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Advice and Resources for Private Club Management and Board Members

The Importance of Boards of Private Clubs Understanding All of the Demographics of Their Membership

 Private Club Membership and Demographics

Your Private Club’s Demographic Makeup Should Be Understood in Order to Facilitate Long-Term Financial Planning.

There has been a lot written on the importance of the Board’s of Private Clubs to focus on attracting younger members for membership through increased family-based non-golf amenities and activities, informal dining, and improved entertainment offerings. In the same light, Private Clubs should be mindful of the age distribution of their membership and the potential impact on future revenues.

It is also important for Board’s of Private Clubs to focus on the entire age distribution of the membership of their clubs. As members age there are potential impacts on revenues that should be an important element to a Private Club’s Long-Term Financial Planning in a couple of different ways:

First, resignation of older members is generally a principal reason for membership turnover as a result of retirement and/or moving. While the average annual turnover of a Private Club’s membership is a little less than 6% according to Club Benchmarking, the results of a particular Private Club may vary from year to year depending on the age distribution of it membership. While not an exact science, a Private Club should be able to estimate years where resignations may exceed their average. With that knowledge, the Private Club can place extra emphasis on admissions or, with knowledge of increased resignations in future years, temporarily increasing their membership caps. When resignations exceed what a Private Club expects there is a negative impact on the Private Club’s Dues revenues.

Secondly, many Private Clubs provide for discounted membership dues and fees when members reach a certain age or number of years of service (or some combination). Depending upon the age distribution of the membership, members moving into discounted categories could have a significant impact on a Private Club’s Dues revenues. Boards and Managements of Private Clubs should be able to plan for this in their overall Dues structure. In some cases, discounts are given with no corresponding restriction on Club utilization, such as tee times. For Clubs that have capacity issues, this may have the unintended consequence of creating waiting lists for new members.

The variety of the ages of a membership is an important element of the vibrancy of any Private Club. Understanding your Club’s demographic make-up is something every Private Club Board should understand in order to facilitate Long-Term Financial Planning and to avoid unanticipated Dues revenue shortfalls.


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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