The Importance of Search Committees for Country Clubs

If your club is searching for a new GM/COO or another department head position, establishing a search committee is highly recommended. Creating a smooth, effective and efficient process should be the goal for any club hiring a key position. According to Kopplin, Kuebler and Wallace, the most important factor for determining success in hiring a key position is the establishment and makeup of the search committee.

A separate search committee should be formed for each key position and members should be purposefully and carefully selected for each committee. They should meet a certain criterion and possess a willingness to invest the time and energy required for the role. Sitting on a search committee is a responsibility that should not be taken lightly.

The composition of the committee should include five to seven members who represent various demographics of the club. Odd numbers are best in case of a tie and smaller committees are better because too many opinions hinder the efficiency of the process. Members selected should be frequent users and big supporters of the club. When searching for a key position such as the head golf professional for example, it would be ideal to include golfing members of all ages and abilities on the search committee.

Kopplin, Kuebler and Wallace believe the most vital element of any search committee is confidentiality. Search committee members must never reveal any information about the candidates or their current positions until it has been officially announced by the club. Even the slightest inkling to a friend who may know a candidate or someone at a candidate’s current club could jeopardize the search. Candidates’ jobs could be at stake and the club may lose good candidates or their organizational credibility through the process.

It is also vital to recognize that candidates will be observing search committee members to get a feel for the club culture and whether it aligns with their career goals. Members serving should be positive representatives who thoroughly enjoy the club. While the hiring of department heads ultimately falls under the GM/COO’s responsibilities, including members in the process helps create buy-in and consensus on the decision.

Private Club Advisor – December 2023

Contributed by Richard Kopplin, Kurt D. Kuebler, CCM & Thomas B. Wallace Ill, CCM, CCE, ECM, Partners at KOPPLIN KUEBLER & WALLACE.