With discerning members expecting more from their club experience on a constant basis, it will be interesting to observe the next wave of transformation that comes about as a result of smart clubs staying on the move.
Will Rogers had it right when he opined, “Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”
A lot of golf courses and clubs got run over in the past 10 years. That’s not to say all of them were “just sitting there,” but it’s a safe bet that any number of them were.
On the other hand, many, many more courses and clubs dealing with the harsh reality and impact of a severe economic recession back in 2008 kept moving and achieved a remarkable transformation of their business model and raison d’etre. As a result, today’s club market is more stable and enduring than it has been in a number of years.
An anecdote provided by a top-flight private club GM/CEO during a recent lunch summarized perfectly a key aspect of the transformation. In the “old days,” a club tour conducted by the GM with a prospective member and his wife focused on the golf course, men’s grille, dining room, and locker room(s). There was not much else to see (maybe the pool and/or tennis courts) and not many questions were asked—golf was the compelling, determining factor in the husband’s decision to join. Those of you reading this who have more than a few gray hairs and have been around for a while know what I am talking about.
Fast forward to a club tour today, and while golf is given its proper due, the focus of the GM’s attention is likely on the wife and the facilities, programs, and amenities that make the club an attractive option for her and the family—especially so if she is not all that much into golf.
A diverse F&B program with indoor and outdoor dining and tasty, healthy menu options—got it. A resort-style pool with aquatics programs and a casual dining area—got it. A fitness facility with plenty of room, first-class equipment, and a variety of managed programs and classes—got it. A focus on kids’ programming for year-round engagement—got it. Custom activities and programs endemic to the club’s geographic region—got it.
With discerning members expecting more from their club experience on a constant basis, it will be interesting to observe in the coming years the next wave of transformation that comes about as a result of smart clubs staying on the move. You can rely on C&RB to observe and report on these newest of ideas and trends from clubs all around the country.
For a good example, check out the article in our September issue on how The Milbrook Club, at age 95, has transformed its facilities and programming to stay relevant in an especially competitive market.
In other news, we are doing some “transforming” of our own. I am pleased to announce that Sean Carr has joined the C&RB team as Associate Publisher. Sean is an experienced business media executive and will play a pivotal role in driving the continued growth of both Club & Resort Business and Chef to Chef magazines and their related industry events and digital and social-media offerings.
I look forward to working with Sean, and you will have the opportunity to meet and get to know him as he begins his travels to meet with readers and suppliers throughout the club and resort community.