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Caution: Club Perks Can Put Jobs At Risk

Jim McLoughlin

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For most superintendents the list of ultimate perks an employing golf club can bestow on them and their families is the following: granting privileges in the areas of club membership status, access to the clubhouse food & beverage programs, access to tennis and swimming pool facilities, access to the golf course and access to club championship events.

 

The rationale for this perk policy is twofold: (i) As a reward to show appreciation for well-performing golf course superintendents; and/or (ii) To help retain superintendents' services when they are likely to receive/seek other job offers.

 

Caution: Quite surprisingly, without a lot of forethought club administrations too often grant perks to their superintendents that they shouldn't because their club memberships resent the intrusion into their membership world. For example:

 

  • On rare occasions, long employed superintendents will be granted membership status only to find out later that their club memberships resent this perk being given because this is seen as the equivalent of undocumented aliens being granted the right to vote.

     

  • On somewhat rare occasions, likable superintendents and families are granted access to golf club championship events. Nothing displeases club memberships more because staff families are competing against and taking away championship opportunities from members and their families who pay for the privilege.

     

  • On a more frequent basis, many superintendents and families are granted access to the swimming pool and related activities - a perk that is not favorably received by club memberships because member and staff poolside dress codes, discussion topics and social patterns do not generally mix well.

     

  • On a more routine basis, granting respected superintendents and spouses access to club luncheon (not including dinner) programs is well received by everyone because this allows superintendents to be perceived by club members in a professional light -- a courtesy extended to club golf professionals every day.

 

Recommended Policy: The only club perk superintendents should accept (even freely negotiate for) is access to the clubhouse lunch program with discounted chit signing authority that would include spouses but not children .

 

As tempting as it may get, accepting any more expansive privileges than access to the clubhouse lunch program is guaranteed to offend some meaningful part of the club membership.

 

Do superintendents put their jobs at risk when they accept perks that memberships disapprove of? Not immediately, but if they accept perks that club memberships resent over time they will build an animosity between themselves and their memberships that will eventually undermine their job security.



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