This blog features information and advice from industry professionals on relevant club topics and issues. A companion to CMAA's Research Archives, this resource is updated biweekly.

Submissions should be sent to Kyle.Jennings@cmaa.org for consideration.

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Are You Ready To Defend Your Club and Yourself? Cyber Threats to Clubs Are Real (Part I)

(Accounting and Finance, Risk Management) Permanent link


Before you can develop a security strategy for your club, you need to know what the risks are. To determine risk, the organization must understand the type of external threats it faces, including the motives, means and techniques of today's perpetrators. Yet, it's becoming harder to identify these threats. In the past few years, the nature of cybercrime has changed dramatically. Once a pastime for hobbyists and amateurs, cybercrime is now within the purview of organized criminal enterprises, whose agendas and methods are significantly different from that of the stereotypical hacker. more...

OSHA Modifies Injury Reporting Requirements

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09_17_14_175wAs announced September 11, OSHA will now mandate a change in reporting for employee injuries. Effective January 1, 2015, clubs will be required to notify OSHA of work-related fatalities within eight hours, and work-related in-patient hospitalizations, amputations or losses of an eye within 24 hours. Previous OSHA regulations required        more...

DuPont to Pay $1.8M Penalty to EPA for Imprelis

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icon blog blue - 100wThe Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced its settlement with DuPont over violations of federal pesticide laws related to the product, Imprelis. Designed to control weeds like dandelions, clover, thistle, plantains and ground ivy, the application of Imprelis led to widespread tree deaths and damage at residential and commercial properties across the country. more...

House Approves Bill to Block EPA’s Waters of the US Rule

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On September 9, the House of Representatives approved HR 5078, the "Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act of 2014.”" The measure prevents the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from further "developing, finalizing, adopting, implementing, applying, administering, or enforcing" the proposed Waters of the US Rule that would dramatically expand federal jurisdiction over waters and wet areas in the US, including most bodies of water on golf courses. more...

How to Have Executive Presence: It’s All About the Intangibles

(Leadership) Permanent link


I recently visited with an elite leader—Paula Costa Bravo—because I was curious to find out how this well-educated, Brazilian-born woman navigated the dicey waters of corporate America, particularly as someone who is relatively new in her leadership role. I asked her how she was surviving since her company had just laid off hundreds of people.

She looked at me and, without missing a beat, said that it’s all about “mastering the intangibles and establishing an executive presence.” I sat staring like a deer in the headlights, then realized that she was about share some pearls of wisdom. I took out my iPhone and feverishly started taking notes.

She started by saying that during times of uncertainty, executives must transfer security and confidence to their direct reports, other departments, peers and customers. Paula went on to share five critical intangibles she’s learned—not in business school, but in the trenches.


Command the room – When you enter a room, what is your posture? Your shoulders should be erect, not slouched. Your pace should be swift but not hurried. These subtle adjustments send a micro-message that what is about to transpire in this meeting is important. Additionally, eye contact and a simple greeting should be given to set the tone for the meeting. When appropriate, an authentic smile loosens the tension in the room and invites everyone to relax as you proceed with business.

Visual appearance speaks loud and clear – Have you ever seen someone who always appears frumpy and disheveled? Someone who is smart and has a good work ethic, but always looks like a “hot mess”? I remember years ago when one of my adopted sisters told me, “Simon, you can always judge a woman by her black pumps.” She told me that if the heel is scraped and the shoes look run-down, it speaks volumes about how much a woman cares about herself and maybe even how she runs her business. The same goes for men. This isn’t a new idea: If you have read the classic book by John T. Malloy, Dress for Success, then you are familiar with proper dress code.

However, nowadays, with more people telecommuting and working virtually, do you think how you dress impacts your attitude or approach to work? It really does make a difference in how you are perceived.


Connect first and communicate last – When she said this, I was stunned because I have often wondered why some people with okay credentials get ahead, get promoted, get added to a committee or become the go-to person, while others who have the right pedigree seem to stay stuck in neutral. Then I recalled that women have two problems with men:  We don’t talk, and we rarely listen. When we do talk, it’s all about us; and when we do listen, it’s selective hearing. I am totally guilty on both counts, and I’m working on getting better.

The bottom line is very simple:  You have to connect through asking vs. telling. Giving vs. receiving. Having a phone conversation vs. e-mailing. Why? Behind content is intent. The delivery system is as important as the message. I know that this is totally old school in the midst of instant messages and texting. Yes, you can communicate using these quick methods—but is there really a connection? You be the judge. Isn’t there still room for the “high-touch” in the midst of high-tech euphoria?

Content flows from a congruent spirit – Paula then almost knocked me out of my chair by saying that when one masters the intangibles, he or she discovers the secret sauce:  that success is about 60 percent presence, 20 percent visual, and 20 percent content. She said that the presence part is the most believable—right, wrong or indifferent—because there has been a ton of upfront time put into whatever message that is truly being transferred during every interaction. This doesn’t mean that one slacks off in preparing substantive content. Bottom line, a congruent spirit seeks to serve and give instead of force-feeding his or her message.

09_18_14_SimonTBaileyExecutive presence is a daily choice. It doesn’t matter if you lead a team, are an individual contributor, are self-employed, or are in transition. Just remember to think about how you are showing up every day. The intangibles create the foundation that establishes the brilliant difference you make. 

Simon T. Bailey is a Leadership Imagineer who teaches organizations how to build a bridge from where they are to where they want to be. He is the former leader of Disney Institute and founder of Brilliance Institute. He is author of Shift Your Brilliance. He thought leadership is featured in a weekly column through American City Business Journal and has been written articles for Entrepreneur Magazine and Business Insider. When not traveling, he resides in Windermere, FL, and cheers on the Buffalo Bills.

Ten Ways to Grow Leisure Programs

(Sport and Recreation) Permanent link


With quality amenities and talented staff, your club can take actions to realize solid program participation. Here are some ways to see new faces and increase program attendance.

Use cutting-edge communication systems. Broad and effective communication must be a top priority, and depending on whom you are targeting some mediums work best. Develop an app for your club. As members frequently look at their smart phone, they can view your club’s current programs, make a reservation or book a lesson. Get prominent digital display boards that are easily updated and show text, pictures and videos about all leisure activities. Systematically call prospects and new members. For example, the fitness director can work closely with the membership director to get current names and contact information for new members.  Then, personally call each new member, welcome them to the club and invite them to an activity.

Focus on non-players and novice programs. The biggest opportunity to grow leisure programs is with the many people who are not involved. Instead of focusing on people who play, grow your base by promoting and nurturing novice players. Make sure you have the right staff for beginners, for not all instructors have the patience or skills to make them feel comfortable. Besides instruction, playing with other beginners is essential. For example, have a novice round robin tennis tournament where only true beginners are involved and players change partners and opponents. Besides learning the basics of scoring and court positioning, this is a great format for them to make friends – a key for staying involved.


Get new people involved with committees and programs. A concern of long-term committee members and staff is their programs can become stale. New people bring novel energy and ideas. Let new people create original formats and take ownership of these activities, for often they will bring new participants. If you have a popular format, like mat Pilates, and only mediocre attendance, change instructors and see what happens.

Consistently deliver fitness orientations. Do center orientations at least once a month, for these serve operations and program participation. Fitness orientations need to cover the important topics of safety, cleanliness and usage. Besides the meet and greet benefits, people need to know how to safely use all machines. A good orientation gives members this essential information which can produce twice the workout and better results. When someone sees results they are more likely to return and share their success with others.

Schedule ROGY events. This acronym stands is for the color of tennis balls – red, orange, green and yellow. As a child grows and develops they progress from a larger red ball, to low compression and eventually to the standard yellow ball. Unlike many tennis tournaments that require two or more days, ROGY events can be finished in a morning or afternoon. During these events for children, schedule complementary leisure programs for parents, so the entire family is participating at the club. 10 and under tennis is a huge trend and presents major opportunities to grow your base of children.

Rotate days and times of class schedules. Unless you have numerous offerings, introduce a new day or time for popular formats to attract new people. Are you doing programs that fit the tight schedules of working men and women? Also, introducing a new time can be just temporary to gain new participants. When the new attendees truly like a program, they may adjust their schedule to make other times work. Take the risk of putting a new class on the schedule for a couple of months then review.

Let people try before they buy. A professional, who is very personable and skilled, knows that if someone participates once they will likely have a very positive experience and come back. If your club charges for group fitness classes, let a member “try one on the house.” Proactively inform the instructor about first-timers, so she can ensure success. Another example is give free half-hour hitting lessons. Grow your leisure programs one person at a time with positive initial experiences.

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Get your departments working in concert. Although golf may still be king, other departments need similar attention. Have all of your directors working together and scheduling complementary programs as often as possible. In the summer have programs like "Junior Superstars" that combine golf, swim and tennis activities for points and prizes. When directors actively support and are visible in other departments this sends a powerful message to members. Very successful programs are realized through interdependence which serves participation. 

Recognize members who participate. Recognizing people fulfills a basic need, and a great way to do this is simply say "thank you."  At the end of a program, does your staff sincerely thank the people who attend? Acknowledge members who participate in programs with their names and pictures on bulletin boards, newsletters or web sites independent of any achievements. Simply recognize people for being present! Truly, this makes people feel important, builds rapport and enhances participation.

Deliver Wellness Programs. Wellness is a forward trend and likely the biggest opportunity for amenity programs. There are six dimension of wellness – physical, intellectual, spiritual, social, occupational and emotional. Each spoke on the wellness wheel is huge, so no one is an expert on all six dimensions. The challenge of wellness is its depth and breadth. The good 09_16_14_Christopher Hagmannews is you do not need major capital expenditures - just get a wellness director. This is someone who is passionate about wellness, can disseminate great information and attract expert presentations. Wellness programs include much more than fitness centers and spa services. Diverse wellness programming can reveal club opportunities, improve everyone’s health and connect members to activities.

Christopher Hagman ACE, USPTA is President of Atlantic Recreation, www.atlrec.net, an affiliate of the CMAA. He is a graduate of the University of Florida, the Living Foods Institute and is a student of wellness. Since 1991 his firm has worked with many clubs to develop, manage and evaluate their fitness and tennis operations. For more information contact him at (404) 307-4893 or chris@atlrec.net.

Stronger Together: Why Tennis Needs to Be at the Table

(Sport and Recreation) Permanent link


One of my missions since I took over the reins as CEO at USPTA has been to create lasting relationships with many affiliated organizations that have a vested interest in tennis. So, I was excited to be invited to participate on a panel discussion at the Florida Summit for Golf, Sports and Spa/Fitness Management by the Florida Chapter of CMAA.

Also participating on the panel were the Florida chapters of GCSAA and PGA, and the newfound Club Spa and Fitness Association (CSFA). This was an honorable attempt at bringing our organizations together to discuss some of the ideas and challenges that face the club industry today, and kudos to Florida CMAA Managing Director Beth Meister on putting together a successful event.

Much of the discussion centered on golf and the growing concern that the sport’s participation is decreasing. According to the National Golf Foundation (NGF), a total of 3.7 million people took up golf in 2013, however, 4.1 million golfers left the game, for a new loss of 400,000 players. In 2014, 650,000 men left the game, and the biggest loser was the 18-34 age demographic, losing 200,000 players. The PGA of America projected a total of 28.7 million golfers in 2013, while NGF estimated 27.1 million, but the estimated number of golfers in the U.S. in 2013 was at 24.1 million.


With decreasing participation, there are also fewer golf courses being built. Only 14 new courses (in 18-hole equivalents) were built in 2014 in the US and another 157.5 closed their doors, for a net loss of 143.5 courses.

On the other hand, tennis has experienced modest growth over the past 20 years. Tennis is the only traditional participation sport to be ranked in the Top 10 in terms of participation growth out of nearly 120 sports and activities surveyed in the Physical Activity Council (PAC) 2014 Participation Report. In the US, tennis grew by 658,000 players, or four percent, in the last year, to bring total tennis participation to 17.68 million players, according to PAC data. In 2013, more than two million players between the ages of 6 and 12 took to the courts, an increase of 4.8 percent over 2012.

Tennis has experienced a rise in participation due to the collective efforts of the industry coming together to grow the game over growing their individual brands. In my previous blog, I talked about how tennis adds value to a club membership. Providing club members with a variety of amenities allows clubs and facilities to show they can cater to a large demographic and provide their members increased value for their money.


Having the opportunity to participate on this panel and attend this event reinforces why tennis and USPTA should be a part of the conversation. Being able to come together to learn about other associations and the issues they face while sharing ideas and knowledge are what is going to make the overall health of the club industry stronger.

09_11_14_John EmbreeThis event was a good example of organizations willing to come together to support the club industry, and as the leading association for tennis-teaching professionals and coaches, USPTA should be involved. Invite us to the table, and let your members hear what is happening in the tennis world. There is no reason why we can’t have similar events across the country where our organizations come together to learn from each other.

If I can answer any questions for you, please do not hesitate to contact me directly at my office. Thanks for your support of the USPTA!

John Embree is CEO at the United States Professional Tennis Association and can be reached via e-mail: john.embree@uspta.org or (713) 978-7782, ext. 117


Amplify How You Lead at Your Clubs: Adapt to Four Types of Communication Styles for Club Managers and Leaders

(Interpersonal Skills, Leadership) Permanent link

09_09_14_175wRemember your last miscommunication at your club? Did you say, “It’s not you, it’s me?”  Well, it may have been both of you.
 For club managers and professionals, effective communication skills are at the foundation of being an effective leader. As managers and leaders, you are the club’s professional problem solvers. more...

This information is provided for informational purposes only. The contents are presented with no warranty, either expressed or implied by the Club Managers Association of America. No legal responsibility is assumed for the outcome of decisions, commitments or obligations made on the basis of this information. If your club is faced with a question concerning legal issues, you should contact the club’s legal counsel for the specific application of the law to your situation.