10 Golf Inc. March/April 2017
haps because they have waited until their 30s or
40s to marry and have children.
“Now they’ve matured, and they’re tired of
the bar scene. Private clubs are a wonderful
option for them and their families,” he said.
Clubs that resist change and cling to traditional settings and activities are not prospering, Graves said. That’s partly because 30- and
40-somethings want to socialize in a setting
where they can dress casually and eat informally, he said. They want to bring the kids. They
expect TVs to be on in many areas of a club
so they can watch – but not listen to – sports,
business news and reports on the stock market.
They want clubs tuned into technology.
“Private clubs need to supply the best in high-speed internet if they hope to become a business
meeting place,” Graves said.
n Kopplin, Kuebler & Wallace
n Jupiter, Fla.
Kuebler, a partner in a nationwide
executive search firm that serves private clubs, was previously general manager at Isleworth Golf & Country Club
and The Loxahatchee Club, both in
Florida, as well as leading other private
golf clubs. He also was national director of the Club Managers Association
But now he’s using that experience in a new
role, as one of the leaders of a first-class team
that visits an estimated 300 clubs a year to find
extraordinary candidates to fill top jobs at private clubs. He is helping identify and train a new
generation of leaders in the club industry.
He handles searches for both member-owned
and private developer clubs as well as country,
golf and yacht clubs and homeowner associations. He also holds training seminars for club
staff and management.
Kuebler believes outstanding leadership is
a key factor in the growing success of private
clubs, and he works constantly to pinpoint candidates who have the right skills to make sure
those clubs remain prosperous.
“We see firsthand who’s making an impact in
the industry,” Kuebler said. “Every search we do
for a club that wants to fill a job involves exten-
sive survey work.”
Private clubs want managers who are visible
and engaged with the staff. “Members want to
know the executives who lead the club,” he said.
“Club executives must have exceptional leadership skills,” Kuebler said. “There’s an art to getting things done. They have to be able to work
efficiently with club board members.”
n Senior Vice President
n troon Privé operations
n Scottsdale, Ariz.
Troon Privé, the private club division of
Troon Golf, manages 70 private clubs,
including many that
His tenure with Troon Privé has included
leading each of his assigned resorts and private clubs through multiple transformations,
including strategic land acquisitions, member
equity conversions and startup operations. His
expertise in club and resort operations has led
to national recognition throughout his career.
After a renovation, a key part of the promotion process is seeking new members. DeMore
helps clubs tell their stories by creating short
videos that feature members talking about their
clubs. The videos are released to the clubs first
and later may appear on YouTube. One club
in Manchester, N.H., founded in 1923, is now
completely sold out and has 500 member families.
“We encourage every club to tell its story on
film,” DeMore said.
Privé has developed a program that allows
members of any Troon private club to play at
other Troon clubs around the country.
At some private clubs, offerings have been
greatly expanded to appeal to a younger audi-
ence with families. This is particularly true at
Silver Creek Valley Country Club in San Jose,
Calif., DeMore said.
Youngsters at Silver Creek are introduced to
golf using simulators. Kids can participate in
swim teams at the pool as well as use the tennis
courts and fitness center. There’s even a “
homework club” that picks up kids after school and
takes them to the club to study or take part in
n General Manager and Chief operating
n lake Merced Golf Club
n Daly City, Calif.
Donna Otis joined the Lake Merced Golf
Club 20 years ago and has worked her way up
through several positions, including food and
beverage director and director of golf, to her
current leadership post.
Lake Merced is a historical club founded in
1922. Membership has grown very diverse during the years, and there is new interest in golf
among younger families and women.
Otis has been on the cutting edge in creating
that new interest, and the trends she has been
leading are expected to be the future of the
“Younger families want to introduce their
children to golf,” she said. “But we also have
other activities that they didn’t have years ago,
like pony rides on the Fourth of July and a
haunted house for Halloween.”
But the club’s 500 members are mainly there
for the golf. The club maintains a championship
golf course that regularly hosts junior champi-
onships and LPGA events.
The club has far-forward tees on every hole
to attract less skilled players.
The change makes the 6,400-
yard course play at 5,000
The club has also had success with offering a variety
of membership types. A less
expensive young associate
membership has helped bring
in 25- to 40-year-old golf-