by Jim Gibbons, President Charbonneau Golf Club
Acknowledgements and Thoughts for the Future
This month, I want to acknowledge extraordinary contributions made by golf club employees and volunteers during the past year.
During the merger talks of the past many months, it was gratifying to witness one group of Board Members concentrating on a consolidation, while another was working on a new operating structure and a plan to improve club business prospects.
Planning for Profit
We will provide details on significant club improvements at our Annual Meeting in July. In the meantime, be assured, the golf corporation is profitable and solvent. This is and will continue to be a challenging, low-margin business to manage. But, we now have in place a planning process with clear tactical plans to feed creation of the annual budget.
Tighter financial controls will ensure that cash is preserved, and any spending proposals not included in the budget will be sifted through a new Project Management process.
These planning processes resulted from an idea initiated and led by Club Treasurer Bill Johnson. Bill’s Strategic Planning committee contracted with Steve Hall to help us adopt proven practices. The planning effort’s success speaks to the quality of their working relationship.
During the summer, Bill lead a committee consisting of Don Mason, Kay Gardner, Jim Oberg, Pat Parisi and Steve Hall. (Hall has managed the Tennis Club into one of enviable repute, both in membership and self sustaining finances.) The team completed an elaborate and exhaustive situation analysis, the outcome of which was a strategic plan unanimously adopted by the Board in September. At the same time, Dale Owen took over the Planning Committee Chair position.
This plan required a thorough strategic analysis of the company and its operational and structural issues, financial realities facing the golfing industry, the club’s current financial position and profit generating potential.
Mission Statement ~ Strategy
A new vision and mission was defined: “Charbonneau Golf Club: Dedicated to providing golfers of all abilities an inviting player friendly golfing experience.”
This will be accomplished by: “Ensuring a vibrant and competitive facility by continuously and consistently maintaining all golf assets to excellent standards.” Additional supporting commitments can be found on our website.
Our new plan provides for consistent practical decision-making. Many Tactical Objectives emerged from the process and an Opportunity Log was created to capture any subsequent ideas so no meaningful suggestions will be ignored.
A new Status Reporting procedure will improve club governance. It was implemented a couple of months ago and already makes a difference. It requires every Manager and Committee Chairperson to complete a written Status Report several days before each board meeting, ensuring consistent controls, tracking and improved efficiency.
A new Leadership Guide is in place, which stipulates how the club will be led and managed at every level. It provides training and development steps for new employee managers, new board members and volunteers that ensure consistency and accountability over time.
In the last few months, we consolidated all club operations under recently promoted Operations Manager/Head Pro Chris Bensel. In addition, Charbonneau resident Elaine Swyt, of MediaPhysics, designed a new website encompassing all aspects of the club, including separate portals for shareholders, for management, for each of the men and women’s clubs, as well as for the public. It will be the permanent go-to source for all Golf Club communication. Check it out: www.charbonneaugolfclub.com
Where from Here?
And, now what? We would like the entire community to know Golf Club leaders recognize they are custodians of 25 percent of Charbonneau’s landmass. We are committed to preserving the community’s iconic and symbolic golf course. We are appreciative that our predecessors invested millions in the course infrastructure without ever saddling the club with massive long-term debts many competitors carry. We recognize this is a successful, but highly competitive business that requires constant oversight. To meet our fiduciary responsibility to shareholders, we must operate the club in the most financially responsible manner focusing on profitability and cash management.
What do we need?
- Community citizens to “play at home” and invite their friends to join them at Charbonneau for golf.
- Managers and volunteers to become familiar and commit themselves to the new organization structure and management practices.
- Stakeholders to take greater ownership of the golf club and join with us in continuous improvement practices.
- A community that appreciates the golf course, what its volunteers do to enhance its beauty and effectiveness and a willingness to contribute when asked to make efforts that enhance our community.
Thanks to all of you for helping us to better move forward.
Source: D. Atkin, April 15. 2014.