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May 25, 2017

Dear Members:

My apologies for the length of this message but a lot has been going on since my last letter. I’ll try to be brief.

Member Survey

Make your voice heard! In an effort to improve our programs and offerings, our Marketing Committee is collecting member opinion. This week you will receive a Survey Monkey email containing a survey to collect your thoughts about youth programs, tennis, café and fitness. Not only is your survey response very important to helping the Club address financial challenges (e.g., see Youth Summer Camps below), it will take only 10 minutes! So please, please help out and answer it. Special thanks to Club Member Christina Goebel for the many hours spent preparing it.

New Employee Recognition Program

The Club has formed an employee Culture Action Team (CAT Committee) to improve the level of member services at our Club. The CAT committee members have been working hard. The cornerstone of their work has been crafting an Employee Recognition Program to reward superlative service, increase employee morale, and foster cross-department communications and programs. Starting this quarter, the Committee will recognize exemplary staff service with awards for “Employee of the Quarter” and “Employee of the Year.” Commendations will go to the employees who provide service above and beyond the ordinary, thereby significantly increasing our members’ experience. You will hear more about this as the process unfolds.

Master Plan

The Club currently lacks a long-term plan for how to implement its Mission and Vision in our facilities. To address the management turmoil and inefficient use of resources the lack of a plan generates, the Board has authorized creating a Master Plan. The architecture-consulting firm McMahon Group, which specializes in private club master planning, will guide a newly formed Master Plan Committee through what should be about a four- to six-month process. The Master Plan committee will convene in the fall, after the summer holidays. Your input and feedback will be solicited during this process.

Strategy for our Fitness Center

In conjunction with the creation of our long-term Master Plan, we will develop a long-term strategy for the Fitness Center. Last year, our member survey showed that, although the Fitness Center is one of the Club members’ most popular areas, attention to the Center’s strategic development has lagged behind that of tennis, swimming and the Café. The Board is rectifying that by authorizing the center’s first long-term strategy.

The Economy

The Club is feeling the challenging effects of the Bay Area’s booming economy. As Club members travel this summer to take advantage of good times, demand for our programs decreases, which reduces income our summer programs typically take in. The economic cycle particularly affects our Summer Youth Camps (details provided below). Club staffing is the other area negatively impacted by the booming economy. It is becoming increasingly difficult to find and attract experienced Club staff, and the wages required to hire the staff keep going up. The Club’s management is working on innovative ways to address this, however, it’s becoming clear that, in these times, if we want to attract competent, talented people, then we have to pay more. Temporary and part-time high school and college kids are being tapped where possible, but core, full-time staff is in short supply.

Youth Summer Camps

Attendance at the Club’s summer youth camps has been declining for several years now. Changing area demographics and intense competition from other camps are the primary causes. Our staff and the Youth Committee have tried modifying our program offerings including expanding the age range and varying the types of camps, but enrollment so far continues to be sluggish. The new member survey (mentioned above) has been designed to help us shed light on the causes and identify potential solutions.

Club Computer Systems

A pain point for our Café staff has been the very slow response time of our computer ordering system. The system, Clubsoft, integrates the entire Club financial and online systems—including ordering, accounting, member database and internal and external websites—into one program. To improve the system’s performance, we are upgrading both hardware and software, which should speed up the system and avoid bottlenecks at serving stations. In addition, we are improving the functionality and appearance of our websites and email marketing. These improvements will be implemented over the next 60 to 90 days. Special thanks to Club Member Geoff Strage for his contributing considerable time and talent to assess and address the system’s challenges as well as solving other technical problems around the Club.

Lower Tennis Court Project Update
The Town of Tiburon finally convened an EIR Scoping Session and finalized the scope for the Lower Tennis Court Project’s EIR. We now are working to obtain solid pricing for the project’s construction costs. While we had anticipated getting pricing over the past couple of months, the current boom in the Bay Area’s construction industry has made doing so more difficult than we had expected. When we do obtain pricing data, we will be able to make an informed decision on how to proceed. Stay tuned.

Regarding the Lower Tennis Court Project, I would like to address misleading information published in Tiburon’s local newspaper, The Ark. I am disappointed by how the Ark’s failure to report details accurately has misrepresented our Club’s intentions. Twice The Ark has incorrectly reported that we attempted to avoid an EIR by specifically dropping the two extra tennis courts that were originally proposed in the Lower Tennis Court Project. The Ark’s reporting is factually false. In fact, the Club has known since September 2016 that the project’s proposed court lighting—not the tennis courts themselves—has always required an EIR. We dropped the two courts from the project not to avoid the EIR, but because our need for the two extra courts disappeared when our tennis pros relinquished court time during the Club’s busiest times. While we believed removing new courts from the Lower Tennis Court Project would simplify the EIR, we knew it would not eliminate the need for the EIR.

As always, the Board, Jerry and I welcome your comments or suggestions.

Best regards,

John Parsons

March 1, 2017

Dear Members: I hope you continue to stay dry as the rain continues to fall. I have a few updates for you. Change to Club’s “Profit Center” Financial Model I’m happy to report that the Board, in consultation with Club Management and … [Continue reading]

January 25, 2017

Dear Members: Happy New Year! It’s been quite a month. January Flood at the Club Over the past few weeks, we’ve learned that when it rains, it pours…and pours …and pours. This winter’s record-breaking rainfall caused the Club to flood for … [Continue reading]

December 15, 2016

Dear Members: Happy holidays to you all. As we wind down 2016, the Board and Club management have important news to report regarding the Club's 2017 budget and five-year maintenance plan. Increase in Club's Costs and Dues In 2017, the Club's … [Continue reading]

November 21, 2016

Dear Members: Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! This week's letter addresses three important topics: the Club's Mission alignment work, our recruiting for our new Committees, and the status of the Junior Tennis Center. Aligning Club with new … [Continue reading]