Skip links

How can clubs create more value for members

WHILE CLUBS CONTINUE to study what will drive member attraction and retention in today’s world, one of the biggest issues is that the club membership of yesteryear is a lot different than today. Value is a driving force.

Value is an important equation in looking at club memberships. When prospective members (and existing members for that matter) look at what a club offers, they want to know they are getting good value for the amount of money they are spending. Most members would agree that they receive maximum value in the prime seasons; however, it is those offseason months that are now becoming important to members as well. They ask (and we hear it a lot in focus groups), “what can I do at the club during the traditional slow months?”

Today a club must be a year-round lifestyle center for members and their families. No matter the club type, providing year-round activities is essential for success. All across the country, clubs are realizing the importance of engaging members continually and are providing the activities and amenities that members are looking for in a club experience.

One of the first activities to usher in this year-round ideology was fitness. As many of you know, this is a staple
at numerous clubs across the country and has evolved beyond just a gym with equipment. The real impact is on the programming side with classes and personal training, even extending into areas like physical therapy.

Other aspects that are helping to build upon the year-round mantra are winter sports like paddle tennis, one that is growing rapidly in the northern clubs. (See “Winter Activities,” page 28, for more ideas.) One of the biggest trends is improving the golf experience at clubs— whether you have a golf course or not—by enhancing practice facilities. Time is a precious commodity to members and a traditional golf round eats up a lot of it. These new indoor practice facilities are popping up and include indoor hitting stations with the latest technology, golf simulators and socializing spaces around these activities.

While dining has been a constant amenity, members are clamoring for a better dining experience. More than 90 percent of those in our database stated they want their club to be a favorite place to dine, but only 44 percent think it currently achieves that status. What a tremendous opportunity for private clubs.

Having a good understanding of your members and a clear sense of your club’s purpose will help guide decisions and keep you attractive and successful for years to come.

Bill McMahon, Jr., is vice president of McMahon Group, a full-service private club consulting firm that has served over 2,000 private clubs around the world. He can be reached at [email protected] or visit