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  • Writer's picturePhil Grice

Is your board a committee in disguise?

What is the difference between a board that runs a golf club and a committee that runs a golf club? I think we all understand there’s a governance differentiation between the two because often clubs have made the change simply to safeguard the golf club and its members from a commercial and potential litigation sense.

However, behaviour and the skillset required show no real difference at a time when I would estimate the top 30% of golf clubs operate incredibly professionally with strategic development plans and business plans in place.

Below this 30%, is a large segment of the golf world that has moved away from 17 and 18 people committees and dropped down to 9 and 10 people boards, but it’s hard to see, apart from the numbers, what the differences in their behaviours and operating structures are?

What I find interesting is that if they were replacing the GM, a Head Green Keeper, Hospitality Leader or any other senior position within the club, there would be a formal and professional process managed and monitored. This would result in the best candidate selected for that position, after thorough interviews and evidence of the skillset required.

Yet so many clubs I speak to and hear about have potentially three positions free on a board. They are open to anyone who’s bought a membership at the club to apply for. Rarely do you have to justify, explain, or interview for these lofty positions or evidence what you can bring to the role for the benefit of the club. Simply the most popular person or the person playing in the biggest swindle gets the gig. How can this be good for the club?

How does your club select its directors, and does it select them with a future strategy in mind, considering what skills the board may be short of when looking at the future direction of travel?

Let me know your thoughts. Phil



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