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The Reasons Behind Committees

by Ed Shanaphy, CMAA

Private members clubs are known for their committees. Presidents of clubs create committees to investigate, research, advise and enact. But we so often hear “Rule by committee is impossible.” Perhaps, but there are two distinct advantages for a General or Club Manager to welcome committees.

Just flicking through the pages just after the listing of the board inside any club handbook, we find the Executive Committee, Membership, Green, House, Nominating, Golf, Tennis, and other subcommittees that may have been set up over the years. Perhaps other than the Nominating Committee which has a strict focus, almost any subcommittee is formed for just two reasons in the eyes of any strong club leader. And, although committees may be numerous, we as club leaders need to manage them with aplomb. Remember one motto: Those club members volunteering to work on committees are passers and receivers. And the two advantageous reasons to have committees is part of that dynamic.


Committees communicate. We as club leaders worry far too often about the incoming communications, the criticisms, the comments, the complaints. But it doesn’t have to be just that way. Committees can be our eyes and ears if we view them in a positive way. Along with the complaints may come innovative ideas from a member-centric viewpoint that we might just not see. Ideas from food and beverage, comments heard among team members that might shed light on team vs non-team staff members, and reactions from member visits to other clubs and facilities.

But really, committees can be the eyes and ears monitoring staff’s work ethic aling with staffing numbers, and member service levels. They can alert us to understaffing, or under-utilization of staff far before we might, our department heads or our captains might catch it on the restaurant floor.

Outgoing Publicity

Perhaps the number ine reason we work with committees is to get news out. Event marketing, staff changes, rule amendments,

Ed Shanaphy is President of and serves as Director of Tennis and Assistant General Manager at Sippican Tennis Club in Marion, MA and Director of Club Operations at The Boulevard, Vero Beach, FL.

  1. Get out communications
  2. Eyes and Ears

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