By Ryan Yakel*
Membership Building with Sticks and Stones
In these trying economic times, clubs are under more pressure to find ways to improve their facilities without major expense to the membership. Some have chosen to delay major projects into 2010 or 2011. Other clubs are doing “lipstick & rouge” projects which do not have the scope of a major remodel, such as new carpeting, new wallcoverings, paint, or new lockers.
A handful of clubs have forged forward and have been rewarded. Typically, new or updated club facilities result in a membership “bump” once completed. The following clubs are showing a steady stream of new members in all classes and a predominance of young families becoming members.
“You cannot go wrong if you listen to your members,” and with the unstable economy, these words still ring true. You could craft it further to say “You cannot go wrong if you listen to your members (and your future members) when it comes to building or renovation programs.”
Royal Oaks Country Club
in Dallas, Texas passed a substantial capital program just months prior to the economic downturn. The Board kept their commitment to the membership and opened the remodeled facilities in phases over the last two years. Major additions include a fitness area, a new golf shop, expanded covered outdoor dining, and a new pool building.
Renovations focused on a new family grill, an adult grill, a casual bar/lounge and revamped locker rooms. Completion is June 2010 and the last seven months have been great for membership: twelve new resident members, thirteen new junior members, seven new tennis members and five new social/fitness members. All of these categories met or exceeded the yearly goals, except social (and the big push for pool members is going on as I write this article). Dave Stuckey, CCM, GM/COO of the club says, “Expectations with this economy and a few weeks away from completion, we have far exceeded our goals.”
, a city club in Tulsa, Oklahoma, found itself with an aging facility and few younger members joining their downtown club. The club took the drastic risk of gutting it’s ala carte dining floor and remodeled the space in a quick 16 weeks. Opened in November 2009, the “Summit Penthouse” has the look and feel of an upscale restaurant.
The Summit - Bar Lounge and Balcony
In addition to the main dining room, the floor includes a bar/lounge, private dining rooms, and a billiards/cigar room.
The style and feel of the floor is transitional – not “hip contemporary” but a far ways from the “old school” city club look. Their gamble has paid off. In the last six months they added 220 proprietary and junior members. The initiation fees and dues line from these new members has added over $200,000 to the Club’s bottom line and seed money for future capital projects.
Kelli Bailey, the Committee Chairperson, puts it this way, “We have experienced surprising success in our renovation – even during a difficult economy.” Wrapping the club’s success into a neat package, Walter Munaretto, GM said, “Our members told us loudly and clearly they were ready for a fresh look. Membership is up, business is up, and we are seeing members who have not frequented the club in years.”
Also in Dallas, Bent Tree Country Club’s
renovation program started in 2001 with a renovation of the course and continued through 2009 in phases. Clubhouse projects included a new family grill, casual bar lounge, renovations to the locker rooms, a new golf shop and the renovation of four rarely used racquet ball courts into fitness center. The pool was completely rebuilt and a new pool/snack bar/babysitting building rounded out the improvements. Tennis improvements included renovations to shop, locker rooms, and exterior courts.
Charlie Duty, CCM, GM/COO of the club, sums it up, “Our Grill business is up 80% since we opened the new Family Dining Room and Adult Bar Lounge.” Also a few statistics since the project completed; the club’s average age has dropped by 6 years with the new pool amenities a big factor and fitness use moved from 20 members a day to 125.
A relative newcomer, The University of Texas Golf Club
in Austin, TX, is a private club with ties to the university (but no funds from the school). The Golf Club was founded in 2003 with a modest cart barn/snack bar/golf shop building as a clubhouse. A new 17,000 square foot clubhouse was added as membership numbers grew and it was completed in 2008. The original structure was remodeled into a fitness facility which today averages 75 members a day.
University of Texas Golf Club, Austin, TX
The club is currently 12 members short of their cap of 472 local members. Additional categories have been growing and includes 150 social and 250 regional members. With such a young growing membership, it is no surprise that the club’s families include 576 “kids” under the age of 16.
Steve Termeer, Director of Golf/COO has seen the success of each building program and notes, “We started as a pure golf club, but over the years, we have added facilities that rival the best country clubs. With the addition of the tennis and future pool facilities, we will be a complete club and match our members’ expectations.”
The club’s next project, as Steve mentioned, is a tennis facility in conjunction with the University’s Athletic Department –A win/win for both boasting six indoor and four outdoor courts.
All four clubs are examples of how successful building programs of any scope can equal new members. These four programs ranged from $1.6 million to over $16.0 million and all four are seriously contemplating future projects in the next few years.
Ryan Yakel, AIA, is the EVP/COO of CCI Club Design. CCI is located in Irving, Texas. CCI has designed clubhouses that work for over 35 years and provides master planning, membership surveys, architecture, interior design, and food service design services throughout the US and Canada. More on CCI’s services and projects can be viewed at http://www.cciclubdesign.com
or by contacting CCI directly at (972) 253-3583.
Originally posted by RyanYakel
on 27 Sep 2010.
All contributors: RyanYakel
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