Letter #18

Happy Monday everyone,

Well, we had a good week at the Club this past week with many Committee Meetings and a lot of progress. The week started Monday night with a combined meeting between three Committees; the Food & Beverage, House & Grounds, and Social Committees. The agenda was, sequentially; identify possible improvements in the Bar & Grill (menu offerings, hours of operation, equipment, and staff for example), discuss a new look and feel for the Bar & Grill (inside and out), and to build a calendar of social events for member’s enjoyment.

For the Bar & Grill the most significant change that came up was about traffic flow. A new service alcove will be set up outside, behind the kitchen, allowing member access to a large service window built under the original remodel plan in the back of the house but never utilized. It’s never been used before because the kitchen is so darn small but Mark believes he can make it work. It should, at a minimum, remove the wet bathing suit and barefoot crowd from the front of the house on busy summer weekends. Members in/around the pool and even at the upper courts may find this new access site to be a big plus. This is a reasonably low cost improvement requiring small changes in the fencing; it’s really about leveraging the existing resources, which Mark seems unusually adept at. We also discussed the possibility of a soft serve ice cream machine (who wouldn’t want that?) but space is again the constraining factor so it was tabled for the time being. The last discussion point concerned the severe lack of storage space – another shed and some semi-permanent “tenting” will be arranged for the work area behind the kitchen.

The conversation then moved to furnishings. Our House & Grounds Committee, led by Cris Schonefeld and Valerie Behrendt, has done a terrific job putting together the early stages of a grand master plan covering the look and feel of the whole Club. Different areas of the Club are refurbished under their own independent timetables and usually under the oversight of different volunteers each and every time over the years. The idea behind a H&G Master Plan is to have a plan in place that will incorporate and coordinate all of the different areas of the Club so that when maintenance needs to be performed a wheel does not have to be re-invented, and pool furniture will be thematically coordinated with patio furniture and the tennis pavilion (up top), and all the other areas of our Club. When a sign goes up in one area of the Club, its format will be consistent with signage all around the Club. It’s genius if I do say so myself (which I can because Cris and Val thought of it – nicely done ladies).

The area of their Grand Plan that is of immediate need is the Bar & Grill area; inside and out. On Monday night Cris and Val presented the third iteration of a floor plan for that area that included tables, couches, umbrellas, fire pits, ping pong tables, planters and what can loosely be described as a tented area (think big awning attached to our roof, running out over the existing pergola/heaters, with sides that adjust up/down depending on the weather conditions – or think Boudin’s in Corte Madera). As you will see, the Plan is quite comprehensive; it’s a beautiful layout. See the plans just below (click any image to see a larger version) and let me know what your thoughts are about it. It seems to be exactly what we need; terrific job – but I’ll let you decide.

View the complete PDF at http://tiburonpc.org/files/house_grounds/TPC-Cafe-First-Thoughts-Presentation_041513.pdf.

What I did think to ask, as I assume most of you will, was – how much? Let’s spend a minute there and look at how this gets paid for. While only still in the preliminary planning stages, the estimated cost of this portion of the Plan, if we were to proceed down the path laid out on Monday night, is still being calculated but let’s discuss it in big round numbers. The designers who have looked at this put the price tag at between $200-$300k. Let’s plan conservatively and call it $300k although I believe it will come in below that. The vast majority of this cost is maintenance, replacing the existing furniture. The big, new element of the plan is the semi-permanent roof/wall structure that brings the outside in; that runs under $100k. If we were to proceed with this project as it is today (and we haven’t decided that yet), a reasonable completion date would not be before 2015 [choosing furniture, ordering it, getting town approval for the awning (and that’s not an automatic) to name a few time sinks]. The overall project will be broken up into stages with some stages being completed before others, but given that we’re nowhere near approval, the final completion date is more likely 2016. That’s 3yrs or about $100k per year from a Club budget that generates $500k/yr of free cash flow for maintenance and new capital enhancements. In other words, the Club’s budget can easily handle this project – no dues increase, no assessment – a no-brainer. Look at the plans and send me your feedback by leaving a comment below.

The last agenda item for our three Committee meetings last Monday was to build a social calendar. The consensus among us was that there are already probably enough big Club-wide events on the calendar as it is – Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, etc. The one Club-wide event we will absolutely bring back this year will be the year end Holiday Party but the SC doesn’t expect to put many other events like this on an already busy calendar. However, the area where the Committee thinks it could move the needle and bring some fun to the Club is in organizing smaller, somewhat regular events that cater to tighter constituencies within the Club. Some of that will be aimed at the group within the Club whose children have grown older (I’m reluctant to describe it as adult entertainment in fear of once again insulting the fragile sensibilities of some of our readers – but as you already know, and it didn’t take 18 letters for you to find out, I have none – sensibilities that is). We’re talking about wine tasting parties, Monday Night Football on a tape delay, Bridge (?), featured speaker nights – something where the young children crowd will be lighter. This isn’t a smirch against young children (I have four lovelies) but we really need to address the members of the Club who no longer have children under foot and want to use the Club when it’s not a thunder-dome.

That concluded the meeting, the next step is soliciting feedback from members – what do you think?
I must confess that I dropped the ball last week in serving you in my temporary role (only 7 more months) as El Hefe. There were two other Committee Meetings last week that I was unable to attend: Tennis and Fitness. So, I can’t really report on any progress there. I do know that the FC is focused on growing and improving their program classes but we will have to wait until the meeting minutes are released to get more detail. I understand the TC had a full agenda dominated by court usage issues and accelerated membership for two tennis families. We’ll have to wait for the minutes there too.

All right, enough, I’m typing one-handed these days which is a pain in the neck elbow so I’ll wrap this up. Upcoming Committee Meetings (yes, you’re all invited):

  • Board of Governor’s Meeting – Monday, 4/22, 6:30pm (tonight)
  • Youth Committee Meeting – Tuesday, 4/30, 5pm (next week)

Your job: please offer your comments below on the Bar & Grill Plan. I hope you all have a great week ahead.

All the best,



  1. mtierney says:

    Exactly what I was hoping for – thanks Keith.

  2. mtierney says:

    Awesome Karrie, you’re the greatest! This will be forwarded to H&G as well as the Social Committee.

  3. mtierney says:

    Brilliant Vince, thanks so much. I’ll forward this to House & Grounds and follow up with you before the summer. Thanks so much.

  4. Mike,

    I’m really happy that you are looking at the grounds and working to make improvements. I’ve believed for a long time that the grounds were not developed to the same level as the buildings at the club. I think that one thing that’s missing in the plan is a look at the landscaping.

    The club’s landscaping is really uninspired and drab. The front of the club was re-landscaped several years ago and it was a great improvement. I think that several areas of the club could use similar attention– including the back patio area.

    I hate to just drop comments without offering to help so I’m volunteering. If you would like help working on this, I have some time and a lot of interest (and a relevant background.)

  5. Karrie Groves says:


    Here is my take on the plans. Remember, this is only one, “childless” person’s opinion. BTW…I’m a HUGE fan of the wine and cheese tasting, guest speaker series, Art with a Twist (adult art and wine classes – very popular these days), etc. It’s funny…once you don’t have kids hanging out around your house, you really relish ADULT time. I love our club, but feel that we have somewhat neglected our older members’ desires. It would be so nice to have events just for those 18 or 21 and above every now and then.

    My opinions are associated with the numbers on the pdf plan:

    1. No rug in this area – hardwood floor easier to clean.
    2. Community table – nice idea (would probably assist with flow), but would recommend tables that can come apart. Think “Challenger” when all of the players and guests congregate in the lounge and watch TV. The long tables would not be conducive to this.
    3. What’s wrong with the current counter?
    4. Love
    5. Love
    6. Teak outdoor table is OK, but the boxy chairs are not very comfortable and are not very easy to maneuver for the very young and the very old.
    7. Love
    8. Love, but the picture shows white/light colored seating…NO! I really like the Bar Bocce version as it’s much more group friendly.
    9. Delete foosball – already have ping pong tables. Nuf said.
    10-13. Love
    14. Would encourage bench seating. Good for kids in wet bathing suits.
    15. NO!
    16. Replaces 15.

    Thanks for letting me comment and thanks for doing such a good job.

    Karrie Groves

  6. keith ogden says:

    Some comments in notes order:
    Okay, so what is this “Barn Grill” thing? Why in the heck would we want to grill a barn and who would we be grilling it for, anyway? (yuk, yuk, yuk)
    Community tables don’t seem to work very well, as most tend to be broken up into groups of 4 to 6. But as long as the table(s) are modular, that is okay. The current “high” tables are a personal favorite of my wife’s (and mine). They are nice “drop in” tables where she tends to hold court.
    I don’t like engineered stone all that much, being an old school fan of wood bars, and such…but if the restaurant experts tell you the stone will be easier to care for and will last longer with less maintenance, then I will eventually get over the change. (I don’t like change).
    I really like the concept of the enclosure for the outside area. What will the “roof” be made of? Are they thinking vinyl or something more permanent? And I am okay with just the existing heater area if permits for additional trellis infrastructure are too much.
    The notes mention teak tables. Are those good maintenance calls? My outdoor teak stuff is a pain in the patootie.
    Foosball? Does anyone actually use these anymore? 😉
    If tenting the back service area off the kitchen will work for the city and county health folks, GO GO GO. That kitchen is just too small to work. Is there any way to create a service pass through for food? It seems that one of the biggest bottlenecks is the single door. If you could pass food out for delivery, that might help. I know giving up storage space is a tough call, but if you blew out the storage closet and used half of it for additional kitchen space, you could make a single entrance or pass through on the half away from the wall and make a wall of built-ins with access from inside the kitchen.
    A useable walkway from the pool to the back patio would be a VERY nice add back. With the expansion of the kitchen, this redirected all that wet suit traffic through the club.
    Couple of “where do they go’s”. If you put the buffet under the tent, where does the bbq grill go? If you make the modular seating area by the indoor fire place, should there be a new TV over the fireplace? (or move the one at #3?) The small meeting room should be rethought with an eye to better use. Seems to be a good spot that ends up being dominated by kids in front of cartoons. Maybe that is the best use, but maybe not.
    If you add the pool access door, (number 15) don’t you recreate the wet suit in the clubhouse problem all over again? Unless county code requires it,
    Love the outdoor fire pits. Any chance they could get approved? Guess they have to be natural gas and approved by the city and county…

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