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Private Club Value

Building Clubs of the Future

We have come to believe that old, familiar patterns never change. I don’t know about you, but if you have not noticed, we are living at a time of extraordinary changes. As we are still learning, we are picking it up fast and making change work for us, and in 2008, Clubs of the Future saw opportunities where others saw peril. Thomas Edison reminds us that “a vision without an execution is a hallucination”. Planning for growth and visualizing yourself bringing your club into the future is utmost rewarding, and it is my passion.

Welcome to Private Club Value – a web-site that reflects my views and beliefs of the Club Industry present and as to how Clubs of the Future are an essential part of reshaping American dynamism. In other words, clubs stuck in the past will have to ask themselves – “What happened to the Future?”

I started my club career in 1991. Humble beginnings into an industry that I have come to love. I managed the food and beverage operation of an investor owned semi-private facility that then was taken private in the fall of the same year. Brooks McArthy built his club from the ground up. Blood, sweat and tears and his own money. In spring of 1994, I took on the Clubhouse Director’s position at Sunset Hills CC in Edwardsville, Il. My first experience with committees, boards and policies that only told you what you can’t do. All this happened during a time the golf course industry went through a building boom, driven by developers who used golf courses as amenities to sell homes. Eventually, as we all know today, the growth became impossible to sustain that left many golf course owners with a real estate equivalent of an unplayable lie.

In 2000 I seized the opportunity to take on my “own” club to manage. Baytown, Texas, just east of downtown Houston at the mouth of Goose Creek. Goose Creek CC was rich of a past that was associated with Humble Oil. However, the club wore the signs of its day. Underfunded, an aging membership and a declining demographic. Yet, there was something unique about this “aging Exxon Club.” It was the members’ belief that it was utmost important to support the club for its community. Supported by a few for many, I led the club through a successful re-chartering process that was as adventurous as my tenure in Texas. It was what I call, a once in a life-time experience; an experience they don’t teach in business school.

But it all started in the summer of 2003 which changed my view of the club industry and how to build clubs of the future. That year I was hired as General Manager at Raleigh Country Club. One would have called it a career suicide taking on the management of a club during bankruptcy. For me, it was another opportunity. It was the last course designed by Donald Ross; it was the best course in the City of Oaks, it just happened to be in bankruptcy, and it just happened to be a Cinderella story when John McConnell stepped up and purchased the club. McConnell Golf was born and 12 clubs later, I am very proud to share a journey and idea with my readers as to how to Build Clubs of the Future. It starts with the “Why” and it starts with realizing that members of today and tomorrow view themselves as customers and no longer as owners.

In closing, I would like to thank all my management staff and partners at McConnell Golf, John McConnell for extending me the opportunity to lead his organization today and to the club industry mentors like Gregg Patterson and Tarun Kapoor, who made a profound impact on my managerial life. Enjoy my blogs. It starts with the "Why" -  Building Clubs from the Inside Out.





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