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Is Your Club Ready?
Is a recession in our near future?  I’m no economist, but enough of them are predicting one that it would seem prudent to prepare accordingly.  Some think it will be sooner than we might expect, as articulated by economist Sven Henrich for CNN.  The president, running for re-election would prefer we view the economy more positively and credit him accordingly next November.

Regardless of how you view current economic conditions, the potential for economic downturn after 11 straight years of expansion warrants consideration, at the very least in planning your club’s future.  Pilots are taught to “stay ahead of the airplane” and what I am suggesting here is that golf and country clubs (especially member-owned), often burdened by a cumbersome decision-making process seek to similarly stay ahead by planning intelligently for the future.

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It’s not uncommon for some club leaders to become visibly disturbed when a member goes against the grain to avoid (but not violate) a club policy.  I recently observed this when a member waited to play until after the caddie requirement expired for the day.  It was a classic example of a dynamic that occurs at many clubs where some members (often club leaders) become passionate about all things club related to the point where even appropriately avoiding (but not violating) a specific club rule can spark a negative reaction from those members who have (literally or figuratively) assumed the role of club watchdog.

Conversely, I know of another club that recently gifted each of its members a personalized bottle of a specially blended, upscale whiskey complete with the member’s name and club logo embossed on the bottle to show appreciation for support of the club.

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Among the many challenges for private clubs today is planning for the future.  Private clubs, often being a collection of intelligent, successful and sometimes strongly opinionated members who join the club for different reasons usually means there’s no shortage of  a variety ideas and suggestions for the future of the club.

What’s best for the future of the club isn’t always easily recognizable by membership or even those involved in club leadership.  As discussed in my recent blog “Is Now the Time for Large Capital Projects”  the decision to embark on capital projects requires not only consideration of the issues intrinsic to the club, but also a look “outside the box” to other peer and competitive clubs in the market and the economic conditions in general.  Once it’s concluded that the club needs some capital, the question is how to proceed.

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