Sawgrass Country Club Director of Golf
Director of Golf
Sawgrass Country Club
Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

DIRECTOR OF GOLF PROFILE:
SAWGRASS COUNTRY CLUB
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL
 
 
THE DIRECTOR OF GOLF (DoG) OPPORTUNITY AT SAWGRASS COUNTRY CLUB
 
Sawgrass Country Club (SCC) is one of the most notable golf venues in one of the most significant golf regions in the United States. The Director of Golf (DoG) position at SCC is a tremendous opportunity for an individual who is not only passionate about golf, but is passionate about leadership, team development, enhancing the Sawgrass brand, and building strong relationships with members and staff.   He or she must never be complacent or satisfied with simply being “good.” Over the past several years, SCC leaders have developed a vision of SCC’s future including capital improvements and new programs and activities that focus on ensuring SCC is both relevant and engaging for all its current and future members.
 
The DoG is a partner with the GM/COO, his/her fellow senior staff and the member volunteers who help shape and evolve SCC.  Taking full accountability for that role and being a sincere, engaging personality, the DoG must be highly competent in the critical success factor areas noted throughout this profile. They are essential to long-term success and crucial in achieving the high member and staff satisfaction levels demanded by SCC.
 
It is truly a great opportunity for candidates who value the unique North Florida lifestyle Ponte Vedra Beach offers.  Set in a community with the attributes of a large city, the area possesses many of the values and quaintness of a lifestyle in a small town and coastal island.  The quality of the schools, the wide assortment of outdoor activities and cultural events, and many other personal and family life programs can be found in the greater Ponte Vedra Beach and Jacksonville communities, making the DoG at Sawgrass Country Club one of the best positions of its kind in the country! 
 
SAWGRASS COUNTRY CLUB AND COMMUNITY
 
Sawgrass Country Club is the premiere member-owned, private club in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.  The Sawgrass experience is comprised of a recently renovated Beach Clubhouse, Golf Clubhouse, 27-holes of championship golf, a world-class racquet club with 13 courts, and a new fitness and wellness center.  All of this is bordering the Atlantic Ocean.  Conveniently nestled approximately 30 minutes from Jacksonville or St. Augustine and a short distance further to the International Airport in Jacksonville. St. Johns County Schools are ranked #1 in the state of Florida.
 
The Sawgrass mission is to “provide an exceptional ‘Sawgrass Experience’ by combining our oceanfront location with excellent facilities, programs and services for the enjoyment of our Members.”
 
Sawgrass Country Club was founded in 1974 by Jimmy Stockton and developed into one of our nation’s premier residential country clubs.  Jimmy Stockton hired Ed Seay, before he became partners with Arnold Palmer, “to design a championship golf course to resemble Troon, if Troon had palms and ponds.”[1]  Ed Seay succeeded and Sawgrass Country Club was born. 
 
Sawgrass Country Club hosted one of the PGA TOUR's premier events, THE PLAYERS Championship, for five years from 1977 to 1981, after which the TOUR moved the championship to their newly developed and present home TPC Sawgrass.  THE PLAYERS is a championship for the best TOUR players and carries one of the richest purses in professional golf to this day.  Jack Nicklaus won one of the THE PLAYERS Championships held at Sawgrass Country Club.
 
Golf continues to be integral to Sawgrass Country Club.  The Club hosts the annual John Hyat Collegiate Tournament, and has hosted the AJGA Junior Players event and the Women’s Western Golf Association’s National Amateur Championship in recent history.  Sawgrass Country Club has very active Men’s and Women’s golf associations and last year conducted more than twenty men’s and mixed golf events for members and more than 30 Sawgrass Women’s Golf Association events and team play dates.  Golf is very much alive at Sawgrass. 
 
Sawgrass Country Club features 27-holes maintained to championship standards.  The three 9-hole courses underwent a renovation project that was completed in the Fall of 2015.  All fairways, tees and bunkers were part of the renovation project and substantial improvement work was done on other areas including bridges, drainage, cart paths and irrigation.  The greens will be renovated in the future, and the club has embarked on the planning process to build a new Golf Clubhouse that will include golf training facilities.  Sawgrass continues to invest in golf. 
 
In addition to golf, Sawgrass Country Club also offers a stunning Beach Club, Tennis Club, and fitness facilities. The Beach Club is considered by the members to be the “social and tropical recreation center of Sawgrass Country Club.”  Significant renovations were completed in 2016 allowing the members oceanfront casual and fine dining, covered outdoor dining in addition to the seaside Pavilion Sandbar Bistro for a family friendly dining option.  There are two pools at the beach club, -- a large family pool and an adult-only pool and the beach is just steps away.
 
The Tennis Center has been ranked among the nation’s “50 Best” by Tennis Magazine and as a “5-Star tennis destination” by World Tennis. The Fitness and Wellness Center, located within the beachside clubhouse, is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment and a well-trained staff.  In addition to senior programs and junior athletic options the fitness schedule contains a variety of workout choices in addition to personal training options.
 
The vision of the Club is all encompassing and the goal is to:
 
“Enhance the ‘Sawgrass Experience’ by improving our amenities and service to achieve a higher level of Member satisfaction.  We will make our golf, tennis, fitness and beach facilities the best in our area, and ensure that all of our facilities are inviting, functional and well maintained.  We will offer a variety of enjoyable dining alternatives wonderful food and maintain a level of service throughout the Club where every Member and guest is treated as a preferred customer.  Our dedication to fiscal responsibility and appreciation of staff will further assure the long-term success of our Club.  Our commitment on enduring excellence will securely establish Sawgrass Country Club as the first choice for those seeking the best private club experience in our area.”
 
SAWGRASS COUNTRY CLUB BY THE NUMBERS:  
  • At present, there are approximately: 600 Full Members, 800 Social and 125 Tennis Members totaling nearly 1,500 member families in all.
  • Initiation Fee - Full Member: $31,500
  • Dues – Full Member: $807/month
  • 27 holes of Ed Seay original design and redesigned by Robert Walker supports nearly 50,000 rounds of golf annually.
  • Overall operating budget is approximately $15.0M.
  • Golf Operational budget for 2017 is approximately $2.16M from all revenue sources.
  • Golf Course Maintenance budget for its 27 holes is approximately $2.4M.
  • Golf Clubhouse is approximately 45,000 square feet and contains the golf shop, banquet rooms, as well as the Grill Room for dining
  • Golf Shop is approximately 2,000 square feet and is owned by Sawgrass Country Club
  • Shop Sales Volume: Hard Goods - $250,000+, Soft Goods - $475,000+
  • Gross Golf Shop Operations Payroll - $628,000
  • Golf Operations maintains 18 FTE
  • 13 Har-Tru tennis courts (5 lighted) and are individually fenced and tiered
  • Junior Tennis Academy
  • Fitness and Wellness center offers personal training and group classes
  • Physical Therapy and Massage Therapy services are offered on-property
  • The Club is organized as a 501c7 and is a not for profit corporation
 
SAWGRASS COUNTRY CLUB WEB SITE: www.sawgrasscountryclub.com
 
DIRECTOR OF GOLF POSITION OVERVIEW
 
The DoG must be an exceptional leader and manager who recognizes and respects the contributions of volunteer members and staff of all levels.  The DoG must be capable of both guiding and holding members and staff accountable to achieving and maintaining high standards.   He or she will directly manage the Golf Operations Department and work closely with the Director of Agronomy and other Department Heads, while reporting to the GM/COO.  The position will promote an exceptional “club member golf experience” and provide creative services and programs for all members and guests.  The DoG is expected to be a strategic leader of the golf experience at Sawgrass and therefore a person of intellect, vision, and planning acumen.   
 
Sawgrass Country Club is an exceptionally busy, year-round operation, including active children’s and junior programs and strong member participation in ladies and men’s golf groups.  Leading a team of golf professionals and service staff who emulate a positive “tone at the top” demeanor is of critical importance.  The DoG at Sawgrass is truly the “golf ambassador” of the Club.  He or she must embody the highest levels of integrity, professionalism, diplomacy and be a highly active, engaged and visible presence with both members and staff.  He or she will be a “go to” individual who takes ownership of the operation and should be a highly visible and engaged senior manager.  The ideal candidate is a “true visionary” for SCC’s golf operation and beyond.  While building relationships with every constituency within the greater SCC membership, the DoG is someone who needs to have his or her finger on the pulse of all operations and be of the mindset that SCC is “one club, one team” in all that he or she does.
 
The DoG’s direct reports at present include:  the Golf Professionals, Merchandiser/Buyer, Outside Operations Supervisor, Outside Operations Staff, and Locker Room Attendants, for a total of 18 team members.
 
Critical success factors for the new DOG include 
  • Ability to secure high levels of membership satisfaction
  • Ability to create a strong identity for SCC professional staff and develop an effective plan to attract and retain talent
  • Ability to develop and maintain, and consistently enforce, high standards of conduct, performance and standard operating procedures
  • Ability to effectively communicate with all staff, not just in the golf operation, recognizing the “one club, one team” philosophy
  • Being consistently innovative and highly visible, and ensuring the same level of engagement from the team in his or her absence
  • Ensuring that all members within the Club look at him or her as “our” DoG; not viewed as being partial or showing favoritism to a group 
There are areas within the SCC golf operations that are performing at an exceptional level and may need to simply continue or need only slight “polishing.” Understanding when and where to prioritize is very important.
 
The proposed construction of a new golf clubhouse, currently envisioned to be located adjacent to the existing one, will be an important opportunity for the DoG to participate in the planning and construction.  Yet, even before the renovation occurs, the new DoG will be expected to inject a fresh focus and innovation into the golf program and create an enhanced culture of professionalism and service at SCC.
 
While we are looking for the “consummate golf professional” in all aspects of competencies and experiences, the successful next DoG needs to be a great “generalist;” meaning a good player, a good instructor, a good merchandiser, a good innovator, a good tournament host and marketer, but above all, a great communicator!  We are looking for a “special person” who embraces the golf experience at Sawgrass, and who, by personal persuasion and commitment, creates support for his or her efforts.
 
KEY RESPONSIBILITIES
 
While all typical competencies are important, our need is for a Director of Golf who will:
  • Provide quality leadership and a positive, highly visible and engaging style; be a real people person and communicate openly and freely with members
  • Define and perpetuate a “Sawgrass Member and Guest Golf Experience” that meets the expectations of its members
  • Maintain a professional appearance
  • Lead and manage the overall golf program including implementing new programs to attract young players and be inclusive of all demographics, recognizing his or her primary role is to “grow the game at SCC”
  • Work closely with the Director of Agronomy and other key Departments in coordinating planned closures for events and scheduled maintenance, demonstrating a strong “team player” leadership role
  • Be ambitious and motivated
  • Be responsible for all golf operations including golf shop, merchandising, bag room, starter and practice facilities, as well as locker room experience.  Taking ownership of the entire golf to 19th hole experience is important.
  • Recruit, hire and train the Professional Golf staff and all golf operations employees
  • Oversee the golf instruction and player development programs for all member segments
  • Work in conjunction with the Marketing Department in golf marketing initiatives including promotional material, player recruitment, new golf memberships, golf packages and outside events
  • Oversee other sports marketing efforts for tennis and fitness center
  • Manage fiscal responsibilities for all golf areas including planning, budgeting, monitoring and corrective management
  • Oversee all operational policies, procedures, controls and fee structures to ensure the safekeeping of assets, inventory and resources
  • Represent the Golf areas at major club governance meetings and information sessions
  • Maintain and promote a superlative professional image within the community
  • Must be an organized, competent, respected manager and possess outstanding customer service skills
  • Must be able to perform all physical requirements of a Head Golf Professional including the ability and confidence to play golf with members and in various club events 
CANDIDATE QUALIFICATIONS
 
To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty. The requirements listed above are representative of the knowledge, skills, and abilities required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
 
EDUCATIONAL AND CERTIFICATION QUALIFICATIONS
 
Preferably, a college degree, and hold a minimum of a “Class A” card and be a registered member of the PGA.  Further, a verifiable commitment to continuing education within both the PGA and potentially CMAA, as there is a strong desire in place for candidates with leadership skills beyond golf operations.
 
SALARY & BENEFITS
 
Salary is open and commensurate with qualifications and experience. The Club, 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 be addressed to the SCC Search Committee, and clearly articulate why you want to be considered for this position at this stage of your career and why SCC and the greater Ponte Vedra Beach area will be beneficial to both you and the Club if selected.
 
IMPORTANT:  Save your resume and letter in the following manner:
“Last Name, First Name Resume” &
“Last Name, First Name Cover Letter”
(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.
 
For directions on how to upload your resume and cover letter visit this page
 
If you have any questions please email Nan Fisher: nan@kkandw.com
 
Search Executive:
 
Kurt D. Kuebler, CCM
Partner
561-747-5213 – Jupiter, FL
Kurt@kkandw.com
www.kkandw.com                                                                      
 
[1] GolfWorld.com May 4, 2009