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A Case Study of Good Governance: Greensboro Country Club

You would be wrong if you think of Greensboro Country Club (GCC) as a sleepy, tradition-bound club within a tradition-bound community. Not only is Greensboro, N.C., a steadily growing city, but its eponymous country club is also expanding as evidenced by its recent $19 million renovation project. Yet just as deserving of compliments on its physical plant is GCC’s governance model, which honors all five basic principles of good club governance as well numerous best practices. 

“It took some work,” remembers Jason Bohrer, GCC’s Past president, who led the effort to refine the club’s governance model, “but we had an open-minded board, a knowledgeable COO/GM, and a commitment to see it through.”  Terra Waldron, COO/GM, knew it would take strong board leadership to effect changes in the governance model. “I’ve been blessed with supportive presidents and board members,” she explains. “They established a model that makes my job and the job of the board so much easier. Plus, I can rely on our uncontested election process, run by a well-regarded Nominating Committee, to continue to supply highly qualified board members.” 

In addition to enjoying a quality board, GCC has documented board policies and processes that communicate how the board will carry out its fiduciary duties. The centerpiece of the GCC governance model is its board policies manual (BPM), which makes clear the roles of the key participants like the president, board members, committees and the COO/GM. 

“The BPM keeps the board in its lane,” describes current GCC President David Egerton. “It documents the expectations of individual board members and the board as a unit. It keeps us focused on strategic matters, leaving operational matters to the COO/GM.” Egerton notes, “We want to be transparent to our members. They give us the authority to govern the club and trust us to use it wisely. The BPM communicates how we are using that authority and helps us be accountable to our members.”

The future looks bright at GCC as it completes its physical renovation and draws on a solid governance model to provide efficient and effective leadership. Waldron summarizes, “While we are delighted with our governance model today, we must stay alert to opportunities to improve it. Committing to excellence is a principle of good governance, which calls for continuous improvement. The structure provided by the BPM gives us the framework that easily accommodates change, allowing us to employ best practices in governance and give our members the leadership they deserve.”