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

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 has served on the Boards of Cinema St. Louis ( and the Tennessee Society of St. Louis (former President).


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