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Confessions of a Club Manager

A member of a previous club, who was also a past president, had a “financial situation” at the beginning of every season – rendering an inability to pay the annual fees in a timely manner. Sadly, this past president was also one of “those” members. He complained about everything, nothing was ever good enough, things were too expensive, the staff weren’t any good, he couldn’t get “his” regular tee times each week, etc. Each Spring when I provided the board with my 90-day past due report, this member’s name would be front and centre, as he was only ever one of two people on the list. For seven years the board wanted to expel the member, but I convinced them to let me work with the member to clear the account, after all, he was a past president and had a large group of friends – why create ripples. Each year the member and I agreed in writing to a payment and purchase plan (i.e. no purchases except golf carts were allowed until certain payment milestones were met), and each year the complaints and comments grew (although one would think at this point the member would just be thankful to be a member and keep his head down).

In my last year at this club, the greens crew were completing a full course coring, aeration and topdressing program late in the season. The member, true to his character and with clubs in hand, followed behind the crew and collected rocks and pebbles while the topdressing was being matted in, all the while declaring the course unplayable to anyone who would listen. On this particular day I happened to be on the phone with my professional coach, Kevin MacDonald, when the member burst through my door unannounced and without knocking, dumping his pile of rocks and pebbles in the middle of my desk, declaring, “the Superintendent should be fired” – and immediately left my office without uttering another word.

Within months of my departure to a new club, realizing that private club membership was no longer affordable, he resigned from membership! What irony!!

To this day, Kevin and I often speak of “Rock Dude”.

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