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The Pulse on Club Leadership: Where Clubs Stand on Governance and Management Policies

Just under 400 managers responded to the Pulse Survey asking a variety of questions about governance, management and policies. Below are some of the highlights from the results:


Average Board Size: 11

Sevety-five percent of respondents feel the size of their board is about right and twenty-four percent feel their board size is too large. Seventy-eight percent of respondents stated they have female board members.

Board Member Tenure:

Thirty-five percent of respondents require their board members to serve on a committee for least one year prior to running for the board.

Board Elections

Half of respondents hold open board elections and 41% have uncontested elections. The higher the club’s initiation fee, the more likely it is to have an uncontested election, with 60 percent holding uncontested elections at clubs with an initiation fee more than $50K.

Board Education

Sixty-seven percent of respondents have a board orientation program for new board members. However, only fifty-six percent have a formal board policy manual. Just thirty-three percent conduct an annual board retreat.

Respondents were asked if they had some type of Nominating Committee. Eighty-three percent indicated that they have some type of Nominating Committee. Seventy-two percent stated their Nominating Committee was autonomous from the board. Only forty-four percent have committee term limits.


Most popular management structure among all clubs is the GM/COO model (84%)

Only forty percent have an operations policy and procedures manual


Fifty-two percent of respondents have developed a strategic plan within the last five years.

Sixty-eight percent of clubs with an initiation fee more than $25K have a strategic plan.

Only thirty-six percent of all clubs responding update their strategic plan at least annually.

Sevety-six percent of respondents stated their club votes on major issues (e.g., capital programs, bylaw changes)

Most popular voting methods:

In-person (59%)

Proxy (49%)

Absentee* (45%)

Online** (17%)

Mail-in ballot (17%)

* In 2010 Pulse Survey this was 30%

** In 2010 Pulse Survey this was 8%

Get the Report

Pulse Survey Reports are complimentary to those who complete the corresponding survey. If you did not have a chance to complete the survey, but still want a copy of the report, please contact Bill McMahon, Jr. at [email protected].

Club Trends Fall 2017