Why it Pays to Maintain Facilities in the Post-Covid Period

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We are finally reawakening the Club world and trying to forget the nightmare we just lived through. And low and behold, as we come back to our clubs, we see the same facility challenges still facing us, but with a lot less money to fix them. And yet, we must.

The natural temptation is to hunker-down and do as little as possible, to hold our breath until we are sure this crisis is over. Only this never happens as there is always another crisis.

It is important to understand that existing and new members join and belong to clubs for enjoyment and gathering with friends in high-quality environments (both in offerings and facilities). Allowing a club’s facility to run down in a recessionary period is a sure way to destroy a club. A club is a luxury that most members can afford and justify if it is good enough. A question for each club is, is it good enough?

Saving money by having an outdated clubhouse, dated swimming pool, poorly maintained facilities and cutting back on programs is a sure way to lose existing and potential members. In these economic times members are looking for value, not the lowest dues or initiation fees in rundown clubs.

So if we are to slip into a recession, each clubs’ board has to decide where to invest its capital dollars. Of course in country clubs, the first temptation is to continually upgrade the golf course, even when it has by far the highest, existing satisfaction ratings. 

There is really only one way to identify the most needed facility additions or improvements, and that is by surveying the members. A quick facility survey tells us what new members will want to join the club and what existing members will want to stay in the club.

So as your club reopens, look around and be sure your clubhouse, bar, locker rooms, swimming pool, etc. are well-maintained. If the facilities are worn out, then it is time to survey your members to build consensus on what to do and when to do it. 

Members don’t join outdated clubs.  Make your existing members proud of their club and they will sponsor new ones.

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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® (www.clubtopia.com) – 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 (www.cinemastlouis.org) and the Tennessee Society of St. Louis (former President).


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