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Advice and Resources for Private Club Management and Board Members

Is Your Club’s Strategic Plan Gathering Dust?

 Implementing Your Private Club’s Strategic Plan

Implementing Your Private Club’s Strategic Plan

It’s generally accepted that in order for Private Clubs to attract new and younger members, the number and quality of offerings need to go beyond the golf course and focus on amenities and activities that are attractive to the entire family.

Developing a Strategic Plan

Many Private Clubs undertake a strategic planning process to determine what their club’s needs are to stay relevant and vibrant in the future. Many of these clubs engage consultants to assist them in developing a strategic plan. Such a process typically includes focus groups, membership surveys, SWOT and market analyses and defining the club’s mission and values. The process generally takes several months and absorbs a significant amount of time of management, board and committee members, and participating members. Done properly, the strategic plan will identify the future amenities (both new and improved) that the club will need to thrive in the future with the related costs to implement over several years and administrations.  To be long-lasting, it will need the support of the membership.

An issue for many Private Clubs is that after all the time, effort and cost of developing a Strategic Plan, implementation stalls and the document sits on the general manager’s shelf. Why is that?

  • The inevitable turnover of club boards and officers presents the risk that new board members and officers (particularly a new club president) are not invested in the plan and pursue different agendas.
  • While the Strategic Plan provides an estimate of the cost of implementation, many times the costs do not line up with the club’s ability to afford the component costs or simultaneously accommodate the ongoing capital needs of the club.
  • The Strategic Plan does not adequately address the long-term financial sustainability of the club and/or relies on unrealistic levels of debt.
  • The Private Club utilizes a consultant with little practical experience in planning for and governing clubs.
  • There is turnover at the club management level depriving the club of the historical knowledge underlying the plan.
  • The club’s leadership is not committed to executing the plan and/or has not garnered the support of the membership.
  • The Board reverts to funding a project rather than the plan, leaving inadequate resources available for continued implementation of the plan.
  • The club has not allocated sufficient resources to develop specific plans and cost estimates to implement the recommendations.

After months of work in developing plans, Clubs fail to devise a realistic long-term financial model for the club that incorporates membership and dues assumptions for operating and capital funds.  The failure to do so precludes many clubs from effectively implementing the plan and transferring knowledge from one administration to the next. 

We can help develop the long-term financial plan and work with multiple administrations to stay the course. For further information please reach out to Joe Abely at jabely@cbpros.com or 781-953-9333 or Dave Duval at dduval@cbpros.com or 617-519-6281.


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.