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2023 Year in Review

A special thank you to Club Unity for sponsoring this year's review.

Find our top 10 data sets from around the globe (Ok... mainly just Canada, the US & UK) listed in detail below. It was difficult to trim this list to 10. In 2023, we gathered, sorted and distributed data from 70 different surveys, including a management compensation survey and city club specific survey, to Club Managers and GM's on both sides of the pond. Questions sprawled topics that we hadn't asked before. As always, this is part of the fun. Venturing into new, and age-old, topics to pull numbers and collaborate on issues leaders are facing. We are looking forward to starting up again in the new year, until then, enjoy a recap...

10 - Sustainability

Going green/carbon neutral has been a big topic for many UK clubs (something 59club is actively engaged in as well) and by the looks of it is entering the minds of GM's in North America as well. There were multiple queries that came in regarding energy costs and consumption and what clubs are proactively doing to improve this, if anything. Here's some of what we found in the UK:

Canadian specific data...

9 - Legal Battles

Often we'll be speaking with a club GM and they will lament about an ongoing legal dispute they're having with a staff member or member and how much the issue extols energy away from doing their day-to-day job. We thought it would be an interesting question to delve into. The results were surprising:

(Can data, UK and US data are closer to 1/3 clubs and 6 years)

In addition, we were asked for some data by a GM this fall regarding members that are charged with a crime outside of the club, as the Manager was left questioning things with no club policy in place.

(Canadian data, US numbers sit closer to 50%)

8 - Board Makeup & Skills Matrices

It's long been an industry standard to have board members with designated professions....

(US data, UK and CAN data is similar)

...but many clubs are now focusing on obtaining more women, an millennials, on the board as women represent a growing share in club membership (diversity and inclusion is a warmer topic in some parts of the world than others, reach out if you want data on it).

The irony about this list is that Club Managers desire board members with human skills more often than a particular designation.

With an emerging increase in the GM officially sitting on the Nominating Committee (more here), we can remain hopeful that hard skills and profession will not forever dominate board selection decisions.

7 - Car Theft & Damage

Wow. This data was another shocker from 2023. One of those - "you don't know until you ask." type of questions.

(Canadian data, UK data much lower at 20%)

6 - GM Pedigree

For years, the GM/COO position at a club used to be heavily skewed by someone with a hospitality specific of F&B background. An F&B Manager becoming a Clubhouse Manager, or AGM, would likely dominate the applicant pool for open GM positions. This could be because F&B is often the most scrutinized area within a club by the board, and membership, or maybe golf pros simply weren't as interested in the position in years gone by? We've only tracked this for a relatively short timeframe but this is the first time we are seeing golf pros top the list for what department path current GM's are coming from.

(Canadian data, US and UK are a lower %)

5 - Parking

A huge issue at clubs, no, but interesting nonetheless to see more than half of the club properties out there, regardless of the country, have problems with this. I guess bigger lots are one solution but wouldn't it be great if members and guests carpooled to the club, especially for events!

(US data)

4 - Work-Life Balance

Each year we try and stay in tuned with how many hours industry personnel are logging, vacation time and even work from home data. This year we even dove into how often GM's are checking their email while on vacation (a disheartening 95%+ across the board). We are happy to share that there are more vacation weeks being offered and though there are some that still work 60+hours a week mid-season it certainly isn't everyone.

(UK data, CAN and US data doesn't deviate too much)

3 - Dues (Operational and Capital)

Average budget planning discussions around operational dues are usually in tune with the annual consumer price index. The last three years haven't been much of an exception with clubs making up for increased costs (it made us think we should have an industry 'Member Price Index' for dues moving forward).

(UK data, CAN - 15% and US - 17%)

(CAN data below, US avg cap % generated is similar but monthly charge is closed to $90-$100)

(US data)

2 - Inflation

Supply chain issues were compounded by increased costs in early 2023.

Wholesale cost of goods in F&B and retail items saw rapid change that led club operators to follow suit.

(CAN data)

Longer wait times meant costs had time to increase, exceeding existing budgets for capital projects too, leading to necessary adjustments and in some cases even had some clubs backing out of a renovation due to affordability...

1 - Staffing

On the plus side, staffing levels rebounded across the board in 2023 after a dismal year in 2022 that saw many club leaders feeling stressed out and helpless...

Of course, there were more issues that surfaced such as wages and gratuities. These were the top asked questions for 2023. Recruitment was the issue in 2022, now without increased wages and grat implementation retention may just be the problem on the horizon.

(CAN data)

(UK data)

We broke down gratuities in 2023 by auto-grat, or service charge, in dining and banquets as policies vary by club...

(CAN and then US data)

Front line staff info and clear evidence of employment costs increasing is valuable data but we didn't want to leave management out and were curious about tenure by department. In fact, our most popular blog post to date is on the topic of GM tenure that you can find here. GM turnover, at least at this frequency is not a good thing for the industry.

Many are finding other ways to incentive and invest in staff. One way, which we are firm believers in and have a great tool for, is online staff training.

(UK data, CAN data is 60% and US is 55%)

Clubs that thrive will be finding ways to invest in their staff in the coming years. Capital plans occupy as much as half, or more, of many strategic plans these days. Perhaps the pendulum has swung a little too far away from the roots of the industry and hospitality? (More here)

That concludes our top 10 data sets and Year in Review for 2023. We tossed a few honourable mentions below. Happy New Year to all, wishing everyone a great start to 2024.

(1. CAN 2. US data. 3. UK data. 4. UK data 5. US data)

Thank you to our year in review sponsor...

Club Unity is the software for pros and GM's that are tired of their clunky old tee sheet. It's the most user-friendly software on the market with features that delight members and save pro shops time. Club Unity is quickly gaining a stellar reputation for their outstanding product and exceptional customer service. See for yourself at

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