Implementing a Facility Planning Process

Forsyth Country Club

An essential part of a club manager’s responsibilities is maintaining attractive and efficient facilities.

An essential part of a club manager’s responsibilities is maintaining attractive and efficient facilities. Whether front or back of house deficiencies, a vigilant manager is the first to notice. When facilities fall below high-quality club standards and improvements are needed, the manager must assume the roles of leader and educator. However, in assuming these roles, the improvements cannot be seen as “manager self-serving” or “his/her project”. Below are the most effective ways we see managers participate in and guide facility projects.

  1. Monitor existing facility conditions (especially at budget-setting times) to recognize the club’s inability to properly maintain them.
  2. Communicate with the board about the facility deficiencies so they are well aware of the issue.
  3. Monitor members’ club usage to detect falloff in activity that might be facility related.
  4. Work with the club president to start the education process of getting the board up-to-date on the need for facility improvements.
  5. Survey the membership to confirm facility weakness, learn the importance of/prioritize specific facility projects and identify their willingness to pay for improvements.
  6. Use the survey results to build both board consensus and strategic direction on how and what to improve.
  7. Assist the president in selecting members to serve on a Facility Planning Committee.
  8. Assist in selecting the best facility planning consultant to design and direct the planning process to get the project approved. Do not hire the final architect until the club knows what it wants to build.
  9. Assist the Facility Planning Committee and consultant in determining project scope.
  10. Assist in developing the project’s funding model and operating cost impact.
  11. Assist the Committee and consultant with the communications program to the membership.
  12. After project approval, work with the president to select the members of a Design & Construction Committee.
  13. Assist the Committee in selecting the final design consultants, architect, interior and kitchen designers, specialty consultants and construction contractor.
  14. Actively participate in all design meetings to provide input on functional use of space.
  15. Hire a project manager to monitor and coordinate the project during construction. They will report to the manager as a club employee. Under no circumstances should the manager be required to monitor both the project and day-to-day club operations simultaneously.
  16. Actively participate in all aspects of construction.
  17. Coordinate occupancy with governing agencies upon project completion.
  18. Work with the architect, consultants, designers and contractor to assure all work is completed and in accordance with all contract documents.
  19. Take control of the completed facilities to provide
    services to members.
Share This Article

About Bill McMahon

Bill is a private club planner providing strategic planning, member research analysis and facility planning services for private clubs across North America. Bill joined McMahon Group in 1999 and has worked with over 200 clubs helping to solve their strategic and facility needs.

Bill is Co-Editor of Club Trends, a quarterly report published with the National Club Association (NCA). He has written for many private club publications like The BoardRoom Magazine, Club Director and more, and has been a featured speaker at national conferences, local chapters and other associations serving the private club industry. He is also on the NCA’s Communications Committee.

Bill has been instrumental in developing and enhancing the McMahon Group online presence. He created and runs Clubtopia® ( – an online business directory of firms and companies serving the club industry.

Bill’s club memberships have included Bellerive Country Club (St. Louis), Glen Echo Country Club (St. Louis) and the Missouri Athletic Club (St. Louis). He proudly serves on the Board of Cinema St. Louis ( and is Second Vice President on the Board of the Tennessee Society of St. Louis.


More articles by Bill McMahon
Originally published in: