The H. Chambers Company

Should Golf Course Renovations Take First Priority for Private Clubs?

Hitting golf ballIn the past, a huge portion of the private club industry has lived by one cardinal rule: Golf is king. Whenever there is extra money to spend, many clubs naturally assume that the funds should be used on golf course enhancements. But as the old saying goes: “To assume is to be deceived.”

Every year clubs funnel thousands of dollars into resurfacing greens, improving bunkers, altering tee boxes… the list goes on and on. But the world is changing – and so is the club industry. Gone are the days when maintaining a pristine golf course was enough to attract and retain a loyal membership. Member needs and desires are shifting and the club industry is trying its best to keep up with these shifts.  While golf is a large part of many club experiences, it no longer reigns supreme – meaning that the industry should begin looking at golf course renovations in a whole different light.

Read the rest of this entry »


Perspectives From the Other Side
6 Ways to Tackle a Multi-Generational Board

Each day, we realize more and more how unique the club industry is – and how it’s constantly changing. In fact, this is the first time in history that five generations are living and working under the same roof. Clubs must not only appeal to a diverse set of members, but also manage a multi-generational staff and club governance. Dealing with multi-generational club governments is a different kind of challenge, but it’s equally important for the health and vitality of your club.

Personally, I know what it’s like to go from being one of the youngest people in the room to one of the oldest. I was a General Manager of several clubs from age 21 to 55, and I’d often wonder where all the time went — particularly when I faced Board members or club presidents that were 15 years my junior. It was always strange and sometimes trying, especially when my ideas (which I developed from years of industry experience) were challenged. I’ve heard many seasoned General Managers question how they should handle multi-generational Boards, especially when each Board member seems to have fundamentally different opinions about every topic under the sun. Read the rest of this entry »


5 Easy Reads for Private Club Managers

5 Books for Club Managers
There are millions of books out there claiming to provide value, but private club managers are busy people — and there’s no way to sink your teeth into everything. Instead, it’s about reading the right things – and we’re here to help! Here are the easiest and most valuable reads out there for club managers looking to improve their performance as leaders and industry experts. Check them out. You won’t be sorry!

Read the rest of this entry »


Spanning the Ages
Responding to Today’s Cross-Generational Private Club Memberships

Cross Generational Private Club Facilities Unlike the private clubs of the past, today’s memberships are diverse in every way – particularly when it comes to age. In response, the focus of club facilities and programming has begun to shift: How can we cater to everyone without over-generalizing? How can we provide the feeling of home for seasoned members, while still satisfying the needs of single professionals and families? What are the best ways to bring multiple generations with entirely different attitudes and desires together?

Clubs across the country are recognizing the need to satisfy cross-generational memberships. One club that has done this remarkably well is St. Clair Country Club. “Demands on people’s time – not just for the 30 to 40-year-olds, but for everyone – are incredible. They’re all different, but they’re growing regardless. When there’s an opportunity to spend quality time together doing things that they actually enjoy – that’s valuable,” says Steve Gonzalez, General Manager of St. Clair Country Club.

Read the rest of this entry »


Repair or Replace
Taking a Proactive Approach to Club Maintenance

Repairing Private Club Facilities Despite the economy’s growing strength, clubs are still feeling the burn from the Great Recession.  During the economic downturn, many private clubs retired their full-time maintenance staff in favor of yearly consultants and “band aid” maintenance solutions. This left many general managers with ill-maintained clubs that were held together by shoestring budgets and duct tape. Now that prospects are brighter, it’s become more important than ever to repair neglected areas – and proactively approach to facility maintenance in the future.

The state of the economy aside, there’s an endless number of reasons to stay on top of club maintenance: diminished member experience, potential long-term costs, safety issues, liability concerns… you get the idea. But taking a smart approach to club maintenance is easier said than done.

What are common problem areas for clubs?

One of the most common areas requiring regular maintenance is the club’s HVAC system. Though most units will run strong for 15-20 years, they need regular maintenance to operate at optimum levels and live to their full potential. A failing HVAC system will not jeopardize any buildings, but it’ll most certainly inconvenience members. Keep an eye on your HVAC systems and service them regularly – before they go down.

Read the rest of this entry »


Green By Association
How Environmental Management Programs Help Clubs Stay Ahead of Sustainability Trends

Private Club Sustainability As sustainability becomes a priority for emerging generations, private clubs must begin contemplating their role in maintaining the club itself and its surrounding properties. Despite the growing public concern about the environment, 65% of general managers said that their club could make more sustainability efforts according to Chambers’ “Club of the Future” survey. Though there are many ways that clubs can go green, conservation programs like Audubon International help clubs not only execute sustainability efforts, but also display these efforts to current and potential members.

“Getting certified can help courses understand what they are lacking and they’re doing well in terms of sustainability,” explains Tara Donadio, Audubon International’s Director of Cooperative Sanctuary Programs. Audubon International, a 25-year-old nonprofit that champions environmental conservation in public spaces, offers a program that focuses exclusively on golf courses. “Our largest program – the Audubon Sanctuary Program for Golf – works with public, private, and resort courses to help educate them on how to reduce their environmental impact,” says Donadio.

Read the rest of this entry »