top of page

The War of the Worlds

There seems to be a disconnect from the “world’s” inside and outside the private club industry. The “world” outside the private club industry is currently moving at a much faster pace/speed than the speed of the “world” inside the private club industry. This is a nasty fight going on and, clearly, one “world” is not winning. And, at this time the losing “world” is inside the private club industry.

In the past, private clubs were the leaders of the first and finest of all things desirable; the best golf courses, the best food, the best instruction and simply the newest and best of everything. Now, the private club industry is not even a very good follower let alone a leader.

Statistically, 90% of all private club members will join a private club before the age of fifty. Statistically, the average age of a private club member is sixty-one. You might want to read that sentence again as well! There is a substantial disconnect between the pace/speed of the world of consumers (potential private club members) who are fifty years of age and younger and the speed of the world for consumers (current club members) who are fifty-one years of age and older. This disconnect is making the private club environment way too slow and of little interest to the consumer who is fifty years of age and younger.

If the world inside the private club industry doesn’t begin to catch up to the outside world then the future of the private club industry is at more risk than ever!

This is not easy to say, or easy for some of you to hear BUT, the vast majority of members of private clubs are the past and the present of their Club and NOT the long-term future of the Club! Private clubs need to set the tone and environment of their Club for the pace/speed of the next generation of private club members (those fifty years of age and younger)!

Tragically, the private club industry seems to be stuck in attempting to preserve and romanticize the 20th century business model for which the vast majority of Club Officials come from. If this trend continues there will be more carnage and more struggling Clubs in the private club World.

Please consider the following key fundamental components of how to bring your private club up to the pace/speed of the “world” of your new member prospects.

Family friendly: The culture of total male dominance is over in life and, most certainly, at successful private clubs. There is the rise and fall of all civilizations but “family” always survives! Consumers are working very hard today and making sure that when they do have free time they desire an element and an emphasize of family. You must truly believe in the concept of family programming and not in a subtle way.

Business Friendly: There is absolutely nothing wrong with business being done at your private club. It happens on the golf course every day. There also needs to be an environment and a culture that welcomes business being done inside the clubhouse.

Technology This technology thing is not a fad! It seems to be catching on! But, if you walk into the vast majority of private clubs today you would think that you had walked into a time warp. Private clubs should have the newest of all technology available to the members of their Club. Your Club should be known for being technology friendly not the “technology Nazi”!

Casual Atmosphere: The entire world, outside of the private club world, is now extremely casual. Look around first class section on your next flight to the most expensive restaurant for which you could imagine dining. The private club industry must rethink the formal dining aspects of their club as well as the ridiculous rules that pertain to desire for private club members to dress in attire for which they would not wear in their normal everyday lives. A person should not have to change clothes to go out to enjoy the daily utilization of their Club!

Rules and Regulations: Take down those signs at your Club telling everyone how YOU think THEY should act. The new member you are trying to bring into your private club is not accustomed to their behavior being regulated by rules. Members of private clubs are sophisticated, educated consumers who know how to act.

It is time for private club officials to speed up the world inside their private club culture because the world outside the private club industry is not about to slow down. Quite frankly, it is going to continue to outpace the world inside private clubs and widen the gap. If you continue to ignore these changes, the “outsiders” will continue to shun your world and stay in their world.


bottom of page