Mastering Club Master Planning to Assure Club Success


Over and over again, as the specialty club consulting firm which is ultimately responsible for getting many club facility projects approved, we see master plans developed that propose many improvements, but have little bearing on assuring the future success of a club. Such improvements address today’s facility shortcomings, but they do little to address the financial realities of member willingness to pay, and they do not address true strategic issues of future member attraction essential for long-term club success.

You Must Start with Club Strategic Planning

A club must understand its business and membership model before it builds new facilities. If facility improvements don’t attract and retain members, drive more usage, and achieve high member satisfaction, then they should not be done.

Examples of short-sighted but well-meaning projects are:

  1. Clubs that redecorate or even expand dining areas, but totally ignore kitchen size, equipment or design issues.
  2. Clubs that replace the same 40-year-old facilities with little consideration of how today’s and tomorrow’s millennial members may want something totally different.
  3. Clubs that need new younger members, but continue to pour millions of dollars into golf courses which attract few next generation members.

So if your club is contemplating facility improvements, be sure your board and planning committee know the strategic issues affecting facilities before an architect draws a single line. Wasting capital dollars that don’t have a return on investment (retaining and attracting members) is a good way to destroy a fine club.

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About Bill McMahon

Vice President

Bill is a private club planner who has been working with McMahon Group since 1999. Bill is Co-Editor of the quarterly trends report, Club Trends, published with the National Club Association where he is on the Communications Committee. Bill studied architecture at Arizona State University and graduated from Webster University in St. Louis with a degree in Media Communications.

He is a member of Bellerive Country Club and currently serves on the Pool Committee. Bill is also on the National Club Association (NCA) Communications Committee. In addition, Bill is on the Board of the Tennessee Society of St. Louis as the Second Vice President, and is on the Board of Cinema St. Louis.

Bill also created and runs the Clubtopia® business directory for the club world located at

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