Year-Round Club Opportunities – The Way to Build Country Club Success!

15217498 - golf course nestled in the north carolina mountains in the fall
15217498 - golf course nestled in the north carolina mountains in the fall

In country club after country club and even for golf clubs, the next generation of members want more than a seasonal club offering. But delivering a much more valued club offering takes vision and commitment from the board and management. Going year-round makes sense to members because members are paying 12 months of dues, but only getting a six-month club. We know there is a precipitous drop in member usage in the off seasons. But this does not have to happen, and clubs are waking up to this.

We only have to look at the proliferation of fitness clubs like Lifetime and LA Fitness to see how these commercial clubs have attracted our country club members in the off seasons. And yet our country clubs are well located to serve their own members if they wanted to. But to do this successfully, our clubs have to have the facilities, programs and sufficient membership numbers to support the needed programs that members want.

What will the full service, year-round country club of the future look like? 

Well we don’t have to wonder as they now exist. Good examples can be found in the two Interlachen Country Clubs (Minneapolis and Orlando) as they both have achieved the year-round status. Both have a full array of winter and summer programs, and both are the best, most successful clubs in their respective cities, one north and one south.

So what should clubs be offering to achieve this year-round success?

Begin by adding simulators in areas adjacent to bars and gathering spots, adding very casual hang-out places, obviously converting fitness offering to health/wellness/conditioning offerings for all ages, etc. The best way to determine what your year-round club should offer is simply to ask your own members, especially those recently joining.

The future belongs to those clubs who innovate. Be an innovator at your club by helping the board see the great opportunity that year-round offerings can achieve. 



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About Bill McMahon, Sr. AIA, OAA

Bill is a strategic, financial and architectural planning consultant to clubs throughout North America. He established McMahon Group in 1983 as an affiliate of the family architectural firm his grandfather founded in 1906. Over the ensuing years, the firm has expanded its club consulting services beyond clubhouse improvement planning to a full range of services for all aspects of private club challenges. To date, the firm has assisted more than 2,000 private clubs across the United States, Canada, Asia, Europe and the Caribbean. McMahon Group provides a unique approach to developing club facility projects first establishing design and financial feasibility so membership approval is achieved. Thereafter final design and construction firms are selected to build the member approved project.

Mr. McMahon is unique among club consultants in providing an integrated strategic, financial and architectural approach to solving club problems. His personal involvement with his own clubs in St. Louis (serving in the roles of president, board member and committee member) has allowed him to bring unparalleled experience to each client. Mr. McMahon’s club memberships have included Bellerive Country Club (St. Louis), Racquet Club Ladue (St. Louis), University Club of St. Louis, Spring Lake Yacht Club (Michigan) and the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania.

Mr. McMahon is a graduate of Washington University School of Architecture in St. Louis and holds architecture licenses in 44 U.S. states and in Ontario, Canada. He is a featured author in industry publications and a featured speaker at the annual conferences of the Club Managers Association of America, the Canadian Society of Club Managers, the National Club Association and the Hospitality, Financial and Technology Professionals. He serves as a visiting lecturer at continuing education sessions offered by regional CMAA chapters and at Michigan State University. Bill is a co-author of McMahon Club Trends®, the comprehensive research reports on strategic issues facing private clubs published with the National Club Association. He is also founder of the Excellence in Club Management Award.

Mr. McMahon is a member of the American Institute of Architects, and the National Club Association. He is a former president of the Missouri Council of Architects, AIA and has served on various charitable boards in the St. Louis area.

More articles by Bill McMahon, Sr. AIA, OAA
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