This blog features information and advice from industry professionals on relevant club topics and issues. A companion to CMAA's Research Archives, this resource is updated biweekly.

Submissions should be sent to Kyle.Jennings@cmaa.org for consideration.

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Let the Good Times Roll, Or Not?

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 11_17_15 Millenials

Here’s something that may surprise you. I’ve had conversations with several clubs recently that wanted to explore reducing the number of members in their club. That’s right, reducing membership! Most of us prayed for those issues back in 2009-10. In fact, the last time I can recall seriously exploring that issue was prior to 9/11. It’s been a while.

The best news in this is that it proves that people continue to have interest in joining and using clubs. I am sure you wonder about that sometimes. I know I do. Each of these clubs has also completed major strategic reviews and initiated capital projects within the past five years, so it also shows that planning and investing pays off. They’ve helped create for these clubs what many of us would consider a first-class problem.

The question of whether or not to reduce members is an interesting one. Those who advocate for this approach say that with fewer people paying more dues, the club will be smaller, quieter and more intimate. Dues-paying members would have un-fettered access. I would agree that all of those things would occur if you lowered your caps and raised the dues on those who remain, but I remain skeptical of its benefits. Here’s why:  Read more...

Cutting Through Cynicism with Authentic Appreciation

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11.05.15 ThanksWe all have a finite amount of mental and emotional energy. That is why we are tired at the end of a busy day where have been processing information and making decisions throughout the day. Thus, effective leaders learn how to prioritize and channel their mental energy into completing the most important tasks, and not waste it on non-productive activities.

One major drain of emotional energy often is ignored by leaders, however. That is the presence of sarcasm and cynicism in your organization. Both stem from negative thoughts and perceptions among team members that are then communicated and bounced around in the workplace.

Both cynicism and sarcasm steal energy that could be used for positive, creative and productive activities. They are like holes in the wall of your office that waste the electricity used to heat or cool your office space. And they are fueled by a lack of trust of the motives of management and supervisors. Read more...

Getting Help (Part Four): The Groundwater Foundation’s Groundwater Guardian Green Sites Program

(Sustainability) Permanent link

10_22_15 ReservoirOver the coming months, I will focus on de-mystifying the various Voluntary Environmental Programs available to CMAA members. Each provides different features and value-added elements, and each can be a useful part of any club’s environmental management game plan.

The Groundwater Foundation was founded in 1985, and as its name suggests, has a mission focused on providing education to people to play a positive role in the protection of our groundwater supply.  So why care about groundwater?:

  • 95 percent of freshwater resources in the US come from groundwater
  • 50 percent of people get their drinking water from groundwater
  • Storage tanks, septic systems, chemical, road salts and other man-made source pose threats of contamination to groundwater systems
  • Nitrate contamination to groundwater, caused by chemical storage and use, usually approximate to well heads, is a real and potential public health danger and avoidable
  • Many of our groundwater aquifers across the country are dangerously low due to drought conditions and excessive use
  • Many people enjoy drinking clean, uncontaminated water, including your club members


Building a Personal Foundation

(Leadership) Permanent link

10_13_15 FoundationIf you are going to have a life or a career it might as well be a powerful, stable, Extraordinary one. As leaders it is important to be leaders and human beings that people want to follow and are inspired by. This article is an introduction of a ten part series on the Personal Foundation Program. This is one of the tools that we use to support our clients and is an ideal exercise for people at all levels and stages of their career. Take it on and notice the difference it makes.

The foundation of a building is a great metaphor for the foundation of a person. As architects and engineers design bigger, better, taller buildings the design of the foundation becomes more critical. An amazing, tall superstructure built on a poor and weak foundation is doomed. In personal terms we can rise in our careers, in our lives and in our opportunities but without a strong personal foundation our lives can quickly come crashing down. There are many examples in the news that can illustrate this point.

As a coach, my job is to help people to achieve their goals. I ensure that we do so in a balanced way and therefore often the beginning of the process is to ensure that the personal foundation is intact. To give you an understanding of what a personal foundation is I would like to briefly describe to you the topics we deal with when creating this personal foundation. Read more...


The Safety Guy Almost Got Hit

(Risk Management) Permanent link

I was driving on an Interstate highway and a vehicle started to drift into my lane. Three quick sharp blasts from my horn ensured the driver of the panel van re-aligned his vehicle back in his lane. As I passed and looked into the open side door of the bread delivery truck, I was amazed to see he was leaning into / looking at the phone clutched in his two hands!

Was he texting? Talking? Myopic and looking for directions? Playing a video game? I don’t know what he was doing and contemplated a way to share my displeasure…  Would one think this errant behavior could be changed because another driver alerted him of his potential gaff?  What would his boss say if made aware of his actions?

Years Ago
In 2010, I wrote in article titled Driving while “Intexticated”.  While researching the “Intexticated” article, I spoke with a few experts, looked at related accident data and just dug deeper into the topic.

Now I have to say (in my opinion), drivers have gotten worse in the recent five years. Is it because people desire to be more connected? Is technology making people like Pavlovian dogs and automatically reaching for and looking at their phone when the thing dings?

Recent Related Publications
An electronic article published in May 2015 by Environmental Safety and Health magazine titled Hang It Up! Cell Phones and Car Crashes shared statistics estimating that 27 percent of all crashes are caused by texting/talking on cell phones.

The Hang It Up article also referenced a study done by the National Safety Council (NSC) titled Crashes Involving Cell PhonesRead more...

Getting Help (Part Three): GEO’s OnCourse® Program

(Sustainability) Permanent link

Over the coming months, I will focus on de-mystifying the various Voluntary Environmental Programs available to CMAA members. Each provides different features and value-added elements, and each can be a useful part of any club's environmental management game plan.

An organization that's gained traction and support in Europe in recent years, and has seen interest grow in the United States as well, is Golf Environment Organization (GEO). In the mid-2000s, current Chief Executive Jonathan Smith built on an early-version certification scheme known as "Committed to Green" looking to consolidate and support golf's sustainability agenda through voluntary environmental and social standards, guidance and certification. Since then, GEO has worked to take a more global position in promoting golf’s message as a sustainable sport. Read more...

Can You Reduce Your Club's Real Estate Taxes?

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09.15.15 - TaxesReal estate taxes aren’t just an annoyance — they are an annual expense, the scope of which can sometimes make the difference between a club’s ability to establish positive cash flow versus the many unpleasant things an operating deficit brings. Tax time can be demoralizing and confusing, but it also represents an opportunity for many golf clubs to improve their bottom line through a potential reduction in real estate tax assessments. And, of course, this opportunity is made available each and every year.

As a specialist in assisting clubs in evaluating their real estate assessment, I’d like to offer club managers some insight on the issues to be considered before embarking on this process.

The fundamental elements of a real estate tax calculation are:  Read more...

The Gift of Giving and Receiving!

(Leadership) Permanent link

08_25_15Have you ever felt like you give a lot but you don't get much in return.  At our lowest of times we might look at it like a balance sheet. On one side you give, give, give, but on the other side it may feel like you don't get, get, get.

In this article I would like to suggest some different ways to think about this topic. The first thought I am putting out for your consideration is "You can’t give without receiving, and you can't receive without giving." Now, some of you may spend some time trying to find examples of this not being true, but I would ask you to spend more time finding examples of it being true. Read more...

This information is provided for informational purposes only. The contents are presented with no warranty, either expressed or implied by the Club Managers Association of America. No legal responsibility is assumed for the outcome of decisions, commitments or obligations made on the basis of this information. If your club is faced with a question concerning legal issues, you should contact the club’s legal counsel for the specific application of the law to your situation.