The H. Chambers Company

Perspectives from the Other Side:
What Private Club Pros Should Know About the American Health Care Act

Brad Steele Golf Club Law and Policy

Brad Steele is the VP of Government Relations & General Counsel for the National Club Association

It’s certainly no secret that politics are a point of contention for many, especially in the wake of the controversial 2016 presidential election. But when you look beyond the divisive figureheads, dizzying rhetoric, and party politics, you’ll ultimately find that what happens in D.C. has resounding effects on our nation’s businesses — private clubs included. It’s important to stay informed on how political tides will impact not only you as a general manager or club leader, but also the employees that depend on you and the club members that you serve.

Of course, no one said that navigating this world was easy. You have to not only understand the jargon and terminologies, but also wrap your head around complex policies and see how their mandates impact not just day-to-day club operations, but the economy at large.

Recently, the American Health Care Act was withdrawn from consideration after it unexpectedly failed to gain support from the Republican majority in the House of Representatives. For many in the private club industry, this was a monumental loss. But why?

In truth, there’s no better person to explain what this means for clubs than Brad Steele, the Vice President of Government Relations and General Counsel for the National Club Association (NCA), the trade association for the private club industry. He’s one of the voices on Capitol Hill that help Congress members better understand private clubs and how their policies impact the industry. Steele has deep roots in Washington. In addition to his current role as a lobbyist, he has also served as a judge and worked for the Vice President’s Office. He has even run for Congress — against Mike Pence no less! On a more personal level, I’ve known Brad for over 11 years and I can say that he is well liked by club managers across the nation for being an industry advocate.

In this interview, I asked him share his insights into why the fate of this bill matters for private clubs and how the happenings in Washington impact the industry at large.

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Striking the Balance:
Cape Fear Country Club’s Ambitious Renovations Appeal to All

Never forget where you came from, but don’t let that stop you from where you are going. Sound familiar? This aphorism addresses an age-old question that has plagued many private clubs over the years: How can we move into the future and embrace a new generation without abandoning our loyal, seasoned members? Read the rest of this entry »

4 Private Club Sustainability Practices That Boost the Bottom Line

Many industry professionals hold the misguided belief that sustainability efforts are a costly “all or nothing” initiative. For some, “sustainability” implies funneling club capital into fancy heating controls, NASA-grade air filtration systems, and pricey energy-efficient appliances. But you don’t have to explode your budget or go “off the grid” to be sustainable. In fact, there are many simple, environmentally-friendly measures your club can utilize to lower operational costs – and boost the bottom line!

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Designing for Diversity:
Interior Design for an Enhanced Club Experience

The phrase “club interior design” often spurs a very distinct set of images in one’s mind: subdued colors, classic stripe and plaid patterns, dark woods, etc. In the past, this traditional style was pervasive among private clubs. But as the importance of enticing younger demographics increases to keep the dues flowing, clubs are beginning to look towards alternative styles for their interiors.

“Club design is far more stratified than it used to be. Many clubs are starting to become more exploratory in their interiors and embracing the idea of ‘transitional design,’ which isn’t a hundred percent traditional or contemporary,” says Chambers’ Vice President and Director of Interior Design Charlie Turner. While it’s important to keep in mind that every club is different, in today’s market, few clubs can successfully don the more formal designs of yesteryear.

Instead, clubs are embracing the kinds of interiors that today’s (and tomorrow’s) diverse memberships enjoy. These forward-thinking private club interior…

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The Art of Planning on a Budget:
Four Value-Driven Qualities to Search for in a Master Planning Firm


It is no surprise that selecting the right planning partner can make or break a club’s master planning process. You want facilities that wow current members, improvements that strengthen operations, and amenities that attract prospective members… all at a price point that suits your club’s budget.

While a plan’s features are certainly important, the numbers that support the plan usually garner the most attention from members. Remaining within – and preferably well below – budget is essential, but it can also be one of the most difficult aspects of the planning process. “One of the greatest challenges any master planning company faces is providing a high level of value while remaining within budget,“ says Chambers’ Vice President and Director of Planning John Snellinger, “We want to give members exactly what they want without eclipsing the club’s financial restrictions.”

It may be challenging, but it’s definitely not impossible. There are qualities you can search for in your planning firm that will help you gain the most value from your plan – financially and otherwise. To maximize the benefits of the master planning process, a club’s ideal planning firm will… Read the rest of this entry »

Members on the Move: Building Junior Programs That Stand the Test of Time
Part I: Free-Form Outdoor Activities Pack a Punch


As the private club industry shifts toward family-oriented amenities, building an active youth program is becoming an invaluable feature. Still, creating these programs can be daunting. The ideal youth program is expected to entertain, provide educational value, foster a sense of community, and create positive memories that last a lifetime. Quite a tall order, to say the least! In this three part series, we delve into the best practices for organizing a youth program that will delight kids and bring families together. In Part One, we consult industry experts to explore the benefits of free-form, nature-oriented activities that will have kids begging their parents to go to the club!

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