Letter #10

Happy Monday everyone,

A few random thoughts this week:

While our Niner’s couldn’t seal the deal last week, TPC’s very own Men’s 8.5 Combo Team was crowned 2013’s Marin Champions yesterday by defeating Harbor Point in a great, hard-won battle. Congratulations guys – you do the Club proud. Best wishes to you at the Districts later this month.

The Café
Our Café re-opened for the year this past Friday night. Jerry and the Café Committee put in a ton of extra time and effort to get it up and running this soon. Many thanks go out to them as well as the new staff. Lou and Luis and their team did a great job this weekend. Thanks as well to the many members who offered their appreciation, digitally or otherwise – great feedback, much obliged.

The search for a Food & Beverage Director is in the final stages. After distilling over 100 applicants down to three very capable candidates over the past five weeks, Jerry brought in the finalists last week to solicit feedback from members of the Café Committee. One finalist stood out above the rest and after going through the compulsory background and reference checks, your new Director of Food & Beverage will be introduced to you shortly. In the meantime, the Café will be open Friday-Sunday until the end of February. It will be open 5 days per week (Wed-Sun) beginning February 27 through April and then will go 7 days/wk after that. At least that’s the plan currently.

By the way, there was a thought floating around back in December in the formative period of recasting the Café where our Club might tap the F&B management expertise of Tiburon Lodge. The Café Committee decided not to pursue this further but will continue to include TL when seeking bids for catered events at the club. They have a great group over there and staying in touch with them when it makes sense is probably a good idea.

Food & Beverage Minimum
Don’t panic! There will not be a F&B minimum vote by the membership anytime soon. As mentioned in a previous letter, a vote will probably be put to the membership later this year. I mention it now however because this topic continues to be a lightening rod among the membership. At this point, for every threatening note I get prohibiting me from even thinking about a food minimum, two (kinder) notes arrive asking why we don’t yet have one. It’s interesting; this topic, perhaps more than any other, underscores the evolutionary changes going on within the membership ranks. As 2013 gets underway, a full third of the membership has joined the club post-2008 when the initiation jumped after the Clubhouse rebuild. Expectations vary widely between the pre and post 2008 members. Just how private our private club should be (another hot topic), what the Café offering should be and who pays for it are just a few of the wider spectrums members sit across from one another on. The expectations of a member who joined 10yrs ago and paid $1k initiation to join a modestly upscale rec center should vary widely from those of the member who paid $18.5k to join Tiburon’s only private Swim/Tennis/Fitness Club. Our job, as your Board, is to try to get an accurate bead on the Club’s pulse and make sure the Club is delivering what the majority of the most active members want. This is just a matter of allowing an organization to evolve as its membership changes. Some people detest change – as we attempt to gently guide the Club down its path, we’ll try to be sensitive to that fact at the same time.

Members Only
As the grand remodel project approached its completion back in 2007 and a new financial model was being crafted to meet the needs of what was then, essentially, a new club, a survey was done to learn what the members cared most about. The top priority to the membership back then was the Club’s three activity programs – that they were led by top flight Directors, staffed by the right number of high quality instructors and well attended. Non-member participation was encouraged to attract a quality staff and maintain a competitive program environment but limited so as not to encroach on member usage. A minimum 23% non-member surcharge was established in each program in order to try to strike a healthy balance. Directors were hired to run their programs as stand-alone business units where they benefited directly in their units profitability. To date, non-member program participation is running at 40% for swim, 10% for tennis and is negligible for fitness.

As the Club has morphed from its rec center roots to the private club environment it is today, non-member usage has been a continuous issue. Each year the Club gets more and more private. I suspect that trend will continue as the post-2008 portion of the membership grows larger and larger – this only makes sense. Toward that end, I think you’ll see increased vigilance at the Club’s points of entry as the busy season approaches – apologies in advance for the nuisance this causes members but be mindful that it’s just a response to the majority of member interests at this time. Related to this and under consideration is the idea of making the Café a chit-only service for members and if cash is allowed to allow it only with a significant surcharge attached – assuming only non-members are using cash. Personally, I lean toward a cashless Café but will allow the Café committee to arrive at their solution. What do you think? Remember, it’s your Club; we need to hear from you. (You can submit your comments to me below.)

Committee Meetings This Week
Just a reminder in closing this week’s note: there is a Tennis Committee meeting this Wednesday at 6pm. As always, it’s open to all members. Please come by if you can. There are no other committee meetings this week.
I hope you have a great week.

All the best,


  1. bring on the food minimum!

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