Letter #13

Happy Monday everyone,

Remember last week’s comment about members operating their club through their committees? The Café committee convened Friday and for the first time with our new Director of Food & Beverage, Mark Kohtz; two members attended . Now granted, 3:00 pm on a Friday afternoon might not be ideal for member attendance and I don’t think we’ll do that again but … two members? The turnout isn’t necessarily a negative, it may imply a certain level of member satisfaction with the way things are progressing in the Café TPC Bar & Grill now (new branding). Who knows but we did have a very productive session and future meetings will be held on evenings when more members are theoretically available. In addition to seeing the meeting minutes on our website , here are the major bullet points coming out of the meeting:

• Non-members are no longer permitted to use the TPC Bar & Grill

• Except for special events (i.e. Challenger, Member/Guests, Birthday Parties) the TPC Bar & Grill will be cashless – member tab only.

• There will no longer be chits to sign for tabs under $100 (member’s can request a chit anytime however)

• There is no longer room for tips – no surcharge, no chit with a tip line on it, and we’re cashless now under normal conditions. Please know that there’s been a change and service personnel are now being well compensated independent of member tips. A member can always do something nice but please be aware that tips are no longer part of employee core compensation formula.
Perhaps most importantly, Friday, March 22nd will be “meet the new Director” night. Mark your calendars to meet Mark and come down to TPC Bar & Grill for dinner and some complimentary wine and special appetizers. I dare you not to love this guy! Should be a fun evening.

Staying on the Committee theme (and if you haven’t guessed already, I always will be), the Tennis Committee meets this week on Wednesday night at 6:00 pm – come on down.

It seems that most members are happy with the Club’s efforts to limit non-member usage. Non-members are still permitted to participate in club activities (aquatics and tennis primarily) but with much more clearly defined regulations. Non-members are only permitted on property during their pre-arranged activity and even then, only at the activity site – nowhere else on property. The club is evolving and the majority of the membership wants the private club they joined to be a little more private than it has been in the past. Fair enough but there are some points of friction that come with that. Member children and their not-always-member-buddies is one of them. Please work with the Member Service Staff as much as you can to help them regulate non-member access. Remember to always have your children sign-in their guest buddies. If they aren’t doing a specific activity (swim, tennis, fitness) and are just hanging out or eating in the Bar & Grill, they don’t have to pay a guest fee but they do have to sign-in their guest. Even when a fee is applicable, junior guest fees are a fraction of adult guest fees – check with the Membership Front Desk for details and thanks for helping them out, they really appreciate it.

All right, let’s move into a new realm for these letters; the lower court project. I suspect it will occupy these comments for the next few weeks at least. Four years ago a group of gentlemen who were a part of the Club’s Finance Committee had the brilliant idea of building a TPC Junior Tennis Center down below where the lower six tennis courts are. Their thinking was that the area was basically an eyesore at that point and, with the major Club rebuild finished, it was completely out of line with the rest of the Club property. At one time or another, each of these gentlemen had been part of the SF Yacht Club Board and pointed out that the SFYC Junior Sailing Center was donor financed. Their idea – donor finance the TPC Junior Tennis Facility. It would entail a few additional new courts, and a building with a main meeting room, bathrooms, pro-shop space, office space and a fair amount of storage space to boot. It would beautify the area and stylistically fit in with the rest of the Club’s buildings. Miles Berger volunteered to help with the planning. He spent considerable time and effort working with the Tennis Committee to come up with the most efficient plan – all pro bono (a million thanks, Miles).

* Click here to view or download the Tennis Lower Court Project Plans PDF

There were three main hurdles: 1) secure Town approval for the new structure and courts, 2) secure member approval to underwrite the court portion of the project, 3) find a donor(s) to underwrite the building portion of the project. Is it any wonder why this brainchild is over 4yrs old with no apparent progress? Frankly, each hurdle, alone, is daunting.

In truth, there has been progress. The most significant progress has been on the finance side, putting aside funds for the project for the past four years until the member financed side of the project could be presented to the membership without a dues increase or assessment associated with the project. It’s time for a member vote and we’ll have one later this month. Securing Town approval will follow and then securing donor financing will be last (I know, I harbor my own reservations on that last one too but let’s not project). As it is currently envisioned, the whole project will be broken down into three phases. The Club will seek Town approval for the whole shebang but go about building it in phases over time. Phase 1 is for utilities (water, elec), court lighting, and 2½ new courts. Phase 2 is for bathrooms , storage and a concrete patio (viewing platform) where a building will eventually go and Phase 3 is the building itself. Phase 1 and part of phase 2 are expected to be member financed. The rest is planned with donor financing in mind.

An earlier letter described the two major constraints that essentially define TPC as a Club: its equally distributed multi-activity membership and the Town’s control over the Club’s membership structure and total numbers. An equally distributed membership over the three major activities makes it challenging to spend money on one activity at a time. The main 2007 Club rebuild was focused primarily on Swim and Fitness defined by activity. It’s been many years since the club underwrote a big tennis specific enhancement – this month’s vote will be just that.

That’s all for now – Mark Kohtz is too good to be true, come by and see for yourself on Friday 3/22 and let the Club buy you a glass of wine in the process. And, you’ve been introduced to the lower court project. Next week we’ll break down the phases and look at the numbers you’ll all be voting on later this month. I know how you feel, I can’t wait either.

I hope you have a great week.

All the best,


  1. Thank you Mike for all your hard work! I love this President’s letter as it gives a great overview of all that is happening within the Club. Keep up the good work!

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