6 Keys for Effective Club Governance

Running a club is no easy feat. Between board pressures, customer demands, and the challenge of keeping a clubhouse, golf course, and other amenities running, it’s no wonder both employees and managers often feel overwhelmed.

Fortunately, it doesn’t have to always feel like that. A large part of leadership is organization, and establishing a productive pattern of governance at your club can make a difference for years to come. Whether you already have systems in place or you’re just realizing you might need some, the following steps will help you as you lead your club to the best year yet.

Key 1: Leadership Structure

Many clubs have a management structure, but not all have a clearly defined leadership structure. What does that mean? A management structure is simply the roles and responsibilities of an organization, including General Manager, Head Pro, and Cashier. There is a clear structure, and everybody knows who is over whom, but it is not always clear who is leading.

Leadership in a club

A leadership structure means ensuring that employees know who they can turn to when they have a question or a complaint, and who they cannot turn to. It means having a plan in place for how each manager will give those under their leadership skills for life, not just the job. It means creating an organization that they want to be a part of.

Key 2: Communication

We’ve heard the tired saying “Communication is key,” but nobody ever dives into what that really means. We’ll break it down into two components:

  1. Interpersonal Communication
  2. Organizational Communication

This means the kind of communication that happens between every member of your club, from the GM down to the cashier. Establishing rules and methods for communication will make things much easier.

For example, if you’re going to be late, do you text or call? And how soon before you’re there do you call in? What kind of language is inappropriate? What language is expected? The answers to these questions (and others like them) will help establish all-star interpersonal communication.

A communicative general manager

Not all communication happens between individuals. Often, a manager will need to talk with many employees or the whole company. Establishing regular methods will ensure that everybody gets the message the first time.

Regular (weekly or bi-weekly) meetings help with this. Make sure you come with an agenda and questions to discuss so that the meeting flows quickly and is productive for everyone. A quick, 10-minute meeting at the beginning or end of the day can help promote team unity and solve a lot of quick problems, too.

Key 3: A Strategic Plan

It might seem obvious that a company needs a strategic plan for operation, but many people start a club and simply expect that people will show up. That might have been true 40 years ago, but the advent of technology demands that all clubs be on their A-game in terms of advertising and strategy.

There are many consulting firms that can help with strategy, but with how much information there is on the internet, that might not be totally necessary. Sources like Medium and Harvard Business Review give the most relevant, useful information in business.

If you’re looking for something more immediate, foreUP has an ebook with information on how to implement a successful marketing plan.

Key 4: Stay out of the rough

When you meet with the board, make sure that they keep on the “greens” (strategic issues) and leave the operational issues and decisions to the general manager. Although they may have some incredible ideas for how to help the day-to-day operations, the time to share those is not in a board meeting. Keep the conversation focused on the big picture, and offer to schedule in time for smaller, operational decisions.

Key 5: Listen the club members

This is another frequently repeated bit of advice, but with technology its implementation becomes much easier. Customer satisfaction software is easily available, and some even integrate with tee sheet and member management systems. This makes it easy for managers to take customers’ ideas and make them a reality, or fix things that cause repeated dissatisfaction.

Manager talking with customers

Key 6: Tap outside experience

We did mention that you can make a strategic plan on your own thanks to the information available on the internet; however, that shouldn’t make you afraid to reach beyond the boundaries of your own organization for professional help if you need it.

Talk to or hire a professional consultant; attend conferences; consult other club owners. With the connectivity available through social media, you can find all the help that your club needs to make it through 2019 and every year after that.

Want to keep better track of members? Try out foreUP’s Billing Premier, the industry’s most advanced integrated billing software.