The Hidden Link Between a Strong Membership and Club Facilities


Never Underestimate the Power of the Clubhouse for Attracting Members

Members join country clubs for many reasons, but when asked in membership surveys as to which club offerings are most important, three offerings stand out: Golf, Dining and Clubhouse. Now consider that, according to our survey data, seventy percent of new members join country clubs when they are younger than fifty-six years old, the link to building a strong pipeline of new members becomes clear. We need to better target our primary offerings of Golf, Dining and Clubhouse to be much more appealing to new members.

Focus now on how the clubhouse helps in attracting members, it is important to know that the clubhouse is the most visible symbol of your club’s Mission. It is the personification of “what a club stands for”. Your facilities tell the world about your club’s culture, its quality goals, who its members are and what it offers in lifestyle amenities. An attractive clubhouse, both inside and out, is the minimum stake in the game where quality experiences are the primary currency. Clubhouses must offer something for all age and use groups, encourage member socialization with an array of dining rooms, bars and activity spaces. These must relate to how members want to use the club, and most importantly these aspects create a clubhouse where our members want to be.

Remember that successful clubs should be multi-generational, so it is not wise to put all generations in one space and expect them to all get along well. We need to develop separate spaces for different activities and usages, but we also need to create spaces where we bring everyone together and where all are members feel welcome. The successful clubhouse must serve members from age 4 to 104, and this is not an easy task. But we must tackle it because we expect members to join for a lifetime of enjoyment. Attracting and retaining members requires a clubhouse design that flexibly offers a full range of experiences for members and their families as they age and change. While this is always a challenge, it is also a great opportunity to continually be improving and refocusing for an ever-changing membership in an ever-changing society.

So, here is the recipe for the secret sauce: Great clubs have clubhouses that balance their history and traditions with modern amenities that attract and retain new members. On our surveys, highly satisfied memberships always rate their clubhouses highly for importance and satisfaction, and always have strong and stable or growing memberships. Clubs which stay in-touch with their members will know how to use their clubhouses as an important marketing opportunity for attracting future members.

Share This Article

About Glen Selligman, AIA

Mr. Selligman joined McMahon Group in 1993, and since then has participated in the planning and design of more than 200 clubs. He directs all aspects of the clubhouse planning operations for club existing conditions reports, architectural plan reviews, facilities master plans, club improvement programs and golf course maintenance facilities. Glen takes a personal role in the design of every McMahon project and coordinates the work of our team of architects, engineers, designers and illustrators.

Glen is a graduate of the University of Arkansas School of Architecture, is a licensed architect and a member of the American Institute of Architects.

More articles by Glen Selligman, AIA
Originally published in: