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2 min read

Financial Sustainability for Clubs Starts with Solid Club Operations [Episode 15]

The road to sustainability for private clubs is one that requires vision and discipline, according to Professional Club Marketing Association Founder, Rick Coyne. And the good news is that clubs that navigated the turbulent waters of the financial meltdown in 2008 are now on the way back.

"Vision without action is a daydream, action without vision is a nightmare," he says "And I think we’ve lived in the nightmare for a number of years. Now, we’re seeing some visionary folks who see what it takes to be successful in the industry.”

Coyne is also CEO of ClubMark, a golf management and consulting company based in Dallas, TX. He believes the club industry has endured three distinct life cycles over the past 100 years, with meteoric growth over the last two and a half to three decades. Some of that growth led to overbuilding and, as we know, an alarming rate of closings beginning in the early 2000’s. Much of Coyne’s work these days focuses on helping clubs become relevant again in a dynamic and changing market

"If we’re not relevant to the people we are trying to attract or whom we have as our existing members, we will cease to exist," he says. "Relevance is the key.”

And while relevance may be the key to attracting and retaining members, Coyne also sites a lack of structure in how clubs create an operationally healthy organization that is the backbone of a healthy club. His 8-step Enterprise Solution Model is a step-by-step diagram that breaks down the necessary elements of a well-run organization.


In this episode, Rick and I break down his model to better understand how clubs can create an organization that’s built to endure and solve complicated challenges. 

In this episode: 

  • 2:01 - How would you summarize the state of private clubs in the US?
  • 4:49 - From a sales and marketing perspective, clubs can’t operate as they did 15-20 years ago, is that safe to say?
  • 6:24 - Tell us what you see in this model and what you see in this first step (Diagnostic & Discovery).
  • 10:46 - There’s more to break down in the market demographic analysis (than what clubs once evaluated).
  • 19:47 - Are there a lot of clubs that move straight to "Concept Design" before doing the due diligence of "Diagnostics & Discovery" and thereby don't know if their club is actually offering the most appropriate services for their target audience?
  • 21:51 - What is involved in getting Consensus & Approval?
  • 30:15 - Why is getting buy-in and alignment when rolling out new and visionary processes so important?
  • 38:30 - A data-driven approach to reporting makes sense for clubs today as well as documenting the intentions and vision for the club to remind participants in all meetings.
  • 41:45 - What is the biggest obstacle that prevents clubs from putting a plan or process like this together?

You may also enjoy this relevant white paper Coyne collaborated on called Armageddon or Renewal.

Read on:

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