Center for Club Education

Request an NCA speaker for your next event

The National Club Association's Center for Club Education is a dynamic registry of programs that our expert speakers are able to present to clubs—through in-person events and online as part of our webinar series. These programs offer general managers, board members and other club leaders answers and information concerning the most important issues of the club industry today. To arrange for one of our speakers to present to your local chapter or board, please call 800-625-6221.


Club Trends and Membership Marketing

Navigating the Future: The Outlook for Private Clubs

Through comprehensive research that illuminated key trends affecting the club industry, NCA and the NCA Foundation assessed ways in which the industry is shifting and how clubs should respond. This program summarizes what was learned from this study, including: (1) The implications of a multicultural America; (2) The likely impact of the generational changing of the guard; (3) What lifestyle changes are likely to have the biggest impact on clubs; (4) How the spending habits of affluent segments of the population are changing; and (5) How clubs – and club members – of the future will differ from those of today.

Club Financial Trends Outlook
The economic outlook and related issues on the horizon for 2015 and beyond can be key to achieving long-term financial prosperity for the private club industry. Much of a club's success depends on the available discretionary funds of members and potential members. Consumer confidence will continue to affect consumer spending for some time to come. In addition, tax reform continues to be a key topic of discussion in the nation’s capital and could have a major impact for clubs in the years ahead. This presentation examines the economic outlook for the club industry for 2015 and ways clubs are responding to sustain operations and achieve growth.

The Economics and Realities of Club Renovations

Private clubs are capital-intensive facilities, in terms of both operations and physical improvements. Build­ings, grounds and outdoor facilities generally have a fixed life span and need continuous attention. Maintaining and improving a club’s facilities can involve some of the most expensive, and at times difficult, decisions for a club to make. What are the best options for financing capital improvements? How should a club plan for this type of project – who needs to be involved and what are the critical steps to take to ensure a successful outcome? This program addresses these and other key questions involved in the conceptual and design planning of a renovation project, with case studies that showcase ways to implement effective planning for a club’s capital projects.

Governance Programs

Developing a Culture that Encourages Strategic Thinking

There is an adage in the business world that “culture eats strategy for lunch.” Yet, the pursuit of a vision for an organization is likely to be far more successful when strategic thinking is encouraged by its culture. Developing an effective strategic plan is an important part of the process, but creating a strategic culture goes well beyond that. Strategic thinking is what enables a club to make timely and effective decisions to implement the plan. This session provides guidance and offers suggestions on ways to leverage the impact of your strategic plan and build a culture with board and staff leadership that will maximize your success in addressing future challenges and opportunities with a shared purpose and vision.

Leadership Development for Private Clubs: Ways to Achieve Exceptional Board Practices      

Successful leaders often share several key traits: they provide direction and meaning; they generate and sustain trust; they show a willingness to take action; and they encourage others to work toward achieving a common goal. These attributes often involve recognizing and pursuing best practices -- for the good of the whole. This program addresses leadership traits that encourage sound and effective club governance, topics to address in board orientations, and the importance of strategic planning and risk management. Also highlighted are the ways in which effective board leaders can significantly impact the level of a club’s achievements.

Addressing Conflicts of Interest in the Boardroom

Private club board members can find themselves facing very real ethical dilemmas, in which there are gray areas of what really constitutes a conflict. The session covers textbook views on conflict of interest; provides real life examples from private clubs across the country; and suggests litmus tests that board members, individually, and club boards, collectively, can use to determine if a conflict exists and how to address it.

Building Effective Club Boards and Committees
Boards and committees contribute to organizations in a wide variety of ways and bring an equally wide range of backgrounds and expertise. Knowing and understanding key characteristics of volunteers can help clubs encourage visionary leadership that will enrich the quality of the facility. This program's areas of focus include: structure and practices of effective boards, enhancing leadership skills of volunteers, fostering a culture that encourages growth and creativity, and establishing clear boundaries between management and governance.

The Board Chair-CEO Partnership: Keys to Success

With new club leaders regularly stepping into chief executive-board chair relationships, how do they develop a system for collaboration? This program provides background on ways to blend distinct personalities, operating styles, perspectives and preferences for a win-win situation. It also addresses ways to find common ground, overcome challenges and balance the roles and responsibilities of the club’s top leaders.

Fraud and Risk Management

This program provides an overview of audit committee responsibilities in the private club industry, to help club leaders gain a basic understanding of how the audit committee functions and its fiduciary responsibilities including:

  • Appropriate committee size
  • Whether an audit committee is necessary or required for your club
  • The committee’s role in review of internal controls
    Areas of risk to examine
  • Required communications with outside auditors, management and the board
  • Requirements under Sarbanes Oxley
  • Establishing a “whistleblower” policy
  • Use of industry benchmarking


Legal and Government Relations Programs

The Changing Outlook for Private and Tax-Exempt Status: What’s Important Today and How It Might Change  

A private club that loses its private status not only could forego Constitutional protections and exemptions from many federal laws, but its tax-exempt status could also be jeopardized. Legal cases, societal change, and growing economic pressures have made this a challenging issue for many clubs. This program explains the differences between private and tax-exempt status and where they may overlap. It also examines why you would want to keep your club truly private and what it takes to do that, as well as considerations that could affect your tax exempt status. Specific areas covered include the impact of nonmember business activities, guest policies and reciprocal arrangements, the importance of selectivity in evaluating prospective members and bylaw provisions to protect private status.

Ensuring Club Stewardship through Updated Bylaws and Other Governing Documents
The bylaws of a private club are not only a key governance document—they also help to define the club. In line with NCA’s updated "Private Club Model Bylaws," this program highlights the ever-timely challenges of bylaws for clubs and their boards. Failure to update, follow or implement bylaws can have serious consequences. The program provides strategies for keeping bylaws up to date with members’ needs, evolving changes in the club environment and state statutes. Also addressed are methods for gaining approval of bylaw changes and best practices for assuring compliance.

The Legal Landscape for Private Clubs: Areas of Liability and Exposure
From employee grievances to termination questions to the clubhouse pool, today’s club managers feel like they have to be both a manager and a lawyer to succeed in their job. This program will analyze developments in HR and employment law as well as the many potential liability areas that can arise from club operations. It will also explain proactive measures clubs can take to protect themselves, and it will provide policies clubs can use to minimize legal exposure for managers and boards.

Members Behaving Badly: Dos and Don’ts of Membership Discipline
Every club has one: The member who is a little too demanding in the Grill or the one who spends too much time at the bar. Enforcing the club’s conduct standards may seem like an easy task, but at times it can lead to significant legal issues being raised. Compliance with the Uniform Non-Profit Corporation Code, state laws and the club’s bylaws are imperative when disciplining a member. This program examines the problems with, and the procedures for, an effective resolution to a membership discipline issue. If done correctly, the club will always be successful. If not, the sanctioning of a member, or his removal, could cause more problems than the member had.

The Balancing Act of Membership Development and the Admissions Process: A Balancing Act for the 21st Century Private Club
The admission of a new member is one of the most important decisions at a private club, yet the economic pressures that many clubs face today lead them to consider policies and procedures that undermine the legal protections that privacy affords. This program covers the broad spectrum of issues that can arise in the admission process of a truly private club and offers some practical guidelines for addressing them. Highlights include the impact that “easing” your club’s admissions process will have on its private status and the importance of member engagement in increasing membership rolls.

The Outlook for Health Insurance: How Clubs are Dealing with the Affordable Care Act      

The complexities and challenges of dealing with the employer requirements imposed by the Affordable Care Act are daunting for many private clubs. Despite a desire to maintain high quality benefits for their employees and to minimize the cost of those benefits, many clubs are finding that the process of determining the best options for the club and its employees is not an easy task. This program provides an overview of options clubs have considered to respond to the employer mandate. Also examined are the factors that could affect future decisions about what to offer and the financial impact of potential changes in health benefit programs.

Legislative and Regulatory Outlook for Private Clubs

The policies that are developed in our nation’s capital often have a significant impact on clubs throughout the country. As the voice of the private club industry, NCA is actively engaged in protecting and defending the interests and well-being of the private club industry with leaders in Washington. This presentation offers an insider’s guide to what’s going on in Congress and how those on Capitol Hill and in federal agencies can directly impact a club’s day-to-day operations. Also examined are the ways in which the election results could affect the club industry in the future.

DOL's Overtime Exemption Rule

Recent regulatory changes to overtime compensation is changing in December 2016. There is little doubt that many currently exempt employees will soon either be entitled to overtime pay or will see their hours reduced to ensure they do not work more than 40 hours per week. Either way, this new rule will have a significant impact on private clubs, their employees and their members. Learn what you need to know to stay in compliance.

Club Communications and Technology

Effective Communications Strategies: Keys to Engaging Members
The world has experienced a sea change in communication techniques and strategies in recent years, and many clubs have taken advantage of the opportunities to expand member engagement. This program addresses key aspects of a well-rounded communications plan, which is critical to club efforts for maintaining active members and building awareness and use of a club’s services. It also covers ways to build and manage a communications strategy through development of targeted content, interactive communications tools and lifestyle marketing, to help your club increase member awareness and satisfaction, as well as ongoing member retention.

Strategic IT Planning for Private Clubs

This program covers the most important steps your club should take to keep pace with the ever-evolving world of IT, including: basic IT Maintenance to serve as the foundation upon which IT strategy is built, including five-year IT budgeting, hardware obsolescence planning, core software application replacement scheduling and user skills enhancement; alignment of IT strategy with your club’s overall business plan to compliment the club’s big-picture planning, featuring strategic IT positioning, capital improvements, new amenities and services, and enhancements to policies and procedures; and, discovery of cutting-edge technologies, highlighting the latest innovations and the newest tools to improve the member experience, reduce costs, increase revenues and introduce efficiencies.

Ways to Assess and Maximize Your Club’s Investments in Technology

“Why did we spend all this money – is this new system really helping us?” Questions such as this can arise in a club setting just like any other business, as club leaders focus on ways to communicate and operate more effectively. Technology is ever changing, but keeping up with the evolving opportunities it can present for a club can be crucial to ensuring the club’s future success. Still, it’s an area that can be challenging unless there’s an ability to demonstrate a significant return on the investment. This program addresses key ways in which to maximize the impact of the club’s IT investment, the benefits it can provide for the club’s membership and ways it can improve a club’s areas of operations.

Leveraging Your Club Website: The Comprehensive Club Experience

As technology permeates members’ lives, adapting your club’s website to best appeal to member preferences can further engage them in the club lifestyle, drive member participation, and increase member satisfaction and involvement. Learn how creating a true mobile site, integrating interactive features, and incorporating a social element can help the club connect with current members and prepare it to welcome and engage with the next generation.

Club Industry Brief

NCA's free bi-weekly news digest is designed specifically for private club leaders. It covers industry news and trends and articles on golf, membership and operations for private clubs.