The note to the golf course board member nominating committee read as follows, “With heartfelt sadness, request that Dr. John Edwin DeVore be withdrawn from consideration for board member nomination for (Sherwood) Springs Village Golf Course. After a great chat-interview-with the President of the Board and the Chief Executive Officer of the golf management company, the long-held personal vision for the course is not consistent with the current needs and reality of course management and operations.”

Having been involved in two unsuccessful campaigns to become a member of a golf club board of directors, it felt necessary to share learnings and experiences. The first attempt was for a board secretary position that had been vacated by the (Sherwood) community resident who, along with other members of the board, had successfully orchestrated a community campaign to petition enough community residents to become members of the community development facility to purchase the course from the developer. After successful transfer of ownership, board of directors, and operations management of the course, the board secretary opted to leave the board.

Having served on the feasibility committee that made the recommendation to the community to purchase the course, the author was somewhat familiar with the community and the course board members. The rejection of this candidacy by the nominating committee was philosophical. The current board was committed to operating the facility independent of the developer-community homeowners’ organization (HOA). During the feasibility stage of the acquisition process, the author had openly lobbied for ownership of the facility by the HOA when development was complete. The author was simply not a good fit for the current board of directors and independent operation of the facility.

As noted, the second unsuccessful bid for a board position was personal choice early in the nominating stage of the candidate selection process for two board position vacancies because of expiring terms on the board.

Personal assessment of the author’s Board Member Position Requirements (Scale of 1-10, 10 points being highest.)

  • Competence: specific duties and responsibilities the person needs to do well to succeed; and track record of success with required duties and responsibilities. 8 points (A)
  • Character: values, guiding principles, and ethics. Honesty, integrity, and morality are a must. 10 points
  • Compatibility: Is the opportunity a good fit for the candidate and the board? 0 points (B)
  • Chemistry: How do the candidate and folks feel, “deep down,” about the candidate? 1 point (C)
  • Confirmation: wise counsel from others is critical to selection decisions. 1 point (D)

(A) Candidate absent tact, patience, and self-restraint necessary to deal with course and community culture. Assignment: recommend candidate read Brene’ Brown’s Atlas of the Heart.

(B) Candidate background, experience, and interests are not required for the current and foreseeable future. A golf management company is moving the course in a positive, price-volume, cash flow incented direction. The current board is being guided, trained, and managed by the the golf management company; and because of the past unsatisfactory financial management of the course, the services of the golf management company are a must for the course.

(C) Course culture is simply not a good fit for the candidate.

(D) Candidate has evolving, eight-year awareness of the semi-annual transitions in 55+, snowbird, resort-development community course. Integral therapist would recommend not compatible for peace-of-mind.

Twenty (20) of possible 50. Simply not a good candidate.

Learnings are twofold:

  • If golf is in the genes and playing golf are at the top of the personal agenda, as part of the golf community selection process, prepare your list of questions and include interviews with the president of the golf course board of directors and the manager of golf operations. This will help to ensure the community selected has the type of golf facility that will satisfy your golfing needs and wants. There are several types of facilities: private clubs, semi-private clubs, military base courses, municipal courses, resort courses, development courses, university courses, and non-traditional courses.
  • After selection of a community and with move-in complete, should the inspiration surface to participate in board of director leadership and management, prepare your list of questions and interview the president of the board and the head golf operations professional to understand and become aware of the course vision, mission, strategic objective, and strategies. The answers to your questions should offer reflection material to facilitate either a good fit, or not a good fit, decision.

Selecting the right people is hard work! Folks do not remember what you did or what you said. They will remember how you made them feel. Don’t stop the music! Have fun; and hit ‘em high and straight!


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