12.18 PCA

FACILITY IMPROVEMENT: THINKING LONG-TERM…

Your golf course bunkers are becoming timeworn, so you update them. The dining areas are a bit shabby, so you redecorate. An aging kitchen creates production problems, so you buy some new equipment. It sounds like a good approach to facility upkeep, right? Wrong, says Bill McMahon, Jr., of the club facilities planning firm The McMahon Group. 

“Time and time again we find boards and their architects approaching club facility needs with little thought about strategic, financial and member attracting needs of their clubs,” McMahon said in the company publi- cation, The McMahon Report. He said club leaders may have little or no understanding of their club’s mis- sion or purpose, and may react with quick-fix improvements rather than planning with long-term strategic objectives in mind.

“By not identifying strategic issues regarding membership, finances, programs and facility needs first, the results are millions of dollars being spent on projects that appeal to vocal groups of existing members, but do not attract one single new member,” McMahon warned.

The strategic mindset is essential for thinking through the potential ramifications of club projects as well. One club in the Midwest spent over one million dollars adding an outdoor dining patio but did not account for the annual operating costs the new area would incur, i.e., additional service labor, additional kitchen labor and furniture replacement. To make matters worse, the new outdoor dining patio cannibalized existing restaurant services so the club did not see an increase in food and beverage revenue as was expected. Taking all of this into account prior to moving forward with the project may have persuaded the club to invest in a project more beneficial to the club.