12 Golf Inc. March/April 2017
ers, many of whom are employed by high-tech
companies in nearby San Francisco and Silicon
Valley. About 30 to 40 new members have been
added every year for the past five years.
n general Manager
n audubon country club
n Naples, Fla.
The year 2016 saw significant growth in membership at Audubon. Under the leadership of
Michael Rodriguez, the 25-year-old club managed by Troon Golf has enjoyed a rejuvenation.
His leadership during a major renovation and
a renewed emphasis on customer service has
added 20 new members in the past year
was taken down
to the studs and
rebuilt, and both
the front nine and
the back nine of the
golf course underwent improvements.
Outdoor dining was added, and the new facility
has regularly been sold out.
The club raised initiation fees and dues to
a level that puts them among the highest in
the area, yet members and potential members
“We’re at the highest membership numbers
ever due to the positive energy of the improvements,” Rodriguez said.
Membership also grew because of increased
home sales in the area. Those who buy a home
in the private residential development surrounding the club must join the club.
Because of intense competition from other
nearby clubs, Rodriguez has made personalized
service a critical objective.
“There are many gated communities in the
area, and we always aim to put our best foot
forward,” Rodriguez said. “In interactions with
members, our staff understands that we want
to exceed what members ask for. If there is anything they want inside the gates that we can help
them with, we try really hard to provide it.”
n chief operating officer and general
n desert Mountain
n scottsdale, ariz.
Desert Mountain is an 8,000-acre gated luxury-home development, site of six Jack Nicklaus
Signature golf courses. Although it continues
to focus on golf
(with 1,900 golf
the changing economy and lifestyles
of its members have
led the community
to add new activities and amenities throughout the
Jones, who has been with Desert Mountain
from its beginning 20 years ago, has provided
the critical leadership needed for this change
of direction. His efforts have set an example for
other clubs seeking to diversify their offerings
in order to remain relevant in today’s rapidly
changing economic and social climate.
“One of the goals of our members is to create
activities for their children and grandchildren,”
Jones said. “The objective is to get the grandkids
to come for Christmas instead of the grandpar-
ents going to visit them.”
Under his management, the club has
arranged with nearby Bartlett Lake Marina to
rent boats and equipment for waterskiing and
fishing. Horseback riding and bicycling are
available on trails throughout the property, and
there are also trails for motorbikes. Members
can even have overnight campouts and cook-
outs in safari-style tents. A new 46,000-square-
foot fitness and wellness center, as well as a spa,
are available to residents. Desert Mountain has
hired a youth activities director and now offers
golf and tennis lessons to youngsters. Many
members join in the thriving croquet competi-
tion and take croquet lessons.
Desert Mountain, which has always been
known for its challenging golf courses, has
added far-forward tees on all six courses to
attract less-accomplished golfers. And a new
par- 3 course, also designed by Nicklaus, is in
n President-chief executive officer
n h. chambers co.
n baltimore, Md.
Founded in 1899 as a painting company,
Chambers has evolved into a firm acclaimed for
its architectural and design
work for clubs. It has nearly
60 club projects underway in
the United States, as well as
one in Canada and another
in Hong Kong. Snellinger’s
outstanding track record has
been demonstrated repeatedly through his work in
helping private clubs stay
on the cutting edge when it
comes to facilities.
The firm’s mission, however, is to do more
than provide designs for clubhouses or draw
up plans for additions, said Snellinger, who
has risen to the top of the company and is now
“One of my guiding philosophies in archi-
tecture and design is to avoid looking at indi-
vidual projects by themselves and do more
overall planning,” he said. “I want to look at all
pieces of the puzzle.”
If a club wants to replace its swimming pool,
Snellinger said, “It’s not just about the pool. It’s
also about: Is the pool in the right location and
should we move it and unlock the site for some
other goal? We take a holistic perspective and
implement it in a phased approach.”
The company makes satisfying members
and guests central to its plans.
“Clubs that have success focus on member
and guest enjoyment,” Snellinger said. “It’s not
about ‘return on investment’; it’s ‘return on
enjoyment.’ That’s the key to success in recruit-
Clubs should look beyond the basics, he
said, and think of themselves as being part of
the resort industry. For example, many clubs
are adding water parks similar to those that
attract young families to high-end hotels.