Bellevue is a city of 50,000, just south of Omaha, which means Platteview GC competes with the city's top clubs for members. When we began working with the Board there, in 2007, that competition wasn't going so well. Like many clubs, PVGC was just struggling to get by; its list of deferred maintenance items was long (and getting longer).
What's more, since its founding 1966, this had always been a “golf club”, not a country club. All the trends in club management since the Recession of 2008 have pointed to the diversification of club offerings. This is how many private clubs, LGM-managed and otherwise, have managed to thrive in the last 10 years. Platteview didn't have the facilities to compete in this way and, frankly, neither did it have the will. This has always been a golf club with a well-respected, classically designed golf course — and that's what it wanted to remain.
As with many turnaround stories in the club management business, Platteview's resurgence stemmed from a successful sales effort.
With the club's 50th anniversary approaching, in 2016, LGM Regional Operations Manager Chris Jacobson formulated a truly bold, creatively themed membership drive. Essentially, Chris and the Board agreed to offer prospective members full, annual memberships for only $1,966 each (to mark the year of the club was founded). That is a significant discount, of course, and — as is the case with many such creative, LGM initiatives — it took a significant internal sales effort to convince the Platteview Board this was the way to go.
Of course, signing and keeping 100 new members are two different things. We at LGM had to make sure social programming and activities (golf and non-golf) were designed and administered to truly integrate new members and their families into the existing club culture. This we have done — at LGM, this sort of due diligence falls under the broad category of “Service” — and the entire membership is all the more energized for it.
If we drill down, several other initiatives had created the conditions and trust that a) convinced the Board to go with our $1966 membership drive; and b) gave existing and prospective members the confidence this club was finally on firm financial footing.
First, we spared neither effort nor expense in burnishing the club's primary asset — the golf course itself, a very attractive Lawrence Packard design with a reputation for the best greens in Greater Omaha. We had to prove to existing members that Landscapes was committed to preserving and enhancing the golf experience, which, as mentioned, is the club’s central vision of itself. We improved conditions, built a modern practice facility with funds from a corporate partner and people took notice — not just members but their guests and regional tournament organizers (since 2007, Platteview has consistently been chosen to host qualifying rounds for the United States Golf Association Mid-Amateur Championship, the USGA Junior Amateur Championship, the Nebraska Golf Association Match Play and Four-Ball championships).
Second, LGM saw the opportunity to develop non-golf revenues at PVGC, primarily via food & beverage operations. Prior to 2007, the club was only generating some $200,000 in annual gross F&B revenues — and that was essentially a break-even affair. So Chris Jacobson and his team got in there, scrubbed the place down and reinvented the menu. In 5 years' time, the club had increased annual gross revenues by $150,000 — two-thirds of which stood as profit. Today, annual F&B revenues are nearly $500,000 with the same profit breakdown.
That sort of net-profit generator really means something important in the club management scenario — more than just money going to the bottom line, to be honest. It means people (and families) are coming to the golf club for reasons other than golf. The improved reputation for quality fare means the club's modest 100-seat banquet space is drawing another new, profit-generating demographic to the facility.
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