Plan, Approve & Build Facilities the Right Way


One of the most challenging experiences club managers face is properly handling a major club improvement program.

If done correctly, it is one of the most rewarding achievements. Such programs are necessary as facilities age, new programs need new spaces and even when a new clubhouse is needed. In today’s atmosphere of planning and funding improvements, we at McMahon Group strive to provide the best approach for facility planning:

survey -> concept -> planning -> presentation  -> membership approval -> construction.

By working with the club’s planning committee and general manager, we establish a project’s financial and architectural feasibility so membership approval is achieved before a final architect, interior designer, etc. are hired. In effect, we raise the funds for the projects by assuring we have:

  1. Defined a good architectural concept.
  2. Verified costs with local contractors.
  3. Secured bank financing.

With all loose ends tied up, we achieve membership approval.

Our planning process has successfully completed over 1,200 club improvement programs, raising well over $2 billion.

A major advantage of our approach is that our clubs hire their final architect, interior designer, etc. after they know what they want and what they need to build. This is important because each architect and/or designer has special skills. Some have minimal clubhouse experience, but are good architects. Some are renovation specialists while others restore historically important buildings. Some do large, new clubhouses well, while others specialize in recreation facilities. Today most design firms specialize in a particular building type, which is a good thing.

The most extreme example of a club hiring the final architect too soon is when the leadership feels a new clubhouse is needed and hires a large architectural firm with new clubhouse skills only to have the final project end up a renovation. The result is a poor fit for executing the final design work. For us, it is all about getting the right project approved. Once we achieve membership approval, we help the club select the final design team best suited for the project. There’s no conflict of interest with this because we don’t provide final design services; but since we used to, we know how it should be done. A key advantage of selecting, negotiating and hiring the final architect, interior designer and contractor team after membership approval is that the club can better negotiate fees because it knows exactly what it wants and what it should cost. This shouldn’t become an attempt to cut fees, but a way to pay for only the needed services.

The McMahon Facility Way.

The above process is our signature service that we provide. Bill McMahon, Sr. provides the conceptual architectural planning while our survey and presentation team does the rest. So if your club needs assistance identifying solutions for its facility problems, start by scheduling a McMahon Group First Impressions Visit for your club. There’s no fee, but we do ask for reimbursement of travel costs. Read more about the First Impressions Visit on the back cover and contact Alison Duffy at to schedule one today!

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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 (NCA). Bill studied architecture at Arizona State University and graduated from Webster University in St. Louis with a degree in Media Communications.

Bill’s club memberships have included Bellerive Country Club and the Missouri Athletic Club. Bill is also on the NCA’s Communications Committee. In addition, Bill serves on the Board of Cinema St. Louis and is Second Vice President on the Board of The Tennessee Society of St. Louis.

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

More articles by Bill McMahon
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