Is there a sense of community in the Colonial Country Club?

By: March 12, 2018

Troon has been selected to manage the Colonial Country Club in Memphis, Tenn. Troon Privé, the private club operations division of Troon, will manage this 18-hole facility.

The Colonial Country Club was established in 1913 and provides a full-service, private-club experience. The club has an impressive, rich history. From 1958 through 1988, Colonial Country Club hosted the PGA TOUR’s Memphis Open, now known as the FedEx St. Jude Classic.

In 2013, James W. Russell, a long-time member became the owner of the Colonial Country Club by paying $2 million for 372 acres appraised at $3.6 million. His intention is to restore the Colonial Country Club’s reputation.

Colonial Country Club

Members of the Colonial Country Club can enjoy access to all amenities:

  •  the South Course7,334 yards from Championship Tees, Course Rating – 77.2, Slope 148 (Championship Tees);
  • a 35,000 square-foot Southern-style clubhouse with casual and fine dining venues;
  • 6 Har-Tru tennis courts with one the region’s most active tennis programs;
  • a full-service fitness center with personal trainers and group classes;
  • an Olympic-size swimming pool with poolside food & beverage service;
  • and a full calendar of family-friendly social events.

Colonial Country Club & the sense of community

It is good to see that the Colonial Country Club embraced some of the latest private golf club trends like:

  • Health & Wellness;
  • Family-friendly social events;
  • Year-round events.

I think in these days, tradition and history are pushed into the background, while wellness is gaining momentum. Wellness is not only about the fitness center. It should be integrated into the food and beverage operations of the private club as well.

Private clubs like the Colonial Country Club should accept the various lifestyle choices and become more diverse. I checked their membership categories. They are still very men-oriented or I did not feel that they would really welcome women. Although they say that they want to “appeal to all members of your family”.

Women are the primary or only breadwinners in 40% of U.S. households with kids under 18 (source: Pew Research Center, 2013.). BMO Financial Group’s ‘Financial Concerns of Women’ Report found in 2015, that women currently control 51 percent, or $14 trillion, of personal wealth in the U.S. and are expected to control $22 trillion by 2020.

So if we want to improve the sense of community then we should come up with services and events that facilitate women’s participation and the wish to join your private golf club and participate in its programs. Another untapped opportunity is to welcome same-sex couples in our private golf clubs.

According to 2016 U.S. census data from the U.S. Department of the Treasury, men in same-sex marriages made 36 percent more money than heterosexual households (cca. $100K per year per couple).

We should neither neglect that phenomenon in our societies that there are more and more people who are not living in relationships. So let’s create a membership for singles and not just for families.

To answer the question, how could private clubs like the Colonial Country Club become more competitive and successful in the coming years, then I would recommend these steps:

  • Think about club membership and club life as a family experience;
  • Invest in customer experience since it is more important than tradition;
  • Be diverse and inclusive: Adjust your services to various customer types. You cannot serve only 1 membership type or demographic. 
  • More attention to wellness and self-improvement opportunities;
  • Utilize technologies to provide truly customized services and offers (e.g. beacon technology, artificial intelligence, wearables, etc.);
  • Be less formal and accept relaxed styles and concepts.

If you follow my pieces of advice then you are more likely to achieve high membership satisfaction and a sense of community.