Let’s Talk Club Management Ep. 7 – Live from the National Student Education Conference

 Permanent link

The end of the year is fast approaching and this month, Melissa and Kyle talk gratitude. Kyle also sat down with Judy Higgins, CCM, General Manager at Valley Lo Club to discuss the National Student Education Conference, hosted in part by her club and the Greater Chicago Chapter. Judy gives some great background on the conference and we dive further into the importance of having a well-rounded education for success in the club industry. Finally, we talk to Patrick Casey, CCM, General Manager at The Hamilton Club about his Black Friday Beer Crawl Idea Fair entry.

Love Letters

 Permanent link

One of my favorite movies is “Roxanne”. In this movie, C.D. Bales, the town’s fire chief is played by Steve Martin. This comedy is based on the premise of Cyrano de Bergerac, and as such, the town’s fire chief has many extraordinary talents. He is athletic, educated, articulate, funny, and popular. Most importantly he has a keen sense of smell, which turns out to be a great attribute for a fire chief. Oh, and he has a big nose!

He is in love with Roxanne who is played by Daryl Hannah. He expresses his love for her by writing love letters that she believes are coming from one of C.D.’s fire fighters named Chris. While Chris is away, C.D. writes one or more love letters per day and Roxanne is falling in love with the person who can write such beautiful letters.

As I write this, Rose and I have been married for 13,288 days. I love her deeply and we tell and show each other often. We give each other cards and we write short notes but we haven’t done love letters.

A few years ago the husband of one of my dearest friends passed away suddenly. When he died, he left behind his wife and a five year old son. A group of my friends agreed that we would all write love letters to our children and hold each other accountable for having them done by a certain date. The idea was that we would have the letters prepared and if something happened to us, the letters would be presented to our children.

I told Rose that I was going to write love letters to my children. She said I am pretty sure our kids know how you feel about them. I told her that I didn’t want them to assume they knew how I felt. I want them to know for sure. I wrote the letters before the deadline and then decided that rather than wait until the end of my life for them to receive the letters, I sent them that day.

The response was wonderful and at times even overwhelming. The gratitude and love I received from my daughter and her two sons was more than I could have asked for. Then I started to get notes and letters from friends of my kids because they had been able to read their friend’s letter.

I told my kids what it was like when they came into the world. I told them of the joy and fears of their parents who hadn’t received a manual on how to raise them. I told some stories of special memories. I told them what I saw in them and what I wanted for them. I told them about my love for their mother.

Although I didn’t have much experience in writing love letters I am truly thankful that I wrote those three.

I realize that we don’t want to think about the fact that one day we may not be here to tell people how we feel about them. Perhaps the more unthinkable thought is maybe the important people in our lives might not be here for us to tell them how we feel. I encourage you to write some letters.

Earlier this year someone called me to say that he was telling someone about my love letters to my kids. He introduced me to Chip Franks who was just about to launch his book “Life Lessons from Dad” 101 Ways to Get More From life (From Someone Who Loves You). After experiencing a serious health scare Chip wrote a book for his children that would benefit anyone. We have interviewed Chip twice in the Extraordinary Leader Program and he is inspiring.

Let me suggest some other Love Letters you might write (whether you send them or not). 

Your Significant Other
Ken Blanchard once said that if you go to a restaurant and you see a young couple in love, they are on the edge of their seats looking into each other’s eyes. They are smiling, they are engaged, they are asking and answering questions and are enthralled with each other. He said you might see another couple who have been married for a long time. She might say “How is your meat?” He might say “Fine, how is yours?” It is as if they have nothing to say to each other. He says it is a reduced awareness and execution of “Catching each other doing things right.” In a letter you can be grateful for what they have done. You can be grateful for who they are. You can let them know how you feel.

Your Parents
If you are a parent, can you imagine what it would be like to receive a love letter from your children? Perhaps you have! Can you imagine how your parents would feel to receive one from you? My parents passed away 22 years ago and 12 years ago. I think I will write them anyway.

The People You Work With
It is possible that you spend more time with some of these people than you do with your own family. Some lifelong relationships have been formed. Let them know how you feel.

The People You Serve
You can serve people that you don’t love. You can even serve people that you don’t like. If you think you are brilliant at serving them when you feel that way you might be kidding yourself. Some of the people you serve might not be that lovable because they are not loved. You might be focused on what you don’t love about them. Try loving them and focus on what is lovable.

Your Dear Friends
These people make up the family you have chosen. Let them know how you feel.

Whether you write actual love letters, tell people over the phone or skype, the point is that you have the chance to ensure the words are not left unsaid!

 Love, Kevin


Kevin MacDonald and Shelley MacDougall are the coaches for CMAA. You can reach them toll free at 1-866-822-3481.

Let’s Talk Club Management Episode 6: Celebrating 30 Years of The Club Foundation

 Permanent link

October marks the 30th anniversary of The Club Foundation, and this month, Kyle and Melissa are joined by Jack Sullivan, CCM, one of the founding members of The Foundation. Jack share some first-hand stories about how CF came about, and later, we are joined by Carrie Wosicki, Director of Development for The Club Foundation, who discusses what CF's next steps are. Finally, we look forward to the holiday season while talking with Colin Mack-Allen, CCM, CCE, about his club's winning Idea Fair entry: Let's Talk (Boneless) Turkey!

Be sure to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes:

The Future of the #ClubIndustry is in the Recruitment of Young Families

 Permanent link

Establishing your club as family-friendly is vital to enticing younger generations and to boost the satisfaction of current Millennial and Generation X members. From a sales perspective, there stands an opportunity to bring in new members using the tools of kid-friendly, high-quality family programs and activities. When parents look online for fun lessons or activities for their children and your club offerings pop up, that will most likely ignite an overall interest in your property. What's more, members’ guests can see if they like your club when they accompany members to events like movie night, campout in the driving range, petting zoo, a pool party or holiday events; like gingerbread house decorating, an egg hunt, or fireworks. In turn, the guests might join your club, especially if their children are friends with yours.

Also, the more family-friendly activities you have, the more likely you are to have a higher rate of participation in club events. For example, couples are more likely to partake in adult events at the club, if they can bring their kids along with them for a family activity. Many clubs have also added the perk of childcare services as we did with the creation of our “Fun Fort Room”. Not only will you keep your activity list popular and competitive, your members’ children will want to go the club, which in turn increases their parents’ attendance. Special rooms with babysitting, kid friendly food, video games, movie screens, and other activities have become extremely popular.

Family Friendly Programs
Happy, memorable experiences for members and their families are key to the future of your club. Consistent, long-term family-friendly programming will make your club standout. The most popular kid’s programs in country clubs are sailing, tennis, swimming, and golf, but many clubs also offer a junior golf or family tennis socials— some even have a children’s center. You can also offer activities throughout the year like kids’ nights and holiday parties. Another popular program for children is Summer Camp, either managed in-house or outsourced.

Multigenerational Programs
Your club should organize family-oriented programs and events where kids are welcome. However, you must satisfy the needs of your current members. The diversity of a multi-generational membership base is a positive thing for a club and should be looked on in that manner. Clubs today must deliver multi‐generational programming, events, menu items, and experiences not only for children and families but also your older members. After all, there is a risk versus rewards factor if your club doesn’t offer the best of both worlds.

Older Folks and Kids
Which brings us to the dilemma of becoming kid-friendly when the more grown-up members don't like seeing children in the club. When members make statements to you that imply they don’t like kids in the club, politely remind them they most likely won’t be attending the same events the children will be participating in such as kid activities, and family events. For instance, many retired members come to the club on Friday nights, whereas families usually come on weekend afternoons. I recently sent an email to my members that we just added a “Family Room” that families with young children can use and it was received with a huge success.

With kids in the club, it is likely, almost certain, that general managers will sometimes have to deal with complaints of unruly children. If parents are just dropping kids off at the club, unsupervised, there will be tension between members. With the diversity of the membership and having club activities accommodating all types of members and guests, it is important that members realize they are fully responsible for their kids’ behavior.

It should be made clear to the parents when children should be accompanied by an adult. Clubs need to ensure that the rules list specific ages, for example,” children under the age of 12, must be accompanied and be supervised by a parent or responsible person at least 18 years of age whenever on club property”. And rules like these must be upheld in all areas: the clubhouse, golf, tennis, pool, and fitness. Members must comply and conduct behavior accordingly and families are included in that. Also, learning to follow rules is beneficial to children as it genuinely instills respect in them and they learn how to behave and interact with adults at an early age.

Frank H. Benzakour, CCM, CCE, has had a more than 25-year career within the club industry. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Adelphi University and a MBA from Cornell University-College of Business in Business Management. Frank has managed several country clubs in the tristate area and has a focus and passion for providing best in class customer service. Frank enjoys spending some quality time with his wife Christina and two sons Adam & Ryan.

Let's Talk Club Management Ep.5 - What You Missed at LLC

 Permanent link

This month, Kyle and Melissa review the education and the networking at the 2018 Leadership/Legislative Conference in Washington, DC. They are joined by CEO Jeff Morgan, FASAE, CAE, who recaps his State of the Association presentation and Casey Newman, CCM, who discusses River Oaks Country Club's winning Idea Fair entry: The Holiday Wishbook.

Why Should I Work with a Coach?

 Permanent link

In 2003 CMAA asked me to create a coaching program that could serve the members of the Association. In 2006 Shelley MacDougall joined me in delivering coaching services one on one in person and over the telephone, along with group coaching, speaking, and email communication. Over the past 15 years we have had thousands of coaching connections and feel privileged to have been with people during some of the highest and lowest times in their lives and careers.

In this article we would like to give you some answers to the question posed in the title.

Why Should I Work with a Coach?

Because You Can!
When I was a club manager and a member of CMAA this resource was not available. There are many ways that CMAA contributed to a specific member’s professionalism back then, but in 2003 there was a place a member could call and talk about anything they were going through in confidence with someone who was trained to help them get a different result. Not only was the resource available, but it became available to CMAA members at no cost to the club or to them personally. It is there for you as a benefit of membership. Members are able to have up to three coaching sessions at no charge. CMAA also set it up so they can call toll free for coaching.

What would we talk about?
When you talk to one of the CMAA Coaches you own the agenda. You can talk about work, career or life. The truth is that whatever improves you and your abilities, impacts all parts of your life. The conversations are in confidence. Often people call with issues that they are dealing with at the time and would like to think out loud and get some feedback about their thoughts. We find that people at the top of any field of endeavour are constantly striving to get better. Often times the average or below averaged performers don’t feel that they need help. Sometimes the need to be right is stronger than the need to be successful.

Here are some things that you – as a top achiever – can use your coach to accomplish:

Determine Where You Are
Working with a coach can dramatically change your level of awareness. Before you leave for work in the morning you tend to look in the mirror to make sure you look ok. Working with a coach gives you the opportunity to look in the mirror to see where you are, what you look like, how you operate, what drives you, what inspires you and generally speaking how to get the best out of you. If you were the coach of a professional sports team you would want to have a clear understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of all of your players. You would use this information in their development and to decide how to get the best results for the team. Take the time to determine where you are, how you operate and how to set yourself up for success.

Where Are You Going?
Once you determine where you are and how you operate, you can spend some time deciding where you want to go. If you don’t know where you want to go then it doesn’t matter which path you take. You can work with a coach to get clear on what is important to you. You can create a compelling vision! You can develop the plan of how to make your vision come to life. You can connect to energy required to see it through. You can build the habit of bringing your visions to life and have the confidence to create bigger visions. As a leader having clarity about where you are going inspires followers.

Put Standards in Place
Many people set high goals and accomplish great things but haven’t put the standards in place that will support their success. As important as it is to set organizational standards, it is important for leaders to set personal standards to live by. A coach can support you in ensuring that you have a strong personal foundation to build an extraordinary career and life upon.

Discover What is Getting in the Way
Like a golf instructor helping you with your golf swing, a coach can help you see from the outside things you can’t see from the inside. Is it possible that you are thinking, feeling, or doing things that are diminishing your success? What are you tolerating in yourself or others that is having an impact on your results? Are your habits working for you or against you? Are you working to live or living to work? Is your success in one part of your life creating failure in another part? Sometimes the obstacles we face can be as big and obvious as a mountain and sometimes small and tolerable like a pebble in your shoe, but they both slow down our journey of getting to where we want to go.

Create Accountability
One of the greatest secrets to success is being accountable. Sometimes it is helpful to set up some support in staying accountable. Many people use their coach for this purpose. It can be helpful to have someone else who can support you in your efforts to stay on track.

Become a Better Coach
One of the benefits of using the CMAA coaching benefit it is to learn skills and concepts that can make you a better coach. The coach’s job is to bring the best out in the people they work with. The best club leaders care about their people and want the best from and for them.

Navigate a Transition
Some CMAA members call the coaches in times of transition. They might call after losing a job, before retirement, as they are about to graduate or when they are changing a job.

If one of these reasons to work with a coach seems compelling, please contact Kevin and Shelley at 1-866-822-3481 toll free.


Let’s Talk Club Management Episode 4: Back to Certification

 Permanent link

While everyone else is gearing up to head back to school, we turn our focus on CMAA's education and chat about our certification process. We are joined by our own Brian Watkins, Manager, Certification, and Amanda Day, CCM, of Charlotte Country Club. Brian answers some of our most frequently asked certification questions and gives his advice for a successful CCM exam and Amanda shares her journey from student member to Clubhouse Manager.

Alex Sarris, Director of Member Events & Front Desk Operations at Congressional Country Club, joins us as well, as she shares her winning Idea Fair entry: Team Walk Run Club.  

Let's Talk Club Management Episode 3: Governance Confidential, Part 2

 Permanent link

This month, we have a super-sized episode for you as we continue the conversation around club governance with two more interviews.

We are joined by retired member Harry Waddington, CCM, CCE, who reflects on some of the issues he experienced as a club manager in the Carolinas and Georgia and Robert Sereci, CCM, shares the successful use of white papers with his Board of Directors for our Idea Fair segment.

Finally, we hear from CMAA's Research Department – Amilcar Davy, Manager, Research, and Sarah Bal, Director, Virtual Education and Research, in Association News. They share with us what’s going on with research here at CMAA, what you need to be on the lookout for and what’s coming down the pike.

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.