Club President Mike Martel is flanked by Directors Richard Brandt and Chris Pasek.
You’re down to the last few days if you want to sign up for the special membership deals being offered by the Country Club. Has the effort, more than four months old, been successful? With a Tuesday deadline for the special offer – and an open door for any last-minute applicants – the sign-up numbers are modestly positive. The club’s financial picture shows signs of small improvement too, and the board is pushing ahead with low-cost improvements to club facilities.
As of Wednesday night’s club board meeting, the “Our Club, Our Future” marketing effort had generated 62 new memberships – 40 social and 22 golf. The campaign also provided positive net membership numbers for the last five months:
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The marketing effort was shaped and steered by Creative Golf Marketing, a national outfit that pitched the program at a standing-room-only meeting in March. Club officials haven't spoken about target numbers for the campaign, but it’s likely the club hoped to gain more than 22 golf members. Creative Golf Marketing is paid only on the number of sign-ups the campaign produces.
The program is predicated on the idea that members are the best salespeople for the club. Financial incentives are offered for both the member acting as recruiter and the new member coming in. A marketing brochure was printed (and distributed electronically) so members can simply hand a prospective member the brochure.
“The problem is, a lot of those new members are social members,” Bill Armstrong, acting general manager, told Wednesday's meeting. He added that the expiration of the dues discount for a prior marketing effort caused resignations from golf memberships.
Armstrong said the club’s net operating income through June was $44,397 better than budgeted. Looking ahead, he said the club can continue to operate into December before it runs into its seasonal cash-flow problem, a perennial issue that usually arrives months earlier.
“It may not look great,” said longtime member Ted Hart of the financials, “but it sure looks better than it did. So congratulations.”
The board unanimously approved Adopt a Project, a program that will allow individuals to fund improvements around the club and be recognized for their contribution. Volunteers can submit a project for approval or adopt a project from a list.
Mike Martel, board president, said for this fall he’s looking to improve the 19th Hole and launch a wine club, offering discounts on wine and spirits and tasting events for club members.
“A lot of people in this community really like wine,” Martel said after the meeting, “low, medium and high-end. ... We’re going to charge a small annual fee, and every month we’re going to come up with a list from five different (wine) distributors of what their five best deals are. ... And if you’re a member of the wine club, about four or five times a year we’ll have really nice wine tastings.”
As for the 19th Hole, he said he wants to “scrub the place down” and paint and carpet it. He said the club will be getting another club’s cast-off furniture for free – couches, bar stools, tables, chairs and more. “It’s in really good shape,” Martel said. “It’s a lot newer (than the 19th Hole’s present furniture).”
Martel promised events that appeal to every age group.
In other business at the meeting, Martel said the board is looking at how to level out the various membership categories and dues. Armstrong reported the club has reached contracts with its maintenance and culinary workers. There were more than 65 applications for the general manager’s job, and a committee that includes four non-board members is reviewing the resumes, Director Elizabeth Meyer said.