Letter #12

Happy Monday everyone,

Vacations are over and the Club was back to full strength this week. In this week’s letter we’ll recap Monday night’s Board of Governor’s Meeting and begin to talk about the upcoming member vote regarding the lower court project.

First, however, a few administrative notes and a personal experience that just has to be shared. Remember, your Club is member owned and member operated; the former is well known and readily acknowledged, the latter is often forgotten. Members operate their club through their committees and their committees set policy. All committee meetings are open to all members all the time. The Café committee meets this week on Friday (3/8) at 3pm – come on down, share your views and watch many of them get implemented almost immediately into policy. It’s really that simple.

Under the heading of must share, I was pleasantly surprised early Sunday morning when I entered the club at 8:45 am and was met by Lu (our bar manager) walking across the lobby on his way to the Café. He was there early to prepare for a child’s birthday party. After catching up a bit, I asked him what he thought of our new Food & Beverage Director, Mark Kohtz, who started Friday. There are places and times in life when friction is unavoidable, minimizing it and removing the commensurate heat is often all one can do – a very fine young man, acting as de facto Café manager for the past month with a brand new F&B Director coming in on top would, under ordinary circumstances, be one of those unavoidable friction points. For the year that I’ve known Lu, I’ve always found him perfectly candid and honest; refreshing. I expected nothing less in response to this question. My words cannot not fully convey how completely happy he appeared to be with Mark and how utterly effusive he was about the Club getting the right guy. It’s early and Mark has only been with the Club for three days but given what I expected and what I got from Lu, there’s every reason to be optimistic. I certainly hope so and again congratulate the Café Committee and especially Jerry for making Mark their selection. Please say hello to Mark when you can and give him a warm welcome. Needless to say, Lu is an inspiration.

Board of Governors Meeting

Some interesting topics were covered in this month’s BOG meeting. Improving Club communication with its membership, non-member usage (a hot topic), Café structure (gratuity policy, cashless policy), and a terrific first draft presentation of a comprehensive House & Grounds Club Plan. See what you missed?

We’re reasonably convinced that our member contact data is stale at best. Email addresses are probably our weakest data point as it relates to member contact information. We’re going to change that. In the next month, our new software backbone for the whole club, named ClubSoft, will be rolled out to the membership. New login passwords and procedures will have to be implemented and we’ll use that opportunity to audit/update our member contact information. Hopefully, in short order, the Club will be able contact the membership more efficiently with broader lines of communication. It can only help.

Non-member usage – oh the ire! Well, this is it! That’s all – the buck stops here. A few letters back we talked about the #1 member priority according to the 2008 survey – high end activity programming. With that comes non-member usage (swim and tennis mostly) up to the point where members are negatively affected. While non-members will still be allowed to participate in activity programming on a selected basis (so that we don’t blow up the program director’s programs – or their ability to earn a living), non-members will have no roaming or loitering privileges whatsoever. All non-members will be required to sign a contract acknowledging the heavily restrictive nature of their visits from now on. They must check-in only within tight timeframes of pre-registered programming, and they must check-out within tight timeframes of the program’s conclusion. Swimmers may be poolside only; tennis players courtside. Non-members are no longer allowed in the Café, on the patio or generally anywhere else on Club property except right next to their designated activity site and only during the activity. They must exit the club property at the conclusion of the lesson/program activity.

The only permissible point of entry for non-members is the front desk. They will no longer have access through the fitness center. The sign-in process for everyone, members, guests and non-members alike will become more onerous for all with tighter pinch-points of entry and a smile, greeting, and acknowledgement by guest services for everyone. This includes member children and their guests, whenever they come through any point of entry (fitness or main desk). The member services team is one of the jewels of our Club with most of the team being in place for years already. If they don’t know you by now, they will get to know you very soon – you’ll happily return their smiles, I’m sure.

As mentioned, the Café got some minutes in Monday’s meeting. The idea of a chit-less Café experience is going to be tested for the next few months. It should not only speed things up and reduce line waiting, but it might enhance the personal feeling of eating/drinking at “your” place as well – we’ll see. As you’ve seen, the automatic 15% service charge is gone, there won’t be any tip jars on the counters, there won’t be any chits to sign with tip lines on them. How do servers get their tips? Servers will be paid a market rate with tips included, so to speak. Members will not have a responsibility to tip but there will not be any restrictions prohibiting it. Just know that servers are not dependent on your gratuities, they are being fairly compensated without it but that doesn’t mean you can’t do something nice when you feel like it. It’s just that the obligation is gone now.

Cashless Café? We may get there, it’s undecided as yet. Frankly, if we’re successful kicking out the non-members, it’s a moot point. We’ll talk more about it at this week’s Café committee meeting. Ha! See the excitement you’ll miss if you don’t come Friday afternoon (3pm :))?

House and Grounds

Cris Schonfeld, the H&G Committee Chairperson, along with Valerie Behrendt’s and Dayle Smith Bell’s help, presented a first draft of their long term comprehensive Club site plan. Members of the board sat transfixed by Cris’s presentation – it was fantastic. Special thanks to all three of them. The scope of the project with a timetable was laid out and drawings covering an early order of business for this Grand Plan (Café & Patio) were also shown. While still a work in process, it’s plain to see the club is in good hands with these three ladies leading the way. Nicely done, thank you.

All right, this letter is getting a little long in the tooth and the next topic is too important to lose the few of you who may be reading this to reader’s fatigue. I’ll put out the second part of this week’s letter in a separate distribution at mid-week. The lower court project! Sounds ominous, no?

Anyway, until then … have a great week everyone.

All the best,


  1. Thanks. Already like the “pinch points” at the front desk.

Speak Your Mind