CEO Blog: Oh What a Night

National Club Conference Day 2 Recap

Published Wednesday, April 18, 2018
by Henry Wallmeyer

Day 2 of the 2018 National Club Conference was full of inspiration and information. The program commenced with the presentation of the colors by the 1st Marine Raider Support Battalion Marine Special Operations Command Color Guard and a rousing rendition of the National Anthem by Abigail Gast. This patriotic opening was the perfect introduction for our morning speaker, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Colonel Jack Howard Jacobs (ret.).

Colonel Jacobs was an officer with the 82nd Airborne, and he earned the Congressional Medal of Honor for heroism on the battlefields of Vietnam. He also represents the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation, and his humorous and thought-provoking presentation reminded attendees of the great and important things we can achieve if we take responsibility for ourselves and those around us. His presentation included a touching video featuring past Medal of Honor recipients discussing their wartime experiences and how those experienced touched their lives.

Next came a timely and informative presentation by Bill Walshe, CEO of the Viceroy Hotel Group. Bill talked about “Prideology,” the idea that pride is the most underrated attribute of success. He reminded the club managers and administrators in the room that our purpose is to make the club experience extraordinary every day. He also pointed out that pride goes both ways and that when club members feel valued, the payoff is that they will be just as proud to be members as you are to have provided them an outstanding membership experience.

Bill’s presentation was followed by a discussion of 21st Century Club Governance by Fred Laughlin, Director of Global Golf Advisors, which was moderated by Henry DeLozier, Partner with Global Golf Advisors. Through the Q&A session Fred offered guidance and answered questions from the audience about board issues, bylaws, and a host of other club governance matters. The session was extremely informative and valuable!

Next up was Chip Brewer, President & CEO of Callaway Golf for a discussion about the challenges and opportunities in the golf equipment business moderated by Mike Stachura, Senior Editor-Equipment for Golf Digest. Those of us who love golf (everyone on the room!) thoroughly enjoyed this inside look at the golf equipment industry.

After Chip’s discussion, we heard from Trevor Coughlan, Director of Marketing & Product Management for Jonus Club Software. Trevor talked about changing demographics, changing lifestyles, and how clubs can identify and attract the next generation of club members.

Chip was followed by Elise Buik, President & CEO of United Way of Greater Los Angeles. Elise talked about the growing homelessness problem across the US, including the increasing numbers of homeless veterans and issued a call to action. United Way of Greater Los Angeles has a close relationship with the Jonathan Beach Club, and I was pleased to hear, as were conference attendees, about the important contribution the club is making in the community.

After a short break for lunch it was back to work. Although it’s hard to describe a conversation with the great and fascinating Peter Ueberroth. In a free-wheeling Q&A discussion moderated by David Voorhees, General Manager of Big Canyon Country Club, Mr. Ueberroth talked about his history in business and his experiences running the 1984 LA Summer Olympics and as Commissioner of Major League Baseball.

Next up was Eliza Selig, Director of Communications for Hospitality Financial & Technology Professionals, who presented the findings of the recently completed HFTP/NCA study on the state of club technology. The data she presented will provide valuable guidance to clubs who are exploring how to meet their own technology needs. 

Following Eliza, Jose Villa, Founder and President of Sensis offered a presentation on Embracing Cultural and Generation Diversity. Through his eye-opening presentation Jose provided invaluable information about how America is becoming increasing culturally diverse and what that means for clubs moving forward. 

Finally, Brad Steele, NCA’s VP of Government Relations & General Counsel provided a look at the key legislative initiatives on which NCA is working, including a number of important victories over the past year. He also offered his perception of the legislative outlook for the coming election.

As you can see it was a busy day and when the sessions were over it was time to relax, and we relaxed in style at the Jonathan Beach Club. The club was a wonderful host and our attendees dined in extraordinary style! Thank you to GM Matthew Alnatt, Santa Monica High Orchestra for providing the outstanding music and everyone at the Jonathan Club for an unforgettable evening.

Finally, I want to thank all of our sponsors. Without you the National Club Conference couldn’t happen. Thank you to ClubCar, sponsor of the morning breakfast and vendor showcase, and also the transportation sponsor for our evening at the Jonathan Beach Club; Creative Golf Marketing, sponsor of the morning and afternoon refreshment breaks; and Condon O’Meara McGinty & Donnelly LLP, sponsor of our spectacular evening reception at the Jonathan Club. Sincere thanks to all of our conference sponsors!

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.