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Advice and Resources for Private Club Management and Board Members

Board Policy Manuals for Private Clubs– You likely need one!

 Why Your Private Club Needs A Board Policy Manuals

Why Your Private Club Needs A Board Policy Manuals

Board Policy Manuals, or BPM’s for short, are intended to clearly describe important matters relating to the Club’s governance.   It serves as an educational tool for Board members and sets forth the “rules of the road” for the Board, GM and members to see.  CMAA has advanced a five-part manual that needs to be customized for each Club.  The recommended sections are as follows:

Part 1:  Introduction and Administration

Part 2:  Organizational Essentials

Part 3:  Board Structure and Processes

Part 4:  Board – GM Relationship

Part 5:  Executive Parameters

The manual is intended to draw all current Board policies into one document and supersede all others that may be found in old minutes.  Because it is created by the Board, it can be more easily amended than the Club’s by-laws to suit the times, but consistency between the BPM and by-laws is key.  A solidly prepared BPM may allow for a trimmer set of by-laws.

Part 1:  Introduction and Administration deals with the basics; the communication of the purpose and format of the manual, the benefits of the BPM and how it is to be maintained.

Part 2:  Organizational Essentials sets forth the Club’s vision, mission, values, Board accountability, strategic planning considerations and the current objectives consistent with the updated strategic plan in a succinct fashion.  This section also addresses the procedures for annually updating the strategic plan.

Part 3:  Board Structure and Processes summarizes how the Board will be organized and operate, and establish expectations for all Board members.  It also delineates the role of committees who speak to the Board (Governance committees) or the General Manager (Operating committees) but never speak for either.

Part 4:  Board – GM Relationship is intended to make roles and responsibilities clear and to draw a bright line between the duties of the Board (and individual Board members) and the General Manager.  The delegation of management authority to the GM should be crisp, the job description defined, communication and reporting expectations established, professional standards reinforced, and any other declarations necessary to clarify the GM’s latitude to perform.

Part 5:  Executive Parameters establishes the guidelines the GM and staff may rely upon in the performance of their duties.  The extensiveness of this section varies widely from Club to Club and may include, but not be limited to, such topics as budgeting, asset protection, Club rules & regulations, required committees, communications and financial controls.

As Clubs move to a more businesslike operation, a BPM is a logical and necessary step.  CMAA provides sample BPM’s on its website.  We can also provide them and assist you in customizing one for your Club.


Club Board Professionals is a strategic financial consulting and training firm.  The Principals, Dave Duval and Joe Abely, assist clubs achieve excellence in three areas: governance, financial sustainability and membership satisfaction. Contact us for a complimentary initial assessment of your club.

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