|Rick Snellinger, CEO of Chambers, speaks during the 8th Presidents' Council.|
Forward-thinking ideas highlight 8th Annual Presidents' Council
The Golf Association of Philadelphia conducted its 8th Annual Presidents’ Council March 28 at Waynesborough Country Club.
More than 110 GAP Member Club presidents, general managers, presidents and club officials attended the seminar, which aims to educate key personnel on topics and issues affecting the golf industry. Forward-thinking initiatives highlighted the event.
“For the past few years, whenever folks in the club world got together, the phrases that you normally heard were ‘in decline’ and ‘under stress,’” GAP President Frank E. Rutan, IV said. “Today we’re not using them; they’re out of the lexicon. We’re not going to talk about the past; we’re going to talk about the future — how we can grow and thrive.”
Featured speakers Scot Duke, CEO and President of Innovative Business Golf Solutions; James Singerling, CEO of the Club Managers Association of America; and Rick Snellinger, CEO of Chambers, a planning firm, addressed topics geared toward club growth. Duke delved into social media, a world uncharted by approximately 85 percent of the private club industry.
|GAP President Frank E. Rutan, IV & Scot Duke|
When a club does decide to chart this territory, whether via Facebook or Twitter, it shouldn’t use other entities as a model, according to Duke.
“There isn’t a template for social media,” he said. “What you determine to use in social media has to fit your mission, your goal and your purpose. You have to have a voice. You want to go for quality instead of quantity.”
Snellinger addressed planning trends within the club industry. Clubs can improve their respective membership experiences by striving to offer “superior recreational and social experiences.”
“When we do that, we increase our member value and have unsurpassed member satisfaction,” Snellinger said.
Clubs should also look to maximize space at their current facilities before considering expansion, Snellinger said. Sound yet creative planning can strengthen a club’s longevity.
“If you could build and design the Taj Mahal, regardless of the cost, and you could do it over a weekend, and you put it out to a vote, you’d have 20 percent say they like the club just the way it is,” Snellinger said. “You’d have another 20 percent of the membership that says ‘I’ve seen the Taj Mahal. It’s very nice but I’ve seen bigger and better and I want it. I’m willing to pay for it.’ To keep your sanity, focus your planning on the 60 percent in the middle.”
Singerling focused on club benchmarking, a new CMAA program that allows officials to access data necessary for making operational decisions.
“You can go on [to the Web site] during a meeting and find out where you lie in any area. You’ll decide where you lie in that percentile,” Singerling said. “This is about getting you business information that allows you to make good business decisions.”
|James Singerling, GAP Executive Director Mark Peterson |
& Ray Cronin
“When you’re making the decisions, if you can make them with data, it’s a heck of a lot of easier than when you’re flying by the seat of your pants,” Ray Cronin, a CMAA partner who joined Singerling in presenting club benchmarking to the organization, added.
The CMAA benchmarking database costs $149-169 per month. More than 1,000 clubs are currently involved in the program.
Founded in 1897, the Golf Association of Philadelphia (GAP) is the oldest regional golf association in the United States and serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. Its 145 Member Clubs and 57,000 individual members are spread across parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. As Philadelphia’s Most Trusted Source of Golf Information, the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.