OLD WESTBURY GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB
OLD WESTBURY, NY
THE CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER/GENERAL MANAGER OPPORTUNITY AT OLD WESTBURY GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB
Old Westbury Golf & Country Club (OWGCC or Old Westbury) is a premiere member-owned, private country club on Long Island in Old Westbury, NY. The area is home to widely recognized clubs and golf courses, and Old Westbury is included in those clubs recognized as ‘top performers’ in the market.
The Chief Operating Officer/General Manager position at Old Westbury is a tremendous opportunity for an individual who is passionate about leadership, team development, enhancing the outstanding Old Westbury ‘brand,’ and building strong and engaged relationships with members and staff, while ensuring that modern management/leadership business practices are in place. Key to one’s success is being able to leverage best business practices effectively and efficiently, performance management practices, and the establishment of KPIs and clearly defined standards, while continuing to enhance an already high member experience.
The new Chief Operating Officer/General Manager will be an individual with exceptional and natural gravitas, a thoughtful and proactive style, and who can be an active “partner” with the OWGCC Board as they collectively plan and execute a continued focus on presenting Old Westbury as the club of choice in the area.
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OLD WESTBURY GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB OVERVIEW
The story of Old Westbury goes back prior to the turn of the century when William C. Whitney, then Secretary of the Navy, purchased the property and built the estate and tower in 1887. He also built the stables, which housed many great thoroughbred horses.
In 1904 the estate passed on to his son Harry Payne Whitney who also maintained a string of horses, one of which won the 1915 Kentucky Derby. Gloria Vanderbilt lived on the estate during the 1930s. The estate was inherited by Cornelius Vanderbilt “Sonny” Whitney in 1942. He demolished the old mansion and that same year built the mansion. In 1961, the then newly formed Old Westbury Golf & Country Club purchased 200 acres of the estate, including the mansion house, tennis house, polo buildings, stables, and tower. The mansion became the Old Westbury clubhouse.
In the past few years, OWGCC completed a major clubhouse expansion, including additional dining, bar, meeting, and kitchen facilities, and also totally reimagined its pool complex, adjacent event lawn, and expanded pool food service operation. In addition to the main clubhouse, the property also houses its golf course maintenance operations in the historic stables’ facility. Adjacent to the main clubhouse, the tennis and fitness center houses athletic facilities and an incredible indoor tennis court. Tennis facilities also include 13 outdoor courts (11 Har Tru, 2 hard). Golf facilities include 27 holes of highly regarded Rees Jones redesigned golf as well as practice facilities. The clubhouse sits atop the highest point hill in the region with commanding views of Long Island and the surrounding area, and the golf courses feature diverse rolling terrain, beautiful wooded areas, and water features. Summers are busy when the pool opens (Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend), and there are several Monday outings and special events throughout the year. Multiple dining facilities offer varying meal periods with a range of cuisine styles. OWGCC is open year-round, six days a week to its members.
Old Westbury’s three nine-hole golf courses are some of the most revered scenic and challenging assets anywhere in the state. Old Westbury hosted the 2013 Met Open and has played host to numerous other local, regional, and state golf events.
- Golf: 27 holes – Three nine hole golf courses; Bluegrass, Overlook, and Woods
- Tennis: 13 outdoor courts (11 Har Tru, 2 hard) and one indoor court
- Aquatics: One outdoor swimming pool complex with adjacent grand lawn
- Rounds of golf per year: Approximately 22,000
- Approximately 450-member families
- Annual gross dollar volume: Approximately $16,000,000.00
- Annual food, beverage and banquet sales: Approximately $4,550,000.00
- Gross annual payroll: Approximately $8,500,000.00
- Board of Governors is comprised of 12 members (4 officers)
- Current standing committees include: Finance, House, Communications, Pool, Golf, Greens, Entertainment, Fitness and Tennis
- OWGCC operates under section 501 (C)(7) of the IRS code
- Average age of members – 55 years
- Peak staffing levels: 200 associates, with some on site accommodations and half being seasonal
CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER/GENERAL MANAGER POSITION DESCRIPTION
Reporting to the President and Board of Governors, the new Chief Operating Officer/General Manager (COO/GM) will direct and administer all aspects of the club's day-to-day operations, including oversight of the club’s finances, annual operating and capital budgets, and long-range strategic plan. All department managers will report to the COO/GM including the Controller, Membership Director/Administrator, Human Resources, Head Golf Professional, Golf Course Superintendent, and Executive Chef.
Successful administration of the ”business” of the club while meeting annual strategic goals and expectations is critical, as is maintaining high member satisfaction levels. Setting, evaluating and maintaining exceptional standards of protocol in all areas is especially important to the Board and membership, as it is the key differentiator in a geographically competitive club market. The COO/GM must be able to effectively “partner” with the Board, providing visionary leadership, sound guidance, and thoughtful, well-reasoned recommendations, as well as being accountable for the results within his/her control. The new COO/GM must have a desire to be part of a transitioning traditional club and have the skills necessary to take the club to the next level.
In partnership with the Board, the COO/GM must: lead the development of a strategic plan/business road map for the current and future success of the club; identify issues, needs, goals, and objectives to help ensure the perpetuation and continued viability of the club; be a courageous thought partner for the Board, recognizing the importance of keeping the club on the cutting edge of country club excellence by having a keen understanding of current and future trends; and ensure the club is on the cutting edge of member engagement, communications, and awareness, including contemporary website and other communication tools.
The COO/GM must possess exceptional financial and budgeting acumen, with proven leadership qualities and team-building skills that indicate he/she can effectively direct, coordinate and control all facets of a full-service private club. This position requires sound overall financial management and administrative skills, with particular strengths in the selection and development of subordinates, internal controls, financial controls, general accounting, budgeting, management information, and critical success path planning areas.
Food and beverage operations are a significant portion of the member experience at the club, and the COO/GM must have significant and verifiable food and beverage expertise, as well as a history of hiring, training and supporting a strong, service-minded team in this and all other functioning areas. Focus on the food and beverage operations will be critical for short and long-term success at the club.
The COO/GM must have the ability to lead and motivate the club’s staff to establish and provide a consistently premiere experience for club members and their guests. The new COO/GM must be decisive, and take charge, leading the departmental managers to “push the envelope” to meet today’s member expectations, while balancing tradition and relevancy in all the club offers. The club is not looking for a “caretaker” manager, but rather a charismatic club professional who recognizes the need to stay fresh and relevant in today’s club environment, where operations don’t always have to function in an “that’s the way we’ve always done it” manner.
This “lead by example” COO/GM will look to enhance and elevate the overall membership and staff experience and ensure that metrics and KPIs are in place to measure success. Possessing the intellectual firepower to hold your own in an environment populated with highly successful members with great expectations is imperative. Paying attention to the details of maintenance, SOPs, overall member experience, staff culture and other key areas of success is also hugely important. Certainly, key to this success is “putting members first,” but recognizing that the foundation of staff support, mentorship, clear direction and “walking the talk” and “being present” is in his/her natural and engaging style.
Key attributes, characteristics, experiences, and style of the successful new leader include:
- Proven experience providing “best in class” service levels for members and guests.
- Being a naturally positive, energized, aspirational leader who understands the dynamics of a demographically evolving club, and who can and effectively lead various member constituencies to heightened and consistent enjoyment of their club.
- Having proven leadership qualities and team-building skills that indicate he/she can effectively direct, coordinate and control all facets of a full service private club.
- Being financially astute and able to effectively guide a $16M operation in a highly competitive and changing club industry landscape.
- Possessing a deep knowledge in active club or engaged hospitality operations, with especially strong Food & Beverage (F & B) skills, as well as bottom line performance metrics.
- Being naturally outgoing, conversant, respectful, and diplomatic, but able to say “no” when appropriate without alienating members or staff while doing so. Being humbly confident and “connected” to the membership and team is critical. Possessive of a strong record of selecting and developing talent in club senior leadership roles is also a foundation of success.
- Actively participating and thought partnering with the President, Board, Committees, and contributors to OWGCC’s success. Ultimately, the goal is to allow members to be members, enjoying their time and volunteer contributions, and not making operating decisions but being policy makers and strategic partners instead.
- Having experience and skills in creating and implementing strategic plans; anticipating how the club continues to evolve is important, as is being actively networked in the industry to the point of being on the forefront of trends in clubs, staffing issues, social changes, and economic cycles.
- Enjoying a track record of results in governance/leadership partnership with active Member Boards, or verifiable history of being able to lead effectively in a feedback rich environment.
- Being actively involvement in CMAA or similar hospitality organizations where he/she has a strong network of peers, and can stay actively abreast of the industry, trends, and opportunities for OWGCC to stay relevant and proactive for its members and staff.
- Enjoying a verifiable record of success in a similar quality club or highly regarded hospitality operation where performance metrics and member or guest satisfaction intersect for balanced success.
With the expectation that the new COO/GM will commence his/her role in early 2020, the following priorities have been identified as recommended primary focus:
- Develop a report to provide the Board with a thoughtful “State of the Club” analysis following ninety (90) days of overview and insight. This document will be part of the ‘roadmap’ to success, staff, plan, budget and other tactics and strategies for short and longer-term goals and should clearly spell out recommendations and opportunities to ensure first class delivery of a highly consistent member experience in all areas. Understanding where OWGCC has been and where volunteer leaders are looking for it to go and developing with them the ‘roadmap’ to success, and then executing it is critical.
- Similarly, understand, embrace, and execute the Board’s vision and strategy, with conviction, passion and energy in a manner that clearly conveys high value back to the membership. Work in clear partnership with the Board while doing, keeping them actively abreast of results. Getting to know each of them personally, as well as all other contributing volunteers to OWGCC’s success early in the position is a critical success factor.
- Meet and sincerely interact with and engage as many members as possible, “be present!” Build trust whenever and wherever possible, schedule interactive times and follow up on details.
- Spend time with the team, especially senior staff in all areas of operations, getting to know them, evaluating their abilities, and aspirations, ensuring that they and their respective teams have clear expectations and accountabilities in place. Especially important is to ensure that clearly defined objectives are in place in each department, the key senior staff are working collaboratively and there is a strong culture of communication in place.
- Understand the club’s finances, by working closely with the finance team, analyzing financial statements, cash flow and controls; and make any recommendations.
- Work closely with the F & B team to ensure that an appropriate foundation of success is in place in this department, both in the culinary and service execution sides of the operation. F & B operations are of utmost importance to the membership and meeting a majority of members’ expectations in this area is a critical success factor. Service standards and consistent delivery thereof is an important area of focus.
- Review the current purchasing policies and procedures, including the vendors, outside contractors, firms and individuals providing services to the club; and make recommendations about alterations, maintenance, materials, supplies, equipment and services.
- Become familiar with the care and maintenance of all the club’s physical assets and facilities, and any planned short-term and long-term facility improvements.
- Review the marketing and membership relations programs that promote the club’s services and facilities to potential and present members; and make any recommendations.
The ideal candidate will either be a successful, highly visible COO/GM at a club or a hospitality operation known for exceptional experiences, or be viewed as a management “superstar” with a minimum of 7 years of highly successful, progressive management experience in a top tier private club or hospitality operation.
Verifiable and demonstrated success in the key attributes noted above.
A demonstrable record of personal success, unimpeachable reputation, a hunger for “being the best,” recognizable and naturally articulate, because of experience and success, in communicating how and why results were achieved.
EDUCATIONAL AND CERTIFICATION QUALIFICATIONS
A Bachelor’s Degree from a four-year university or college is highly desirable, preferably in Hospitality Management. Credentials from the hospitality industry, recognizing on-going involvement and commitment to lifelong personal and professional development are desired.
SALARY AND BENEFITS
Salary is open and commensurate with qualifications and experience. OWGCC, along with the typical senior staff benefits, offers an excellent bonus and benefit package.
INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO APPLY
Please upload your resume and cover letter, in that order, using the link below. You should have your documents fully prepared to be attached when prompted for them during the online application process.
Preparing a thoughtful letter of interest and alignment with the above noted expectations and requirements is necessary. Your letter should beaddressed to Mitchell Barry, President and the OWGCC Search Committee, and clearly articulate why you want to be considered for this position at this stage of your career and why OWGCC and the greater Old Westbury/Long Island area will be beneficial to you, your family, your career, and OWGCC if selected.
IMPORTANT: Save your resume and letter in the following manner:
“Last Name, First Name - Resume” &
“Last Name, First Name - Cover Letter - OWGCC”
(These documents should be in Word or PDF format)
Note: Once you complete the application process for this search, you are not able to go back in and add additional documents.
If you have any questions, please email Patty Sprankle: email@example.com
Kurt D. Kuebler, CCM
Partner, KOPPLIN KUEBLER & WALLACE
561-747-5213 – Jupiter, FL