Letter #17

Happy Monday everyone,

Welcome back spring-breakers and if you weren’t away, I hope you had a nice week under any circumstance. After a two-week hiatus, your letter resumes this week right in front of a flurry of important committee meetings. Remember, you’re invited to attend all committee meetings at your Club. Let’s jump in:

  • Monday, 4/15, 6:30pm (tonight) – 3 committees combined; Food & Beverage, House & Grounds, and Social committees gather to discuss the Bar & Grill operation, a plan to upgrade its furnishings, and the building of a social calendar to utilize it. Come down and share your views of how the Bar & Grill should look and how you’d like the patio to function. Help us build a calendar full of events you want to attend. Come on – it will be fun.
  • Wednesday, 4/17, 6pm – the Tennis Committee meets. Do you have an opinion on whether non-members should be on USTA teams at TPC? If so, come on down and share your thoughts about that or any other tennis related topics. Hate the court sign in procedure? Great, come down and change it. It’s your Club and your Committees set the rules we operate within. Besides, these things are a blast!
  • Thursday, 4/18, 5pm – the Fitness Committee Meeting – are you happy with your workouts? Great, come on by on tell the committee.
  • Monday, 4/22, 6:30pm – the Board of Governor’s Committee Meeting for April. Of several topics, the language of the upcoming member vote regarding the lower court project. Come on down and join the junta.

The non-member issue continues to make its rounds. I was speaking to one member recently who advocated for non-members on their adult tennis team while complaining that non-members were poisoning their child’s clinic environment. I don’t know this member’s profession but assume he’s an economist – he spoke so eloquently out of both sides of his mouth. Oh, for cryin’ out loud, maybe we should just scratch the whole non-member issue and eliminate them entirely. Boom! Private Club – Lock it down! Last month we made our Club just a little bit more private by taking non-members out of the Bar & Grill and specifically defining permissible behavior as a program guest when non-members were on property and participating in any activity lesson (swim or tennis). For the time being the Club entrance has been reconfigured with a pinch-point at the member services window in order to allow the member service personnel the opportunity to sign-in everyone – member, guest, non-member – every time they come to the Club. Non-members are required to sign-out too so that their time at the Club is monitored.

If their usage can be controlled and they stay within some pretty well defined lines as it stands today, non-members are worth having at our Club. We shouldn’t curtail their welcome. Without non-member participation in swimming (~40% of the program), we would kiss our swim staff good-bye. Top-flight programming is the membership’s top priority (2008 survey). The essence of our swim program is not the beautiful pools. The substance of our swim program walks out the door every evening and drives home; non-members give us the ability hold on to and support our incredible swim staff.

It’s a similar story in tennis too. Non-members (<10% of the program) make our clinics better giving our children a stronger pool of daily competition to hit with/against –particularly at the higher levels. Non-members also allow some of the higher ranking adult levels to field teams the Club would otherwise not be able to field – there just aren’t enough member players at some of the higher levels.

Like any issue with two sides, there’s usually a fine line to walk along in order to optimize the benefits while minimizing the un-pleasantries. The negatives surrounding non-member participation fall into two categories; ego and capacity. Ego: “my non-member neighbor is here more than I am and laughs at me from the Bar & Grill for paying to become a member while his children swim to their hearts content”. Capacity: “I’m waiting for a court while non-member children, as part of a clinic, occupy a court I could be playing on”. Both are quite legitimate feelings and our policies, set as they are today, address minimizing either of these experiences for any member, ever! It’s clear why non-members are important to the Club and clearer still why their numbers and behavior need to be defined and controlled. It has been our goal to define that fine line and to walk it by enforcing the policies. If you feel like we’ve strayed, please bring it to my attention by sharing your comments below.

Odds & Ends: the Bar & Grill continues to set new highs in sales. Mark was told to expect a light week last week due to spring break – Wednesday’s receipts set a new all-time high water mark for mid-week sales. Hat tip to Jerry, Mark, and the whole staff – that’s as good a referendum on member satisfaction as we can ask for. And here’s one that’s completely unrelated to the Club or anything else I’ve written in the previous 16 letters but it’s just too good to not pass along. It will show you just how far out of the loop I am but if you haven’t seen “The Intouchables” a French comedy-drama released in 2011, go rent it and have your faith in mankind restored. It’s that good.

I hope you have a great week (and that I see many of you at some of the committee meetings)

All the best,
Mike

Comments

  1. Lee Humphrey says:

    Hello, Mike,

    It was my understanding when I joined the TPC back in 1968 that the charter stated that non-members must be allowed access to the club for a variety of activities. I believe this was included because at one time the TPC was a community facility open to all before becoming a private club. Has this requirement changed?
    Thanks.
    Lee

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