Shady Canyon Golf Club General Manager/COO
Shady Canyon Golf Club
Irvine, CA

The story of Shady Canyon starts with the land. 
When the Irvine Land Company began planning the course and community, the top priority was to preserve and be especially sensitive to this biologically diverse and exceptionally beautiful natural setting.  To accomplish this task, they turned to world renowned course designer Tom Fazio, who created a highly acclaimed golf course, ranked among the Top 200 in the U.S., to be the centerpiece of this community.
Located in Irvine, California adjacent to Newport Beach, Shady Canyon Golf Club (SCGC or Shady Canyon) is just 15 years old and is already considered as one of the top clubs in California and the country!  The General Manager/Chief Operating Officer (GM/COO) opportunity at Shady Canyon is a special one as everything about SCGC radiates high-quality and first-class and the new top executive will inherit an exceptional team of professionals and a highly functioning operation.
The new GM/COO of Shady Canyon will lead an organization that has a focus on the “continuous evolution to excellence” in all that it does.  Maintaining quality of membership, quality of staff, quality and innovation of amenities, programs, and activities while staying current on societal and club trends will be at the forefront of responsibilities while elevating one of the best of the best to even further heights!
Click here to view a brief video about this opportunity.
Established in 2001, Shady Canyon Golf Club is one of the finest, private equity clubs in the country.
Scenic, rugged, unspoiled, Shady Canyon is blessed with unparalleled natural beauty.  The clubhouse and golf course, set on 300 acres, are artfully shaped within the contours of the land. 
Shady Canyon is a golf club that epitomizes the game at its best, and provides a venue where families gather, where friendships are made, and where camaraderie endures.  The Tom Fazio course has been hailed as nothing short of a “golfing masterpiece,” winning rave reviews nationally.  Shady Canyon was recently named one of Golf Digest’s top 200 courses in the U.S., public or private: a list containing more than 15,000 courses nationwide.  Like so many memorable courses, Shady Canyon is a golf course that offers a different experience each time you tee it up and with 5 different sets of tees and stretching to 7,012 yards from the blacks, it allows golfers of all abilities the opportunity to challenge themselves. 
The 42,000 square foot Clubhouse provides a rich array of activities – you may enjoy a sophisticated service in the elegant dining room or have a light lunch while relaxing on the lanai.  The Club is an active hub for its members’ and their families with significant and innovative activities occurring year-round.
The 6,700 square foot Spa and Fitness Center offers everything from state-of-the-art fitness equipment to spa treatments and allows members to enjoy a luxurious and healthy lifestyle.  Daily exercise classes, specialized instruction from a personal trainer or one of our whole body, wellness inspired, spa treatments are just a few of the amenities available. 
A variety of programs and special events are planned for adults and children throughout the year.  Youngsters may find themselves in an instructional game of golf, joining the swim team or taking an exhilarating ride on the 1000-foot zip line while attending the Club’s Annual Camp Out.  Monthly wine dinners, summer concerts on the event lawn and themed pop up events are favorite activities of adult members. 
An extremely active club, Shady Canyon was created to be nothing less than the finest private golf club in the country, a club devoted to the tradition and highest standards of the game; a sanctuary where members could relax, recharge, and enjoy themselves with their friends in an atmosphere of natural and formal beauty. 
  • At present, there are approximately: 430 Regular Full Golf Members, 169 Social Members, and 24 various other membership types.
  • Dues – Full Member: $21,900 annually for Regular Full Golf Members
  • 18 holes of Tom Fazio design supports nearly 33,000 rounds of golf annually
  • Overall operating budget is approximately $18.0M
  • Food and beverage volume is approximately $4.7M, with approximately 51% from ala carte dining
  • Golf Shop is approximately 2,000 square feet and beautifully appointed
  • The Club is organized as a CA not for profit, mutual benefit corporation
  • The average age of members is 58.
  • The Club has an annual minimum charge of $1,600, billed quarterly
  • There are 9 Board Members, each serving three-year terms, as well as Finance, House, Golf, Greens, Membership, Nominating and Oversight Committees
  • The Club uses the Jonas system for POS and accounting operations
  • The current GM/COO is moving to a new club after nearly 11 years in the role; most of the executive departmental leaders have been with Shady Canyon for more than ten years 
The new leader of Shady Canyon should maintain constant focus on the Club’s commitment to be first class in every area of the operation.  An understanding of and an appreciation for the nuances and training involved in creating this type of environment is an especially important aspect of the position.  These touches should be seamless from the valet to the golf course to the dining to the staff and all areas in between and need constant attention to detail and team development to ensure execution.
Members and guests of Shady Canyon retreat to the Club from their busy lives and forming relationships and connecting with those members from day one is be a top priority.  The new GM/COO should essentially bridge the gap between members and staff and be an inspiration to everyone he/she encounters.
The GM/COO functions in a CEO-like fashion, working very closely with the Board of Directors of the Club, and leading a very qualified group of senior staff.  The GM/COO is looked upon as the face of Shady Canyon Golf Club and, in partnership with highly regarded senior staff and key volunteers, is a primary “visionary” to ensure that SCGC consistently executes at an exceptionally high level of personalized service.  This “lead by example” GM/COO will be coming into a role and Club that “is not broken,” but will continue to look to enhance and elevate the overall membership and staff experience, and to be an employer of choice within a highly competitive hospitality community.
Significant to the new GM/COO’s success is the ability to understanding the unique nature, likely through current or previous first-hand experience, of residential community clubs, especially in one like Shady Canyon where the golf experience is first and foremost, highly complemented by exceptional other amenities and personalized member experiences. 
Certainly, key to this success is putting members first, but recognizing that his/her foundation to provide staff support, mentorship, clear direction and “walking the talk” and “being present” in his/her natural and engaging style.
The ability to manage expectations at a high level of dynamic leadership and reasoning is critically important, but a fair amount of that is accomplished simply by being present, approachable, accessible, diplomatic, and by having the necessary “gravitas” to be viewed with confidence by all constituencies.  Possessing the intellectual firepower to “hold your own in an environment populated with highly successful members with great expectations” is crucially important and may be achieved by approaching it with just the right amount of sophistication.  “Paying attention to the details” of maintenance, SOPs, overall member experience, staff culture and other key areas of success is critical.  Possessing a high level of financial acuity including accounting and budgeting skills with the ability to articulate your thoughts, opinions, and recommendations in an appropriate manner is equally important.
Key attributes, characteristics, experiences, and style of the successful new leader include: 
  • Being a naturally positive, energized, aspirational leader who understands the dynamics of a family-oriented club, and who can and has effectively led diverse age demographics to harmonious and supportive enjoyment of their club by helping volunteer leaders and members in general recognize and anticipate industry and societal trends that will allow a continued pipeline of prospective members.
  • Possessing a deep knowledge in active club operations, with especially strong F & B skills and a high level of appreciation of quality golf operations and course conditions.  Recognizing of and truly understanding of quality assets --- both physical plant and staff --- is an absolute quality necessary for success and support in this environment.  “Guarding” this expected quality is a key attribute necessary for building trust and confidence within the volunteer and staff ranks.
  • Actively participating and “thought partnering” with the Board, Committees, and contributors to SCGC’s success.  Ultimately, the goal is to “allow members to be members,” enjoying their time and volunteer contributions, and not making operating decisions but rather being policy makers and strategic partners.
  • Being naturally outgoing, approachable, “present,” conversant, respectful, and diplomatic, but able to say “no” when appropriate without alienating members or staff while doing so.  Being respectfully confident and “connected” to the membership and team is critical.  Possessive of exceptional communication skills, both verbally and in written form is critical for this primary communicator of information roles at SCGC.
  • A mind for innovation and ‘freshness’ of keeping operations relevant, energized and active, primarily done through a natural passion for the role and Shady Canyon, as demonstrated in prior roles.
  • 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, communities, real estate, and economic cycles.  Active involvement in CMAA or similar organizations where he/she has a strong network of peers, and can stay actively abreast of the industry, trends, and opportunities for SCGC to stay relevant and proactive for its members and staff.
  • Possessive of a strong record of selecting and developing talent in club senior leadership roles.
  • Financially astute and able to effectively guide a $18.0M operation, likely to increase in overall revenues at the completion of future capital plan, assuming approval as expected.
  • A track record of results in governance/leadership partnership with active Member Boards.
  • A record of success in a similar quality club that has a verifiable history of strong member satisfaction and support. 
With the expectation that the new GM/COO will commence his/her role in late Summer/early Fall 2019, the following priorities have been identified as recommended primary focus: 
  • Listen, observe, meet, and learn the membership and staff before making any significant changes.  As noted above, Shady Canyon is not broken; having the emotional intelligence to watch, absorb and evaluate before making significant changes must be a natural and intuitive trait.  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. 
  • 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 SCGC’s success early in the position is a critical success factor.
  • 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.
  • 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 continued elevation of an already highly functioning member experience The focus on an exceptional experience and continued enhancement of Shady Canyon’s reputation both locally and nationally is critical, as is ensuring that it is seamless in its delivery in every department, all of which have complete reporting responsibility to the GM/COO.
  • Review the staff talent recruitment, retention, and overall development programs to ensure that this critical area of Shady Canyon’s successor continues to have the support and resources necessary to perform at its expected high level.  Ensure that a high level of team morale and member/guest appreciation is in place and perpetuated.
  • Ensure the significant capital projects currently in the planning process are on track. 
A minimum of 5-10 years of progressive leadership/management experience, preferably in a GM/COO role in a golf centric, private member-owned country club residential community with multi-dimensional operations, or leading hospitality operations outside of the club industry in a similar hospitality operation.   True ‘rising stars’ from the club industry who have been verifiably well-mentored, or those hospitality industry managers who come from top quality environments and who possess outstanding relationship (in addition to transaction/operational) skills will also be considered.
Verifiable 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.
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 is open and commensurate with qualifications and experience.  The Club, along with the typical senior staff benefits, offers an excellent bonus and benefit package.
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 Steven Sunshine, President and Search Chairman and the SCGC Search Committee, and clearly articulate why you want to be considered for this position at this stage of your career and why SCGC and the Irvine, CA area will be beneficial to you, your family, your career, and the Club if selected.
Expressions of interest in this manner should be conveyed to our Firm no later than June 13, 2019.  Candidate selections will occur in mid-June and first interviews are expected to occur in early July, final selections will likely be made in late July with the successfully selected candidate starting around Labor Day.
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 Patty Sprankle:
Search Executive:
Kurt D. Kuebler, CCM
561-747-5213 – Jupiter, FL                                         

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