employment within your club.

” club, as opposed to someone who does not. A strong understanding of your own club culture will allow you to more easily define pathways to financial success, member /employee satisfaction and growth within your club. In Mark Thompson’s article, “Driving Culture,” he astutely tackles the topic of club culture and he makes a few challenges and recommendations — providing you with the opportunity to look inwardly at your own club culture. When it comes to community, it can be broadly defined as a small or large social unit (a group of living things) that has something in common, such as norms, religion, values, or identity (Wikipedia) while often sharing a given geographical location. But the term community has evolved to describe a group of people

who care about each other and feel they belong together. Many of us would agree that this evolved definition better fits the community of the Canadian Society of Club Managers. In his piece about the power of the CSCM community, Ian Hutchinson sheds much light on the value of our community and how it touches many CSCM members across the country. Change comes in many forms. Whether it’s an addition to your board of directors, introducing new technology, entering a new role, or starting an overdue renovation, the way we handle change as managers, helps to define how we are viewed and perceived. Change is important in clubs to allow employees to acquire skills, explore opportunities, and promote creativity in ways that ultimately benefit the club. Conversely, change can be scary and unsettling to members and staff if it is not approached thoughtfully and strategically. Included in this summer issue is a dynamic piece written by John Caven which clearly illustrates all of the changes involved with taking a new position halfway around the world. Exploration of the topics of culture, community, and change in this summer edition of Club Manager Quarterly will, we hope, assist you as a manager to reflect on your own club’s culture and community, and the impact of change. Enjoy the read, get outdoors, and I hope you enjoy the summer. Paul Morrell, CCM, is Chief Operating Officer of the Ontario Racquet Club in Mississauga, ON.



CSCM Initiatives Leadership, awareness, and achievements



s we reach the halfway point of the Society’s fiscal year, I am pleased to provide you with an update on some of the activities and initiatives that have taken place on your behalf.

Recent Events In February, Suzanne Godbehere and I attended the CMAA World Conference and Club Business Expo in Nashville. Annually, CMAA organizes several events at the conference that provide the Society with an excellent opportunity to meet with our colleagues and leaders of numerous club associations from around the world, including representatives from America, Europe, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and China. Suzanne and I made the most of these opportunities to provide a CSCM voice to the broader community, and hear more about industry trends, professional development, and ideas from 20+ countries and nine affiliate associations. In March, I had the distinct pleasure of attending the National Food &

the Leadership Forum will span over two dates to take advantage of the in-person opportunity of meeting at the national conference.

” Beverage Management Conference in Edmonton. The education, club tours, and social activities were absolutely first rate — from start to finish. And all of this was carried out after a major setback was experienced just weeks prior to the start of the conference when the host hotel experienced a flood. The result was the inability of the hotel to provide any meeting or meal space. Like true club managers solving daily challenging problems on the fly, the organizing committee rallied together, and with the aid of national director Dave Warren, CCM, CCE, relocated all onsite events to the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce World Trade Centre. The outcome was seamless, positive, and fun, making this conference one of the best I have ever attended – second only to my first national conference in Niagara-on-the-Lake in 2005. The next National F&B Management Confer-

ence, Awaken Your 6IX Sense, will take place in Toronto, March 7–10, 2020.

Leadership Forum At the end of March, your CSCM leadership team gathered in Toronto for the annual mid-year Board meeting and Leadership Forum. Eight national directors, eight branch representatives, along with the national office team spent the better part of two days discussing the successes of the Society, both nationally and by branch, and considering the unique challenges faced in each region. As you may recall, the Society’s current five-year strategic plan, Vison 2020, is nearing conclusion. Through self-facilitated examination, many topics were discussed at length, the purpose of which was to look forward and consider what results will be required to ensure future proofing of the Society, maintaining (and in some cases, reinstating) relevancy to our current (and some past) members while growing our overall membership levels. Not surprisingly, the topics revolved around membership, brand awareness, professional development, and networking opportunities — nationally and at branch levels, the flow of open communication between branch and national leadership, and corporate partnerships. Your leadership generated several great ideas, some that are more easily accomplished by staff, while others will require further study by this group. Strategic discussions about the location of upcoming national conferences, beCLUB MANAGER QUARTERLY SUMMER 2019 | 5


ginning in 2022, were also held. This included the benefits and disadvantages of hosting conferences in major centres (e.g. Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver) versus smaller urban centres (e.g. Saskatoon, Winnipeg) versus destination cities (e.g. Chicago, New York, Napa), and/or partnering with other allied associations in Canada. New for this year, the Leadership Forum will span over two dates to take advantage of the in-person opportunity of meeting at the national conference. Over the summer, your board and staff will consider a number of the strategic items from the March forum and build an agenda for the conference meeting. We will continue to update the membership on our discussions and decisions through Suzanne’s monthly updates and regular CMQ articles.

National Golf Day On May 1, CSCM celebrated National Golf Day with the second annual nationwide campaign launch on Parliament Hill with our NAGA partners to encourage Canadians to get involved in the sport of golf. Represented by WE ARE GOLF, industry leaders met with Parliamentarians throughout the day, while branch representatives campaigned at local municipalities around the country. I would like to thank Mike Kenney, CCM, CCE, Susan Rock, and (especially) Carol-Ann Goering, CCM for representing our Society in Ottawa. We Are Golf is a public awarenessraising initiative sponsored by: Golf Canada, Canadian Golf Superintendents Association, Professional Golfers’ Association of Canada, the Canadian Society of Club Managers, and the National Golf Course Owners Association Canada.

“ We think of those clubs who experienced flooding this past spring, many of whom were unable to open their courses, clubhouses, and tennis courts or float their sailing fleets until well into May or early June.

” representative to the CMAA Professional Development Board Committee meeting. CSCM is the oldest partner of CMAA with the largest number of designated members outside of the USA: 73 CCM, 21 Honour Society, 20 CCE, and 1 MCM, and 226 members actively acquiring education credits toward the certification program. CMAA Committee weekend is one way in which we provide our voice to the certification program, and one of the methods we employ to support our members in their pursuit of their professional designation. In previous years your CSCM representatives brought forward our concerns about the challenges with the accounting curriculum in the BMI programming; we were active in the discussions about the CCE mentorship program; and provided strategic input into the professional experience equivalency credits.

CCM Achievements and the National Conference Since the 2018 National Conference in Halifax, Start With Why, three CSCM members have achieved their CCM designations. • Jan Bloemraad, CCM, General Manager, The Glencoe Club • Paul Chambers, CCM, Clubhouse Manager, The Toronto Golf Club • Jana-Lyn Fairbairn, CCM, Executive Director, Riverside Country Club We look forward to recognizing these wonderful individuals at the 2019 National Conference in London, Make It Happen, in October. Talking of the National Conference, I would like to thank every member who nominated a fellow member for one of the various CSCM Awards, which “recognizes the achievements and contributions of our members.” We look forward to presenting these awards later this year. As we move into the summer months, I would like to wish each of you much success and the odd day-off to recharge your batteries. We think of those clubs who experienced flooding this past spring, many of whom were unable to open their courses, clubhouses, and tennis courts or float their sailing fleets until well into May or early June. On behalf of the Society I send you our best thoughts. I look forward to seeing many of you in London, Ontario in October. With best regards, Trevor Noonan, CCM, CCE CSCM National President

CMAA Committee Weekend Each year CSCM is invited to participate in the CMAA Committee weekend at CMAA Headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. For several years the CSCM Certification Committee has sent a 6 | CLUB MANAGER QUARTERLY SUMMER 2019

Although he posted several pictures of crab sliders and craft beer on his social media sites, I would like to thank Jeff Germond for attending Committee weekend, ‘working’ on behalf of the Society. CSCM.ORG


Industry News From Across Canada Member Benefits – Position Posting When is the last time you viewed our position postings page? CSCM offers a position posting service to clubs and recruiters to provide you with a means of seeking potential candidates to fill all levels of your staff. To post a position, you only need to complete the online request form ( > Club Careers > Position Posting) and make the payment. Position postings will be made available to CSCM members within five business days of receipt of all relevant materials at the National Office. Unless otherwise agreed, postings will be removed 30 days from the date of posting (an extension of 30 days may be requested at no additional charge). The postings are made available to CSCM members only through the Club Careers section of the website and a broadcast email is distributed to all members as soon as a new posting is available. We now are also highlighting the position postings in our social media on a monthly basis.

Professional Development Update — May 2019 Thank you to all of the members who took the time this past quarter to review their online transcript and inform the CSCM of any missing professional development credits. Rather than requesting this information on an annual basis, CSCM will now post reminders to all members every six months to review their individual online profiles and credits. There are potentially six members writing the Certified Club Manager (CCM) exam this fall and an additional two members for April 2020. It is essential for members to notify CSCM of their intent to write the CCM exam, and we will process the initial CMAA application fee and provide the most up-to-date copy of the member’s transcript. Members who achieve the CCM are recognized annually at the National Conference. At this year’s Awards Ceremony in London on October 6, Jan Bloemraad, Paul Chambers, and Jana-Lyn Fairbairn will be formally acknowledged for attaining their CCM designation. Look for the upcoming professional development conferences and course listing in this magazine.

Seeking Board Nominations The CSCM Governance Committee is now seeking nominations for the National Board of Directors commencing with the 2019-2020 term. The Governance Committee is responsible for presenting a slate of candidates to the members that will ensure excellence in governance, and overseeing the nomination and election process. One Director will be proposed for re-election. In accordance with Article 7 of the CSCM By-laws, the Board elects the incoming officers from within the current Board. Kim Iwamoto, CCM, CCE was elected as incoming Vice President for the 2019-2020 term and joins Trevor Noonan, CCM, CCE who was elected as President for a two-year term at the 2018 Annual General Meeting. CSCM attempts to maintain a balance on the Board of Directors from three regions. This year there is one position open for nomination from the Eastern Region. Nominations must be submitted by July 21, 2019. For further details regarding the nomination and election process and to submit a nomination, please log on to the CSCM website. The Annual General Meeting date is October 6, 2019 and will be held at the Doubletree by Hilton in London, ON in conjunction with our National Conference.



We Are Golf The Canadian Golf Industry is preparing for the third Economic Impact Study (EIS) commissioned by the National Allied Golf Associations (NAGA). This study is the most comprehensive economic outlook on the Canadian Golf Industry. NAGA is currently working on the development of the research items and will be launched to the public in the summer of 2019. The release of the results collected in 2019 will be during the National Golf Day in 2020. Findings of the most recent EIS include the overall GDP that the golf industry $14.3 billion and that golf is Canada’s highest participation sport in Canada showing 5.7 million golfers. Golf in Canada is also responsible for over 300,000 jobs with many of those employed being post-secondary age students. Charitable events were nearly 37,000, raising approximately $533 million dollars for charitable causes across Canada. For further information contact Suzanne Godbehere at



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A Moment Can Last a Lifetime A lesson in being kind, grateful, and engaged


much more enjoyable with Froot Loops (Joey’s favourite food).

t started on the plane.


Thirty thousand feet above the vast landscape of the Canadian Prairies I felt a tap on my left shoulder. It was Joey, a three-year-old boy seated next to me who was travelling from Newfoundland to Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta. He asked typical questions most three year olds would ask: “Are we there yet?,” “Do you have a car?,” “Is your daddy with you?”

After many flights to numerous destinations, I wondered why this flight was different than all the others. The reason? Perhaps it was because I chose not to wear my headphones. Chose might be the wrong word; I left them in the front pocket of my checked baggage. This interaction would become the theme of the week ahead. ***

After we exhausted our question and answer period, Joey turned his attention to videos on YouTube. Fifteen minutes later he was asleep against my arm, leaving me with two hours to ponder important life decisions. Things such as: why Paw Patrol is a cultural hit; how Newfoundland is just a plane ride away; and that plane rides would be 10 | CLUB MANAGER QUARTERLY SUMMER 2019

The 2019 edition of the CSCM National Food & Beverage Management Conference took place from March 9–12 in beautiful Edmonton, Alberta. We were fortunate enough to embark on a tour of Rogers Place, participate in remarkable presentations, and indulge in delicious cuisine. CSCM.ORG


The theme of the conference was Grassroots, focusing on the importance of local sustainability and how farm to table is the future of food service. Although these lessons were important and insightful, the two departing takeaways were connection and engagement. Roger Haskett gave an electrifying presentation on engagement; Jon Fisher and Kevin MacDonald taught that “your life is now”; Jim Hope ran an hour-long master class discussing how great service is really just two words: be engaged. As is the case with most conferences, educational aspects are best remembered through practical application. Little did I know, that within 48 hours of arriving at the conference these lessons would change my life forever.

“ I started to think back over my life and wondered how many other unique individuals and moments I had missed simply by not being engaged.


Sunday, March 10, 2019. A day that I will remember for the rest of my life. Roger Haskett, President of Engagement Unlimited, started off the morning session with an informative and interactive session on the impact of being engaged through active participation. Elaborate storytelling, group interactions, and hilarious activities proved that getting others involved during an event leads to memorable experiences. As the presentation came to an end, the conversation continued well into the afternoon as a room full of strangers slowly became a familiar group of friends. The afternoon session took place at the stunning Derrick Golf & Winter Club. After an hour of sampling beer, tasting wine, and devouring food, Jim Hope took the floor and captivated the audience for the next 60 minutes. The presentation may have been aided by the alcohol because Jim got more laughs than a stand-up comedian. This hour would become the launching pad to a life-changing chain of events.

During Jim’s presentation on Service Excellence, a moment occurred that perfectly illustrated the power of engagement. On the screen was a picture of a famous caddy hauling two golf bags, one on each shoulder, from the parking lot to the awaiting golf carts. Jim paused his presentation and asked if anyone had played Bandon Dunes, the golf resort where this smiling man was working. I raised my hand and Jim proceeded to ask “who is this?,” referring to the photo on the screen. I replied “I don’t know,” and Jim immediately called out to Kevin MacDonald in the back of the room. Kevin yelled “that’s Shoe!,” and the presentation continued. Why does this matter? Because I played Bandon when I was younger and should have recognized Shoe. Instead of being present and engaged upon arrival, I was texting or talking about anything other than where I was. I started to think back over my life and wondered how many other unique individuals and moments I had missed simply by not being engaged.

Following the presentation we were treated to a tour of The Derrick. Conversations were abundant and our group of 15 shared stories and marvelled at the layout of this amazing facility. It was on this tour I met Jon Fisher, someone I am proud to call my friend. Jon and I talked about his cycling road trip with Jim to California and how life is meant to be lived, not stressed over. Finally I was engaged and present in a moment — one that is still vivid in my mind today. As our day came to a close, we boarded the shuttle destined for the hotel. After a day of incredible conversations I was both exhausted and inspired. I made it safely into my hotel room and immediately FaceTimed my girlfriend back in Ontario to recap my day. This recap was short-lived as Christina is currently attending law school at the University at Buffalo and needed to discuss Property Law and Civil Procedure. Did I have a clue what she was talking about? Of course not. But I graciously listened for half an hour and somehow what she was saying didn’t put me to sleep. I told her I was heading out for dinner and she was unfazed; a quick goodnight and I hung up the phone. It was a brisk, winter night in Edmonton, perfect for a reflective, long walk to a restaurant. I didn’t have a destination in mind, but a kilometre later I decided the Cactus Club was where I would settle in for dinner. As I approached the restaurant, I paused the Mellencamp song I was listening to and took out my headphones. On the sidewalk ahead of me was a homeless man asking for a quarter, and subsequently being ignored by every passerby. I was thinking back to the lessons I had learned earlier in the day and decided this would be a perfect time to be engaged. I walked up to the man, his fingers noticeably black from frostbite. I asked his name and he replied, without a second of hesitation, “Jimmy. Do you have a quarter?” I asked Jimmy why he needed a quarter and he said “just CLUB MANAGER QUARTERLY SUMMER 2019 | 11


for a coffee.” I was taken aback and without thinking, I replied “Jimmy, your life is worth more than a quarter. Would you like to come inside with me for dinner?”

The severity of this situation is not lost on me. Asking a homeless man into a restaurant for dinner, in retrospect, was indeed dangerous. Under normal circumstances I may not have acted in this way; however, after a vow to myself earlier in the day to be more engaged, this seemed perfectly natural. Jimmy immediately accepted my invitation and began to wheel his cart full of belongings into the restaurant. The hostess met us at the door, graciously informing Jimmy that he could not bring his cart inside, but that she would watch over it as he ate his dinner. Walking into the Cactus Club is always a humbling experience. Beautiful staff, bespoke decor, and echoes of laughter and good times radiate across the room, informing each new person who walks in that they are in for an incredible night. However, tonight was on an entirely different level. I still had my suit on from the day and beside me was a man 12 | CLUB MANAGER QUARTERLY SUMMER 2019

We often forget how fortunate we are as we move from our warm house into our heated car to drive in comfort to our cozy office.

” dressed in clothes he found in a dumpster two weeks before. We received several concerned stares as we made our way to our seats, but settled in nicely in the very centre of the restaurant. As we sat down, I told Jimmy to order anything on the menu. His eyes got wide, like a kid on Christmas morning, and he asked “can I get garlic toast?” Garlic toast. A man who owns almost

nothing did not ask for a steak or seafood, but rather he requested the most inexpensive item on the menu. I said, “absolutely, whatever you want!” He smiled and said “this is my first meal in three days,” as if not eating for three days wasn’t a big deal. As we ordered our garlic toast and Coronas, Jimmy began telling me story after story about his life and how he ended up on the streets of Edmonton. I knew this was a moment to lean in and be engaged, so for the next 90 minutes the world was forgotten and we got lost in conversation. We exchanged simple questions that resulted in profound answers. When I asked Jimmy why he doesn’t stay in a shelter, he said, “man, people have it harder than I do. There are women and young children that need to be in there [the shelter]. I’m a grown man. And I have my blankets and hat… what more do I need?” I truly believe Jimmy needed this meal, but I needed this moment. Speaking with someone who can fit their entire life’s possessions into a shopping cart is both humbling and empowering. We often forget how fortunate we are as we move from our CSCM.ORG


warm house into our heated car to drive in comfort to our cozy office. How many things have you taken for granted in the last year, let alone last week?

Lesson #1: Be grateful. We continued our conversation and the next powerful statement soon followed. Jimmy was explaining how he got to where he is today and said, “twists and turns, ups and downs, happen to us all. Through choices I made, this is where I am today. All I do each day is wake up and be thankful that I get to spend one more day here on this place we call Earth.” As our garlic toast was removed, our dinner was placed in front of us. Before I even had my first bite of steak, Jimmy was already finished his fries and halfway through his strip loin. I simply smiled and let him enjoy every moment of this chewy goodness, realizing now the power of being able to eat in comfort.

Lesson #2: Embrace the moment. Jimmy finished his dinner and asked if I was ready to go. I wasn’t even halfway through my dinner, so I asked if he

Lesson #1: Be grateful. Lesson #2: Embrace the moment. Lesson #3: We are all human.

would like any dessert. He said, “sure, milk?” We ordered a milk and I managed to finish two more bites. Jimmy got up and was ready to leave, looking as fresh as a sprinter on the starting line of a 100m race. I quickly handed the server my credit card and followed Jimmy out the door. I didn’t have a clue where we were heading, but tonight was about being engaged. I asked Jimmy where he wanted to go next and he said “to 7/11. Can you buy me a pack of smokes?” The next thing I knew we were in 7/11 on Jasper Avenue, waiting to buy some cigarettes. The cashier walked up and said, “Hi Jimmy! Buying something or just getting warm?” Jimmy replied, “Here for some smokes with my new friend Mike!” I smiled and graciously covered the cost of two packs of cigarettes and we made our way outside. I was about to say goodbye to Jimmy, but then he asked, “Want to come see my house?” I was confused. How is this man who is obviously homeless possibly inviting me over to see his house? Out of pure curiosity I accepted and we turned the corner into a back CLUB MANAGER QUARTERLY SUMMER 2019 | 13


alley. Behind 7/11 were two dumpsters, one overflowing with cardboard and the other full of garbage. Between them was a small collection of items — two small blankets, an umbrella, and a hockey stick. Jimmy screams with elation, “We’re here!,” telling me how this has been his home for the last six months. I felt a tear run down my cheek, as I suddenly understood the meaning of life.

Lesson #3: We are all human. The entire week I spent in Edmonton at the National Food & Beverage Management Conference was merely a collection of moments that became memories. Through meeting new people, learning new concepts, and understanding the power of connection, my life was forever changed in so many ways. Engaging with new people and sharing ideas is how we will move our world forward. Stories lead to connections, connections lead to friendships, and friendships lead to happiness. If you take anything from this story, let it be this: we are all simply human beings. Be kind, be grateful, and be engaged. 14 | CLUB MANAGER QUARTERLY SUMMER 2019

Our team this year is younger than ever before, while also being more engaged and focused.

*** At the Buffalo Canoe Club we have adopted these three principles to create a culture concept called ACE. Every day we practice how to be adaptable, conscientious, and empathetic, allowing our team and members alike to create a welcoming and enjoyable environment. I see this in practice every day as Jen, our Front Desk Manager, welcomes members to the Club; or when Rebecca,

our Housekeeping Manager, instructs her new hire on best practices for preparing a room for an overnight guest. With the incredible support of our board and direction from our GM Rob Cheevers, we have created a culture that speaks to the ever-changing desires of the younger generation. Our team this year is younger than ever before, while also being more engaged and focused. We have empowered managers to make decisions, encouraged our seasonal team to take initiative, and instructed our members to ask challenging questions. We may all have roles and responsibilities; however, at the end of the day we all have one goal — to create the best member experience imaginable. Turn your club into a destination, not a requirement. Have the courage to be different and the vision to be great. Embrace the opportunity to change a life and maybe, just maybe, one day along the way your life will change too. Mike Froom is Food & Beverage Manager of Buffalo Canoe Club in Fort Erie, ON. CSCM.ORG

Kona Country Club is on the island of Hawaii. But they’re not on an island with John Deere.

Working in the 50th state as a golf course superintendent can be a challenge, especially where equipment is concerned. And yet, Derrick Watts, superintendent of Kona Country Club, Island of Hawaii, never feels that way, thanks to his John Deere Golf dealer. Says Derrick “Without their service and support, we wouldn’t have a fleet.” He also points to John Deere Financial. “The financial issue was the biggest challenge. And you guys helped us out dramatically.”

No matter where you are, John Deere Golf has a solution for you. Call your John Deere Golf dealer today to see what can be done for your course.

Trusted by the Best 72940


From Glasgow to Toronto How a GM handled a move to a new club in a new country



n March 2017 I received an email saying that I had been shortlisted for the GM role at Oakdale Golf & Country Club in Toronto.

At that precise moment I was sitting at my desk at Killermont House where I was the General Manager of Glasgow Golf Club, Scotland, which dates back to 1787 and is the 9th oldest golf club in the world.

I have arrived for what could be regarded as a big adventure, a leap of faith, or just another chapter in our family’s life that happens to involve a transAtlantic flight.

Fast forward to July 31, 2017. I got the job! My wife, two children (Leo, 16, and Eliza, 12), Renny our dog, and I have arrived for what could be regarded as a big adventure, a leap of faith, or just another chapter in our family’s life that happens to involve a transAtlantic flight. Nearly everyone I have met since we moved has asked how we have settled, how the kids have settled, is it very different to Scotland, and are we enjoying the extremities of the weather with hot summers and cold winters? 16 | CLUB MANAGER QUARTERLY SUMMER 2019

By the end of our first week in Canada we had new Canadian drivers’ licences (you just swap the UK one over). We had social insurance numbers. We had our OHIP cards. We had mobile phones. We had working bank accounts. I had a car that was insured in

my own name. The kids were registered for their new schools. In many ways the only difference was driving on the wrong side of the road and using a different currency. I always say that, in many ways, the culture and lifestyle expectations are very similar. CSCM.ORG


Club Management Across the Pond From an industry perspective I have had the same question from family, friends, old colleagues, new colleagues, and fellow GMs: What are the differences between Scotland and Canada in the private club industry? In fact there are no major differences in running private clubs on either side of the Atlantic. I believe that around 75–80 percent of issues/areas of focus are the exact same everywhere and the other 20–25 percent are always unique to each club. In no particular order you will face these challenges at most private members clubs: • Membership retention, • Sourcing new members, • Delivering value for money, • Delivering a food & beverage experience that exceeds members’ expectations and delivered within an agreed budget, • Communication between the club and the members and the club and the employees, • Creating a governance model that allows the Board to think strategically and lets the staff deliver operationally. John Caven with daughter Eliza, wife Lora, son Leo, and their dog Renny.

There are many more but these challenges are likely the ones that we all face.

Where it all began I started out as an 18-year-old assistant golf professional. I then became a head assistant, then a head pro, and then, in 2007, Director of Golf at Loch Lomond. Loch Lomond is a world-class club with 550 members from 42 countries that offers accommodation, a spa, outdoor pursuits, a five star restaurant, and a fantastic golf course that had hosted 15 Scottish Opens and a Solheim Cup. There were regular challenges with all the different member cultures that had different expectations, never mind the billionaire members who would gladly have paid double the fees if you could

Working at a worldclass facility with members and guests that had world-class expectations certainly focuses you to understand what the customer (member) wants and needs.

get rid of half of the membership. In 2009, I was approached and asked if I would like to take on the role as Operations Director, which included responsibility for food & beverage, housekeeping, the spa, outdoor pursuits, front of house, and facilities management, in addition to golf. I had no hesitation and I said yes. When I look back, I realize I didn’t really understand the level of responsibility and the magnitude of pressure of that job, but what a fantastic environment to learn in. Working at a world-class facility with members and guests that had world-class expectations certainly focuses you to understand what the customer (member) wants and needs.



The governance model was reasonably unique for a member-owned club. There were no committees and the board only met six times per year, and only three of those meetings were onsite at the Club. Basically, you were hired for your expertise and you were expected to know how to do the job. There were no managers in training at Loch Lomond. To some people that sounds like bliss, having no committees; however, you really had to have your finger on the pulse to meet (and exceed) member expectations.

GM of Glasgow Golf Club Immediately prior to Oakdale I was the General Manager at Glasgow Golf Club, a fantastic club in the West of Scotland that is rich in history and tradition, but offering 21st century hospitality. As a Glaswegian I am extremely proud to have been the GM at the leading private members club in the area. The experience that I gained at Loch Lomond stood me in good stead, but Glasgow Golf Club gave me my first full experience as a General Manager. Working with committees and a board under a governance model that left the managers and the staff to deliver operations daily with no interference was the perfect model for me. It gave me the confidence to go ahead and make decisions, but I also had the sounding board of the committees and the board as and when new initiatives were being considered.

Oakdale I feel extremely privileged and grateful to now be the General Manager at Oakdale. It is a fantastic private members’ club that is steeped in history and tradition. The Club is truly “family focused,” meaning that every decision at the Club considers the family perspective. Personally, I think that is the future of the “country club” industry. As for the governance model at Oak18 | CLUB MANAGER QUARTERLY SUMMER 2019

John Caven, centre, with Sam Winberg, current Oakdale Club President and Tammy Brown, immediate Past President of Oakdale, at the opening Ladies’ Luncheon this year.

dale, we focus on recruiting committee members and board members to ensure there is a balance of all demographics (age, gender, usage of the club, etc.). We strive for the right demographic balance as well as background and experience for the board and each committee. We’ve also been focused on committee chairs working more closely with the manager/staff person aligned with that committee, so that the board can continue to focus on the strategic elements and the employees can continue to focus on the operational elements of the club.

Private Clubs are Private Clubs — everywhere There is no real difference, in my experience, in member retention, member recruitment, and staff recruitment between the two countries (or the three clubs). I like to say that you can’t have your members dividing their dues into the number of golf games and then possibly thinking, that’s an expensive game of golf. We need to create events for the whole family so that

coming to the club is a family activity, whether it be to golf, play tennis, go for a swim, or to work out. If I were to offer any advice to anyone in our industry, I would suggest that you keep it quite simple. Acknowledge the characteristics that you would like to witness in your fellow employees every day. For me it would be: engaged, positive attitude, smart appearance, and ready to serve. Every day I ask myself, am I being all these things to my work colleagues? If I am not, then who am I to expect that back from them? What you give out in life you get back, it’s that simple. And finally, although we all have a written job description, I would suggest that around 80 percent of what we do is written in that document. The other 20 percent you work for the club, your fellow employees, the members and you do what needs to be done. John Caven is General Manager of Oakdale Golf & Country Club in Toronto, ON.



Menu Reveal Involving members in culinary creations

difficult to gain staff buy-in as they were uncomfortable with sharing the kitchen space and our training methods with members. However, the reaction from our members has been fantastic, and it’s even grown so much that we are moving it out to display on the buffet with heat lamps. BY CHRIS CARNEGIE AND MICHAEL STARK

A recent chef’s menu reveal event included the following dishes:


e host a menu reveal on the first evening we unveil our new formal dining room menu, which occurs approximately every two months at the London Hunt & Country Club. It typically includes five appetizers and five entrées on display, and Michael will walk both members and staff through each dish. He discusses each dish’s flavour, sourcing, profile, and tasting notes. Servers are on hand, so it’s a quasi-training session for our staff as well as exposure to our membership of our culinary expertise. It has become a great way to put our creations on display. At the end of the reveal everyone is given multiple forks and prompted to taste each dish. Up to now, it has taken place right in our kitchen to bring members in on the action. It began as a training technique used at the club, and we morphed the idea to include members as well. At first it was

and fried capers in a white balsamic dressing

Beef tenderloin Sous-vide beef tenderloin served over creamy parsnip puree, rosemary tostones, topped with a rich mushroom jus, crème fraîche, and parsnip chips

Parmesan and prosciutto Brussels sprouts Tossed in smoked pork fat with shallots, red cabbage, crispy prosciutto-topped with crushed pecans and Parmesan

Duck chops Seared duck chops served with duck fat-poached sunchokes, roasted heirloom winter vegetables (carrot and beet) cranberry jus Lamb shoulder rack Rosemary, mustard, and Worcestershire “bark,” roasted to medium, served over roasted potatoes and butternut squash, topped with chiffonade of mint

Chris Carnegie is Director of Food & Beverage, and Michael Stark is Executive Chef at London Hunt & Country Club in London, ON. CLUB MANAGER QUARTERLY SUMMER 2019 | 19


The Power of Community Finding support in times of tragedy


hen a friend or colleague faces a life-threatening illness or loses a family member at a young age, it isn’t surprising when that person chooses to focus on life rather than the uncertain future ahead, or that a family savours the passionate way in which their loved one lived before passing.



That attitude should become a beacon for the community that rallies around people in such circumstances. While the importance of joie de vivre, love of life, or whatever you want to call it is not a new concept, it is one that often gets lost in deadlines and day-to-day duties. Two members of the Canadian Society of Club Managers have seen the importance of not letting that happen due to recent events in their lives.


What they offer is perspective and clarity on what’s important in life to those around them whose lives have no end in sight; but then again, there are no guarantees in life, as they’ve discovered, making their message that much more valuable. Ian Webb, CCM, is enjoying the support he’s received from family, friends, associates, colleagues, staff, and members since the Chief Operating Officer of the Credit Valley Golf & Country Club was given surprising and shocking news in February. “We had crazy weather. It was up and down, freezing rain, all that stuff. I thought that I had a sinus infection,” said Webb, who received antibiotics from his family doctor to deal with the problem. CSCM.ORG


Webb was scheduled to attend the Club Management Association of America World Conference and Club Business Expo at the end of the month in Nashville, where he was to receive his CCM designation. “I was worried about flying because I had this sinus thing going on. I had headaches and I never had headaches. In Nashville, the headaches were a little worse. On a scale of one to 10, they were maybe in the three range, so it wasn’t like I was bent over with pain or had migraines, but they weren’t going away,” he recalled. A CT scan followed by an MRI upon returning home revealed the cause of the headaches. It was glioblastoma, the aggressive brain cancer that took the life of Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip at the age of 53 in 2017, nearly two years after it was discovered. Webb, who turned 54 on March 9, had surgery three days later at Trillium Health Partners-Mississauga Hospital, which he had helped raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for in fundraising efforts at his nearby place of employment. “The neurosurgeon basically said, `Look, we’ve got to go in and do surgery and the surgery is risky. If we don’t do this, you’re talking weeks,’” he said. “The doctor said, `We can be relatively aggressive, but the more aggressive we are, the less likely you are to come out of it as yourself,’” said Webb, who huddled with his wife Helen and daughters Gillian, 25, and Allison, 24. “Obviously, we’re dealing with brain tissue here, so we made the decision as a family to kind of say, `Okay, let’s take the minimal amount that you can take, which will give me the ability to fight the fight in round two, but I don’t want to be a body sitting in a wheelchair not knowing anybody. I still want to be me,’” he added. Nine days later, Webb was out of the hospital and after having 37 staples removed, it was time for that round two he talked about. For five days a

“ We decided when this happened that we were going to take this one day at a time, one week at a time.

” week for six weeks, he was at Credit Valley Hospital in Mississauga for radiation treatments and seven days a week for six weeks, he took chemotherapy in pill form. Round two ended in early May. “That first couple of weeks, I felt totally normal and everything and just as the treatment went on, it just kind of wears you down and you get crazy tired. I could sleep standing up,” said Webb at the time. “I was lucky in that I had very little nausea and no adverse side effects, apart from losing some hair and being tired. All in all, for me, it was quite manageable,” he added. As Webb went though surgery, his radiation treatments, and chemo, the hashtag #WebbyStrong was becoming prominent on social media, particularly Twitter, as club managers, golf professionals, other colleagues, and friends across the country, as well as Credit Valley Golf & Country Club staff and members, appeared in photos wearing #WebbyStrong T-shirts and hats. “I’ve seen #WebbyStrong at Augusta (during the Masters earlier this year). It certainly has taken on a life of its own. For me and my family, it’s been overwhelming and incredibly humbling,” he said. Not only were the T-shirts and hats showing up across the country and

at places such as NHL playoff games and the Masters, but they were also doing some good. Proceeds go to the Webby Foundation, set up by the PGA of Canada and Acushnet Canada to provide scholarships for PGA members and their families. Adam Cherry, a former golf professional at Credit Valley, is now working at the Stonehooker Brewing Company. Stonehooker has come out with Up & Down beer, which sends a portion of proceeds to the Webby Foundation. Ian even plans to go back to work at Credit Valley Golf & Country Club to work on a fundraising committee for Trillium Health Partners. Certainly, the efforts made by doctors, nurses, and other staff at Mississauga Hospital and later at Credit Valley Hospital have made such efforts even more special. “Unfortunately, the survival rate of this is zero and we know that. Right now, it’s about quality of life. All the chemo is going to do is try to hold this thing off and stop it from regenerating and give me more time. We’re talking about six months to a year maybe because I’m relatively young and in good shape, maybe 18 months,” Webb said in May. “Nobody knows when they get up every morning whether they’re going to go to sleep that night. I’m now given the barometer of when the end is going to be,” he said. “We decided when this happened that we were going to take this one day at a time, one week at a time. We were going to look at this positively. There are people who don’t get the opportunity to say the things and do the things and look at life differently and try to make a difference,” he said. All of those people who posted #WebbyStrong T-shirts and hats and those helping with the Webby Foundation, his friends, colleagues, CLUB MANAGER QUARTERLY SUMMER 2019 | 21


management, staff, and members at Credit Valley are apparently getting the message.

“I’ve talked to so many people who have said to me, `Hey Ian, you’ve changed the way I’m looking at things,’ which has been great. Putting family and friends first, living one day at a time, being engaged and looking after family – a lot of colleagues have kind of stepped back and said, `You know what? You’re right. We’re all working too hard,’ so that’s been quite rewarding,” he said. Webb is only talking about life’s balance, for he cherishes his chosen profession, one that has seen him serve as president of the Ontario Branch of the CSCM from April 2017 to April 2018 after starting on the board of directors in 2013. “The colleagues and the relationships that I’ve developed across the country with general managers is incredible. It’s a great group of people and equally as positive has been the PGA,” said Webb, who balances that out with Helen and the family he cherishes. “My two girls are old enough to understand all of this. Family has been incredible for sure. They were part of the decision-making process right from the hospital. They’re not kids, but it’s been hard on them, for sure,” he said. 22 | CLUB MANAGER QUARTERLY SUMMER 2019

Family has been incredible for sure. They were part of the decisionmaking process right from the hospital.

” With the future uncertain, Webb has two goals, one mid-term and one long-term. The first is making it to the CSCM National Conference in London, ON, and the other being to make it to next year’s Masters in April, a place he was supposed to be this year before his diagnosis. There are countless people hoping he achieves those and plenty more beyond that. One of them is Jon Fisher, CCM, CCE, who who has heard about Webb thousands of miles away in Calgary, where he is now Executive Vice President, Experience and Lifestyle, for the Windmill Golf Group.

Fisher applauds Webb’s attitude and says without love, there is no grief and in such circumstances, balancing both is important. He speaks from experience, not a serious illness such as Webb’s, but the death of a loved one last year. Less than a week before his 27th birthday last August, his son Zane and Zane’s girlfriend Ursula were killed in an automobile accident near Priddis, just outside of Calgary. The shock Jon and his wife Janica felt after being informed of Zane’s passing goes without saying, and it was compounded when they had to go to their daughter Payton’s place of employment with a police escort to let her know. They returned home an hour-and-ahalf after the police had arrived and began sending texts to friends to let them know. Once word got out, according to Jon, it didn’t take long for the Fisher’s backyard to fill up with young people who knew Zane and it remained that way in the days leading up to a gathering to honour their son at their home on his birthday, August 13. “You know that this is not a story about ‘I wish’ or ‘sorry’. Our son was filled up with love every day. This is a CSCM.ORG


saint. Our son lived a full-contact life. I do not want him painted as a saint. This was just an ordinary kid who saw life for the blessing it was and he was just full contact. He lived it fully, he captured it in photographs, and he captured it in writing. He shared his writing and his photographs with all people who touched his life,” he added.

story about a life fully lived. We were lucky to have him for nearly 27 years,” read his obituary. “From a very young age, he lived each day like it was the end. His superpower was in bringing the magic of life to every moment and discovering ‘what is the joy’ in each of us. He was vivacious, authentic, deep, fiercely loyal; a friend who was always there,” it read. When a girl Zane had dated in his teens informed his parents about some notes she’d received from him, it emphasized that description. “He wrote, `I don’t want to grow old.’ We really feel like he knew inside that he was going to live a full life, but a young life. He didn’t describe life as something that was long. His thing in his journal was, `Live it up. You are alive,’” said Jon, who was working at Silver Springs Golf & Country Club in Calgary at the time. “He believed in balance and one of the things he wrote to his 16-year-old girlfriend (in high school) was a note he passed to her in class. `I’d like to believe in angels, I do believe in angels,’ he wrote. `But because I believe in the balance of life, that means there are good angels and bad angels,’ and he said, `I don’t want to be looking out for bad angels so as of this moment, I don’t believe in angels,’” he added. However, he did believe in Dudeism, the religion or philosophy espoused in the 1998 movie The Big Lebowski. Some consider it a mock religion due to its references in the movie, but many more take it seriously. Zane wrote a 50-page dissertation on Dudeism at Mount Royal University in Calgary, where he was warned that due to the length of time he was taking to complete his degree, he needed to finish it by May of 2019, yet he made the dean’s list his last two years at Mount Royal. It was the passionate poet, philosopher, and photographer who had touched so many lives that the Fishers wanted to be remembered at the gathering at their home.

“We were lucky that the sun shone that day because that house would have been crowded without it. We just had a party where everybody could just express their grief and their love and we altered a vision of death where it wasn’t a funeral home. It wasn’t depression. It wasn’t sadness,” said Fisher. Immediately, the managerial community responded. Kimberley Iwamoto, CCM, CCE, General Manager of the Ranchmen’s Club in Calgary, and her executive chef Kenneth Titcomb, wanted to know how many people would be there so they could take care of the food. His longtime friend, Kevin MacDonald, a coach in the club business, and his wife Rose left Vancouver immediately upon hearing the news about Zane and drove to Calgary and took care of housecleaning duties in preparation for the gathering. The list of people there to support the Fishers is a lengthy one. “Nobody said, `What can we do?’ The magic was they just showed up and did it. They just knew we would be in a valley that was unimaginable. Emotionally, mentally, we would just be running on adrenaline,” said Jon, adding those efforts were foundations in what the family was hoping to accomplish. “The energy just gave off life. We were going to create an experience for our son’s friends in celebration of him, but we were going to celebrate him in a way that they were going to see the life. They were going to see us honour our son and his girlfriend Ursula just by how we embraced his life and the value that his young life brought to all these people,” he said. “He was no Mother Teresa. He was no

“They saw us with T-shirts on that said, `Live it up. You are alive! Zane.’ We were not the victims. We’re not going through life with a cloud over our head,” he added. He feels blessed to have had Zane for nearly 27 years and to still have Payton. He says it blows him away to see the love of his wife for her children and the many other children she works with through her home business that creates volunteer projects for youngsters. “She’s an angel from heaven,” he said, adding that it’s all about properly balancing professional and personal life, grief and love. “I’m at that stage in life where I’ve given 110 percent to my career and this was a reality check on what’s really important,” he said. “I spoke at a conference of food and beverage professionals recently up in Edmonton at a CSCM event. I said, `Live it up! You’re alive! Life is now!’” he added. Zane would be proud of dad, but even more so if the people listening took that sage advice. Ian Hutchinson is President of Golf News Now.



From the Ashes Rebuilding the Badminton & Racquet Club of Toronto

By Ian Hutchinson Competition for members took a backseat to goodwill and compassion in the aftermath of a devastating fire that tore through the Badminton and Racquet Club of Toronto on Valentine’s Day in 2017.

“It originated, we believe, in the southeast, third floor mechanical room. That’s where smoke was noticed for the first time,” said Paul Cadieux, CCM, Chief Operating Officer for the historic club located in the mid-town Toronto area of Yonge St. and St. Clair Avenue. The Badminton and Racquet Club was founded in 1924 and the building is even older, originally a car barn for turn of the 20th century streetcars in the city. “It was built of old timber, so it doesn’t take much for any kind of a 24 | CLUB MANAGER QUARTERLY SUMMER 2019

do in that case, so we evacuated the building, made sure everybody was out of the building,” he added.

The stubborn blaze wasn’t officially deemed under control until the next morning.

” spark to catch and unfortunately, that being a combustible area, it spread rather quickly,” said Cadieux, adding that the first priority was to get everybody out safely. “We have a regular, trained fire safety plan and our safety plan was activated, so our staff was fully aware of what to

“The storefronts outside of the club on St. Clair had our members come into their businesses to feed them and give them tea and coffee to keep them warm because, of course, many people left the building with no jackets and they were in their tennis outfits and (the other businesses) accepted us very quickly,” said Cadieux. Meanwhile, Toronto Fire elected to attack the fire from above for safety reasons, using the balconies of nearby condominiums as residents were evacuated. The stubborn blaze wasn’t officially deemed under control until the next morning. Although covered by insurance, business interruption and damage to the building combined amounted to about $23-million, according to Cadieux. CSCM.ORG


“Immediately after the fire, we struck an options and opportunities committee, which was made up of previous board members and club presidents and we investigated for a couple of months what the path forward was going to look like,” said Cadieux. “We certainly had a number of options available to us and those options included dissolving the club and selling the property to a developer and taking that money and distributing it amongst the members,” he said. “Then, we also had many different variations of rebuilding the club and ultimately, we had the path we ended up going down, which was a vote of our members to reinstate the club in exactly the same footprint it was before, using the insurance proceeds and that’s the direction we’ve been going the last two years,” he added. One of the most unpleasant parts of the ordeal was saying goodbye to staff members who did receive severance, but Cadieux says they were loyal to the club and its members and vice versa. On the positive side, just as the nearby businesses had taken in club members to keep them warm and Toronto Fire had been so helpful, more people rallied behind the club, including Toronto mayor John Tory and city councillors, particularly Josh Matlow. “I think everyone was firmly behind the concept of helping the club in any way they could in getting the building permits and the approvals we needed to move forward,” said Cadieux, a member of the board of directors for the Ontario Branch of the Canadian Society of Club Managers. What about the members? Would they disappear with all of the uncertainty and the time it took to rebuild?

That’s when competition got put to the side as clubs in the area rallied behind the club in its time of need. Cadieux says he also received offers of help from clubs across Canada and the United States.

“I think personally we did a lot of soul-searching during that time, along with the leadership of the board, our president Karen Wallace at the time, and our vice president Robert Martin,” he noted.



The main focus was not only rebuilding the club, but also keeping the members engaged while that happened. “It was going to take the better part of a year before we had any part of the building that we could actually occupy and probably two years before we had the full club back, so when you’re looking at that type of horizon, you start to wonder: are your members going to stay with you?” said Cadieux. Two years after the fire, the club is fully functional from an athletic point of view with a new wing with meeting rooms and permanent dining room and locker rooms due to open in the summer of 2020. Total membership numbers are where they were before the fire and there’s a year-long waiting list, but Cadieux credits the help from his friends at the other clubs who chose to help out a competing club in a time of need rather than profit from its misfortune. “I think there’s something to be learned about the relationship between the other clubs and the B&R and certainly, the managers of those clubs and myself,” said Cadieux. “We’re in a unique business I think and if you look at any other business across any other industry, there are competitors and I think that in most industries, if your competition was to burn to the ground, I think most of the other businesses would say, `Well, isn’t that great that there’s one less competitor now and perhaps, the people who were going to that business might now all come to us,’” he said. “That’s what we 100 percent did not get when we had the fire. We had every single club that’s within a reasonable distance of our club reach out to us, the managers personally going to their board of directors, seeing if they could take in our members, not because they wanted to steal them, but 26 | CLUB MANAGER QUARTERLY SUMMER 2019

in order to make sure (our members) were looked after while we figured ourselves out,” he added. “Not once did those clubs see our loss as an opportunity to gain. They only rallied around us, they only offered

support, they only looked for ways to be able to help us and I’m not sure I can point to another industry where something like that would happen,” said Cadieux.


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Driving Culture into Clubs Why organizational health is critical

front-line staff and the operational leaders that run the day-to-day.



hen we hear the word culture in the private club space, it is often linked to membership — those unspoken behaviours, mindsets, and social patterns that drive or influence the way people act and behave. All too often, we forget the biggest impact of your culture starts with your 28 | CLUB MANAGER QUARTERLY SUMMER 2019

Your club culture, whether it be actively managed or a “nice to get to” during the slow seasons, drives the way the organization is headed. Organizational culture or “organizational health,” as Patrick Lencioni (author of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team) refers to it, is our ONLY competitive advantage! Leaders, both strategic and operational, often struggle with organizational culture, yet it needs to be a higher priority for leaders. They know they want it, they know it can always be improved and they know it is “very hot” in business media.

Why is culture important? So if “culture eats strategy for breakfast,” as the saying goes, then why do

clubs and boards spend so much time on strategy and so little on culture? I would challenge any operational leadership team at a club to ask themselves: “What is our organizational culture? What have we done as a team to build a better organizational culture? Do we consider whether new hires will be able to ‘fit in’ to our existing culture?” But why is culture so important? The research done by Human Synergistics International and others show a direct correlation between organizational culture and outcomes such as employee engagement and client service. So, if you want engaged employees who are going to supply superior client service, then change your culture. Harvard Business Review states that “Organizational culture is the sum of values and rituals which serve as ‘glue’ to integrate the members of the organization.” CSCM.ORG




Peter Drucker, “the founder of modern management,” once famously said, “what gets measured gets 166% 682% REVENUE done!” I find this statement very interesting when it comes In this view, culture to clubs and organizais about “the story” tional culture. As boards in which people in STOCK 74% 901% transition in and out, the the organization are PRICES organizational culture embedded and live, as needs and should be well as the associated an overarching driver. values, beliefs, rituals, So why is organizational and traditions that reNET culture not measured at inforce that narrative of 1% 756% INCOME clubs? We measure evthe story. It also focuses erything from food costs attention on the imporand service times, to tance of symbols and Defensive cultures exist in organizations where members approach tasks how long it should take the need to understand in aggressive, forceful ways in order to protect their status and security. to cut a green or clean them — including the Constructive cultures  exist in organizations where members are a pool, yet culture is not unique lexicon used encouraged to work to their full potential and interact with others in measured. All too often in organizations — in collaborative ways that promote satisfaction and engagement. we hear, that this would order to understand be “nice to get to in the slower season” culture. 5am, to the rough not being cut, to or “we do not have human resources a member complaining about a to manage such initiatives.” Those We do hear often that while it is great specially ordered tennis racquet not responses indicate an unmanaged to talk about organizational culture, it arriving on time? organizational culture. An unmanaged is really “soft” stuff and does not have organization culture, good or bad, will as big an impact as the hard business A metaphor that is often used when always organically create itself. stuff, like cost controls and financial describing organizational culture is excellence. An extensive research study that of the iceberg: What you see by Kotter and Heskett in 1992 detailon the surface is different from, but So how do you measure culture? ing the corporate cultures of over 200 supported by, what is hidden beneath. organizations and how each organiThere is much emphasis put on what Several leading clubs are putting tools, zation’s culture affected its long-term we see at clubs. And yet it is what you time, and resources in the hands of economic performance, says otherwise. do not see, what you feel or sense their operational leaders and measuring “just how things are done around organizational culture. This will create a Their research found that organizational here,” that has more of an influence better understanding of the organizacultures with a strong emphasis on of the experience you create for your tional culture and how to leverage it as employees’ value, engaging customer members and guests. an enabler, not a detractor, of success, experience, and stakeholder commitfulfillment, sustainability, and overall ment not only encouraged leadership It is not fair for operational leaders to organizational well-being. from everyone in the firm, it was tanbe subjectively judged or measured on gible and actioned day after day. Over organizational culture, but they should Over the past 15 years, McKinley this eleven-year study, the numbers assume some of the responsibility. The Solutions has partnered with Human speak for themselves. leadership team should be the driving Synergistics as one of its main tool force behind culture — creating a culproviders. In particular demand these ture where employees are encouraged days is the Organizational Culture Organizational culture at private to think and act in positive, construcInventory™ (OCI). This assessment tool clubs tive ways. Boards, as the governance provides club managers with quantifiand strategic leaders of clubs should able measures on the intangibles, with Therein lies the challenge for private be adding objective organizational input from multiple stakeholders across clubs. How do we deal with orgaculture measurement as one measure the club, and it allows all stakeholders nizational culture when, for many to accurately assess the success of the to reflect on where they are today and private clubs, their primary focus is on operational team. where they see the club in the future maintaining the day-to-day operations with regards to culture. — from the hot tub breaking down at (Richard Perrin). Culture is a carrier of meaning. Culture provides not only a shared view of “what is,” but also of “why is.”



With the results of the OCI, the operational leadership team, and quite frankly, the staff as a whole, now have a road map to follow. It is not some outside person telling them what to fix and not fix, it is them telling each other where things need to go to improve.

Put a stake in the ground and define where you are today and ideally where you would like to be. Involve different stakeholders to truly see the realities and opportunities from multiple lenses.

A couple of private club success stories include: • Conducting an organizational culture analysis at a national sports organization provided the board clarity in their message and helped establish the accountability framework for their operational leadership team. • After a few training sessions focused on skills development, a senior staff at a private golf club completed both their OCI current and ideal. It was not the gap that was their focus but their range of perceptions. As a result, increased focus on perceptions and collaborations across departmental lines became their driving force. • From both cultural analysis and individual team effectiveness assessments, team leaders at a private athletic club were able to develop the department development plans and senior leadership was able to focus in on the organization- wide challenges.

Challenges for you and your board What does your learning and development plan look like for your senior leadership team? What learning opportunities are you creating for your seasonal staff? How will you be better in 2019 than you were in 2018? And what does organizational success look like? So where do you go from here? First, a couple of challenges for you: 1. Ask a seasonal staff member what the values of the club are. 2. Ask 2 managers how they judged candidates on how well they will fit with the organization. 3. Review your orientation process; do you cover organizational culture?

Dare to share and compare. At your next senior leadership team meeting, have everyone write down the answer to the following two questions: A) In one or two sentences define your organizational culture. (i.e., What does it takes to fit in?) B) What are the five core values of your organizational culture? Over the course of two to four weeks, work as a team to define your Organizational Health Playbook, by establishing answers to the following six questions. We encourage you to not limit your input to the senior leadership team. • Why do we exist? • How do we behave?

4. At your next management meeting, discuss what makes your club an employer of choice.

• What do we do?

And here are some elements you should be looking for during these challenges:

• What is important, right now?

1. All staff should know the values of the club, as they are the standards that create the experiences for members and guests on which they are judged. 2. Managers, while unique in their opinions, should have a shared understanding of the “type” of person that fits best with the organizational culture. Managers are hiring to serve the same membership, so some shared understanding is critical! 3. Orientation should be less compliance-based training. Proper orientation includes indoctrination to the club and this should occur at all levels. 4. Ideally, hiring managers should leverage the culture of the club to their benefit when recruiting. Unfortunately, the recruitment process is all too often just transactional, and skills-based.

With the bulk of the seasonal hiring complete, meet with the senior leadership team and share openly about your new hires. Include the ones you truly feel will fit with the culture of the club and add to it, and the ones that you hired to fill a role. Discuss and document five organizational culture anchor questions you will agree to use for ALL hires moving forward.

Here are some recommended opportunities that you should consider sooner rather than later.

Mark R. Thompson is a leadership development expert with McKinley Solutions in Oakville, ON.


• How will we succeed?

• Who must do what?

And with some further planning, look to your slow season and the introduction of an organizational culture assessment. Put a stake in the ground and define where you are today and ideally where you would like to be. Involve different stakeholders to truly see the realities and opportunities from multiple lenses. Agree that you will hold each other accountable to focusing energy, time, and resources to behavioural change.


WHAT Toro® Outcross 9060. ™

MATTERS Dozens of attachments. Hundreds of jobs. 365 days a year.

MOST Work smarter. Do More. Save money. What Matters Most to You Matters Most to Us. It’s a numbers game. You need to get more jobs done fast and right the first time, optimize your club’s resources and stay within budget. Toro’s new Outcross 9060, a multi-purpose and turf-friendly workhorse, combines purpose-built, all-season functionality with intuitive operation – with virtually anyone on your staff – and unprecedented versatility to deliver impressive results. Even better, Outcross can power your existing attachments utilizing its 3-point connection and power take-off*, haul over two tons in its supersized cargo/dump-bed, and tow up to 16,000 lbs. (7,257 kg)**, which is more than three times its own weight. The weight-balanced, fourwheel steer and full-time four-wheel drive powerhouse can get it all done without damaging sensitive turf. The all new Outcross 9060 is a Jack-of-all-trades, and Jack is jealous.

Call: 800-803-8676 Visit: ©2019 The Toro Company. All rights reserved. *Category 2 three-point, 540 PTO and universal skid steer mount style. **Trailer weight, when equipped with trailer brakes.



Aspirational Goal The path to improving golfer satisfaction



ne wouldn’t necessarily peg Tokyo as a place where golf and innovation would come together to help plan the future of the sport. However, in hindsight, Tokyo, which seamlessly aligns innovation with tradition, was the ideal host for this unique bi-annual event. At the 5th Golf Innovation Symposium presented by the USGA in conjunction with the Japan Golf Association (JGA), we had the fortunate opportunity to sit with and learn from some of the greatest minds and influencers in golf. Some of the messages were anticipated yet quite relevant to those who manage clubs with golf facilities, and other points were far more thought-provoking.

buttoned-up golf official or stereotypical ambassador for the game. He is a 38-year-old golf videographer, journalist and most importantly, huge advocate for the game. Erik is the host of a golf travel podcast and online golf channel, updating golfers on a weekly basis about what’s happening in the world of golf and his latest golf adventures. In Erik’s elegant yet welcoming and casual way, he makes you think about golf in a way that many golfers have likely forgotten: that it’s about what’s in your head, the land, the physics, the journey, and the people that you connect with. This was a fresh and welcoming reminder that golf should never be above anyone.

One of the first observations was that the moderator for the symposium, Erik Anders Lang, is not your typical

Erik fell into the game at 30 years old and has since been captivated by all the amazing reasons why golf contin-


ues to be one of the best games in the world. In all of Erik’s messaging it is clear that through his lens, the game is strong and wonderful the way it is but there is certainly room for change if we want the game to touch as many people as possible.

Here are two key messages to ponder from Erik: 1. Barriers – Golf stereotypes and barriers need to be removed for entry; “Posh only sport,” cost, geography, dress code, number of holes required for play… there are more rules and dos and don’ts that are far too intimidating to attract new and younger players. 2. Fun – Who said golf can’t be fun? If you look at the stereotypes above CSCM.ORG


and you think about your club, we all know how many barriers there are to entry and having fun. As operators, we need to be advocates of making the game fun. Think of ways that are less intimidating for new players to get into the game and how to make your events more social. Think beyond your facility and what you are doing to advocate the game, in schools, parks, the streets… it doesn’t matter where, get people playing the game. For more on Erik, you can find him on instagram (@erikanderslang), YouTube (eriklang12), or listen to his podcast The Erik Anders Lang Show. Amongst having fun and breaking down barriers to entry, sustainability continues to be at the forefront of many discussions around the game. Though widely used, this term has many meanings. According to the Oxford dictionary, economic sustainability is “the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level” and in relation

Think of ways that are less intimidating for new players to get into the game and how to make your events more social.

” to resource management, “avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance.” With the hospitality industry in mind and in particular member clubs, both definitions remain quite rele-

vant. The symposium included global speakers focusing on a singular goal of “strengthening the long-term health of the game.” In Tokyo, Mike Davis, the USGA Executive Director stated: “The USGA has set a path forward to demonstrate our commitment to advancing the game toward a stronger, healthier, and more sustainable future. We can only achieve this goal by fostering truly meaningful conversation and impactful innovation among golf facilities, which form the backbone of the industry and provide the product that golfers around the world enjoy every day.” An aspirational goal to be sure. In order to move forward, we need to provide an historical context. As Maya Angelou once said, “I have great respect for the past. If you don’t know where you’ve come from, you don’t know where you’re going.” At the 2017 Golf Innovation Symposium held in Vancouver, the USGA put forth CLUB MANAGER QUARTERLY SUMMER 2019 | 33


a challenge statement, with a goal to “Reduce critical resource consumption by 25 percent while improving golfer satisfaction by 20 percent by 2025.” The challenge statement was carried forward to Tokyo, which will serve as the two major focuses of this article. Over the two (2) days in Tokyo, 20 presentations provided an overview of current themes, trends, and data-driven decision-making systems to aid/ enforce the challenge statement. Two presentations stood out to us and will be summarized, as each provides a relevant context for the two main components of the challenge statement: 1. Reducing critical resource consumption by 25 percent (Presentation “New View of Data: USGA GPS Service case studies at Kasumigaseki CC and Crandon Golf”)

(Image above) The USGA Resource Management tool features a user-friendly interface that empowers superintendents and facility managers to perform ‘what-if’ analyses and develop models that quantify the financial impacts of proposed changes in maintenance.

2. Improving golfer satisfaction by 20 percent by 2025 (Presentation “Defining Golfer Experience: First look at new research that identifies the most important factors impacting satisfaction”) Prior to providing a summary of point #1, let’s provide context on the history of sustainable systems utilized by the USGA in relation to resource management. Regarding the Green Section History: “In 1920, E.J. Marshall, a Toledo, Ohio, attorney and then Green Committee chairman for the Inverness Club, was in charge of course preparations for the U.S. Open Championship. He sought, but could not find, impartial and authoritative agronomic information. His efforts led him to the USGA and the United States Department of Agriculture. The two organizations agreed to collaborate in the development of scientific information relating to golf course turf. Thus, on November 30, 1920, the Executive Committee of the United States Golf Association formally created the USGA Green Section.” The formation of the USGA Green Section was a critical moment for the golf industry, as the USGA focused on ecological sustainability/resource 34 | CLUB MANAGER QUARTERLY SUMMER 2019

(Image above) Another key feature of the application is the ability to generate visual mapping of golfer traffic, allowing facility managers to focus maintenance and resources on the areas that are most heavily used, while reducing unnecessary costs on acreage that has little to no impact on golfer experience. CSCM.ORG


management through data-driven decision making. Many premier Canadian member clubs utilize the USGA Green Section to assist with the management of a golf club’s largest cost centre — the golf course. This brings us back to point #1 — Reducing critical resource consumption by 25 percent. With the backing of the USGA Green Section and other researchers, additional data-driven decision-making tools are being introduced to our industry. A game changer is the USGA Resource Management tool. According to the USGA, “using GPS data, the new USGA product gives facilities an accurate picture of player traffic to help them manage resources, increase productivity, and serve the golfer.” The program provides club leaders data which allows them to improve input (e.g. water, labour, pesticides, and fertilizers) efficiencies resulting in decreased costs. Having the benefit of an agronomic background, this data-driven tool resonates. Typically, the golf course maintenance budget is a club’s largest cost centre. At the

Symposium, research presented showed increased labour costs >7percent over the last 24 months and other input costs continue to increase. As a reminder, the USGA’s goal is to reduce resource consumption costs by 25 percent. The USGA recognizes both labour and input costs will continue to increase through 2025. Therefore, the goal is to provide tools to decrease labour and input with the goal of achieving a net zero gain by 2025. Two golf facility case studies were utilized to highlight the value of this data-driven tool. The 2nd component of the Challenge statement — Improving golfer satisfaction by 20 percent by 2025, focuses on the enhancement of the player experience. The player experience speaks to touchpoints. According to the Oxford dictionary, a touchpoint is defined as “a point of contact or interaction, especially between a business and its customers or consumers.” In our member club environment, in many cases a club’s sustainability depends on the relevance and success of the membership touchpoints.

One presentation which epitomized the importance of touchpoints relating to improving golfer satisfaction was “Defining Golfer Experience: First look at new research that identifies the most important factors impacting satisfaction.” The research was facilitated by Eric Brey, Professor, University of Wisconsin-Stout and Kris Schoonover, Associate Professor, University of Wisconsin-Stout. The initial goal of the research project was to determine the touchpoints which have a direct impact on both member satisfaction and dissatisfaction. The outcome allowed Professor Brey and Associate Professor Schoonover the ability to produce data directed at providing information to facilities to reverse the recent industry trend of downward golf facility revenues. The research generated multiple touchpoints that a golfer experiences at a golf facility. The research broke down into three phases: Phase #1 – Overall experience touchpoints — utilization of focus groups to determine what touchpoints are important to the member. CLUB MANAGER QUARTERLY SUMMER 2019 | 35


Phase #2 – Time — How much time impacts overall satisfaction. Phase #3 – Golfer satisfaction — What are the touchpoints that add to member overall satisfaction or overall dissatisfaction. In fact, the research found a member and guest comes in contact with approximately 1,000 touchpoints during a club visit. The researchers determined that each member goes through a “player experience journey” during each club visit. The “player experience journey” is a circular process that does not have a starting or end point and consists of five stages that encompass the touchpoints:

Step 1 Engage Step 5 Extend

Step 4 Exit

Step 2 Arrive

Step 3 Golf

Key touchpoints that affect each stage of the player experience journey: Step 1 – Engage: (touchpoints that exist before the golfer arrives) • Research found that members want to be engaged by the club. • Examples of various engage touchpoints include: advertisements, programming, flexibility, digital footprint, barriers, course persona, pricing, and inquiries.

Step 2 – Arrive: (when the golfer first arrives to the facility and prior to the first tee) • Research found that members want to feel welcomed and want to ensure barriers to their visit are removed. • Examples of various arrive touchpoints include: facilities, amenities, technology, staff interactions, process and flow, fees and rates, and course information.

Step 3 – Golf: (1st tee box to the 18th tee) • Research showed pace is critical to satisfaction. • Examples of various golf touchpoints include: course design, fairway — rough — bunkers, tees, and greens, 36 | CLUB MANAGER QUARTERLY SUMMER 2019

pace of play, services features, employee interaction, and general course characteristics.

Step 4 – Exit: (Après golf, including exiting the club) • Research showed this touchpoint is the most underrated or undervalued aspect by the club (from a member perspective). • Examples of various exit touchpoints include: amenities, interactions, guest services, signage, facilities, incentives, and interaction.

presentations relate to golf simulators, commonly referred to as “screen golf” in Asia. The presentation “The Reality of Simulators: What the golf industry can learn from how indoor facilities are introducing newcomers to the game” presented research findings of the impact of golf simulators (screen golf) and its impact on the introduction of newcomers to the game. The research found 87 percent of “screen golfers” converted/tried the game on the golf course following “screen golf” participation. As member clubs have either introduced or are considering introducing “screen golf” to the amenity offering, this data is relevant when discussing with members, boards, and team members. In summary, the opportunity to attend the 5th Golf Innovation Symposium in Tokyo, a dynamic metropolitan city of approximately 13.8 million people, coupled with the opportunity to enjoy the sights, sounds, and traditions of the Japanese culture made for a wonderfully rewarding experience. For more information about the 2019 Innovation Symposium,visit this site:

has left the club)

Special thanks go out to Kris Jonasson, BC Golf Executive Director, who encouraged and supported the opportunity to attend.

• Research showed that members want to be engaged by the club in between club visits. • Examples of various extend touchpoints include: personal engagement, digital contact, incentives, and value creation.

Mike Ridout, MBA, is a 13-year CSCM member, a former Director of the CSCM Ontario Chapter and a current member of the CSCM National Membership Committee. Mike is the GM/COO of the Oshawa Golf & Curling Club in Oshawa, ON.

From a member club leadership perspective, the question you may want to consider is: How is your club managing each stage of your club’s player experience journey?

Adam Zubek, CCM, is a nine-year CSCM Member, a current Director of the CSCM Pacific Branch and a current member of the CSCM National Membership Committee. Adam is the GM/COO of the Point Grey Golf & Country Club in Vancouver, BC.

Step 5 – Extend: (after the member

An additional observation from the Symposium ‘player experience’ CSCM.ORG


Embracing New Opportunities for Success

LINDSEY CHRISTENSEN VGM Club Canada Becoming one of Canada’s most prestigious tennis clubs isn’t something that happens by accident. It requires top-notch facilities for training and play, an unrivaled social scene, and of course, world-class service for members of every age. The historic Toronto Lawn Tennis Club has been checking those boxes for nearly 150 years. Located in midtown Toronto, its reputation has led it to become a favourite spot for some of the most prolific tennis players of the past century. And as any great tennis player will say, it takes constant improvement to stay on top. As Toronto Lawn Tennis Club’s new Assistant Director of Food and Beverage, Laura Shackleton couldn’t agree more. “It’s all about elevating the member experience,” said Laura, who has been in the hospitality industry her entire career. Joining the club in January of 2019, she’s already found an opportunity to do just that through their VGM Club membership. “Our club was already enrolled with VGM when I came aboard,” Laura stated. “By notifying VGM of our current suppliers, we’re receiving rebates and saving on the products we’re already buying.” This simple step is bringing tremendous value to the club. Laura expects the club’s food and beverage purchases to lower

Laura Shackleton, Assistant Director of Food and Beverage

month to month, allowing her to more easily hit targeted food and liquor percentage goals. And with new deals constantly coming in, there are always opportunities to save. “I really like the program, especially the emails. They come directly to us with offers we can instantly start using,” Laura said. “I click, and all the work is already done for me. VGM takes the guesswork out of poking around for value.” These newfound dollars will be put to good use. Rebates and savings will allow the Toronto Lawn Tennis Club to make upgrades for members and offset costs. While Laura is focusing on VGM’s value with food and beverage, she’s found other places to save due to the club’s membership. “Including the tennis, wellness, and fitness programs would increase the benefits we receive,” said Laura. “By getting the entire club on board to use the same brands, we get more rebates, use less suppliers, and create a more

uniform guest experience.” Laura offered this piece of advice for other clubs looking to stay on top like the Toronto Lawn Tennis Club. “There has to be some aspect of your club that could benefit from VGM,” said Laura. “There’s always something you’re already ordering that’s covered. A VGM membership is a no-brainer.”

Serving social clubs throughout Canada since 2003, VGM Club offers members discounted pricing and rebates on a wide variety of products. A number of vendors are available through its network of manufacturers and distributors. Membership with VGM Club is complimentary for CSCM members. Learn more about how you could benefit from VGM Club by visiting


ts n e v E g n i m Upco 2019 2019



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Club Manager Quarterly - Summer 2019  

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