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When building the club budget, where should a strategic board focus?

“QUI VIVE?” would be the call shouted by an alert sentry during the Middle Ages . . . and one must get the answer right for his life depended upon it. The sentry was asking “Long live who?” And the correct answer was, “Long live the king!” For directors who are alert and prepared for the challenges of leading their club safely to success, it is similarly important to know the correct answers to mission-critical questions.

Club directors should know to align the annual budget to the club’s strategic goals. Strategic intelligence is a must-have for club directors. To ensure that each director is alert, Global Golf Advisors (GGA) coaches five key points of focus:

1. Validate that key performance targets supporting that strategy;

2. Analyze three to five years of history, not just the most recent prior year;

3. Take a structured approach to assembling and trending critical business intelligence;

4. Use zero-based budgeting and make sure all responsible managers have visibility into the overall budget; and

5. Maintain and update a forward-looking financial model based on budget adjustments.

Club directors are volunteers whose time and focus are limited. What budgeting tactics are most effective? First, rely upon management to build the foundation for a trustworthy budget. Then, take a 360-degree view of the data and trends impacting your club’s current and future performance.

GGA strategic intelligence diagnostic approach aligns five keys for successful budgeting:

1. Strategic goals and objectives;

2. Competitive positioning and demographic trends (market data);

3. Membership satisfaction and preferences (membership data);

4. Historic performance and perceived member impact (operational and financial data); and

5. Comparable club performance and trends.

To stay successful and keep their clubs financially fit, club directors do well to expand the club’s knowledge platform and develop tools that make them more effective directors.

GGA encourages directors to rely upon their business acumen. Knowing the right answer, where to find it, and how to use the answer is what makes club leadership so demanding. Sometimes it is wise to be on the qui vive.

Derek Johnston is a partner at Global Golf Advisors, an international consulting firm that provides specialized advisory and support services to more than 2,700 clients worldwide from offices in Toronto, Phoenix and Dublin (IR). He can be reached at [email protected] or visit