Whippoorwill Club General Manager
GM
Whippoorwill Club
Armonk, NY

                                    GENERAL MANAGER POSITION PROFILE: WHIPPOORWILL CLUB
                                                                            ARMONK, NY

GENERAL MANAGER (GM) AT WHIPPOORWILL CLUB
The Whippoorwill Club is a family focused full service private golf and country club located in Armonk, New York. Whippoorwill represents an especially important part of its members’ lives, many of whom are multi-generational, by maintaining its traditions and by continuing to invest in its facilities and membership programs.  Whippoorwill prides itself on its family-oriented culture and membership comradery. Helping to maintain the Club’s character is the overriding mission of the General Manager position at Whippoorwill.

Whippoorwill is looking to hire a strong, professional, intuitive leader who can inspire and manage the staff to accomplish the goals set forth by the Club’s Board.  He/she must have impressive financial competency and be able to stay focused on budgets. Further, the new GM is expected to maintain the high standard on food and dining and successfully oversee all departments. Reporting to the President, the GM is responsible for the day-to-day management of the Club. In collaboration with the Board of Governors and its committees, the GM ensures that Whippoorwill operations run smoothly and efficiently, promotes professionalism among the staff, oversees the efficient management of a busy Clubhouse, and fosters an atmosphere that ensures harmony throughout the facility.

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WHIPPOORWILL CLUB
Whippoorwill was founded in 1928 and features an 18-hole Donald Ross/Charles Banks designed golf course that was recognized by Golfweek as a Top 100 Classic Course in 2018. Other facilities include: six Har-Tru tennis courts; new full-service driving range and short-game practice area; recently renovated 15,000 square foot clubhouse; new turf management facility; junior sports camp program and an Olympic sized swimming pool and pool house.

The Club enjoys strong financial stability which has allowed it in recent years to complete a series of capital projects, including renovation of the bunkers and installation of a state-of-the-art irrigation system in 2015; a new turf management facility in 2016; reconstruction of the golf range and construction of a new short game practice/teaching area in 2017; and substantial renovations to the clubhouse including completion of the Bank’s Bar, Ross Grill Room and Calder Dining Room, an expanded patio space and other exterior amenities in 2018. In 2019, a new Tennis & Golf Performance Center was completed, and currently contains 3,000 square feet of tennis center space and two new state-of-the-art golf simulator stations.

These continued improvements to the Whippoorwill Club over many years has resulted in the Club’s facilities being among the finest in the area. The golf course has been called a “hidden gem” by the Metropolitan Golf Association and Whippoorwill is also recognized nationally. Since 2003, when it ranked the course 78th, Golfweek magazine has perennially ranked Whippoorwill in the top 100 of “classic” golf courses (built before 1960) in the country. Most recently the Whippoorwill course was ranked 75th by Top 100 Golf Courses of the USA 2018. Whippoorwill truly is one of the nation’s great courses and clubs.

The Whippoorwill Club is located in Armonk, New York, a hamlet in the town of North Castle within Westchester County and 35 miles from New York City. Information about Armonk is available at www.northcastleny.com

CLUB STRUCTURE
Whippoorwill is governed by a Board of Governors all of whom are members elected by the Club membership. The Board is supported by 16 committees comprised of approximately 110 participating Club members.

The GM reports to the President and the Board of Governors. The Club’s senior staff (golf, tennis, pool and camp directors, controller, executive chef, and greens superintendent) report to the GM.

WHIPPOORWILL BY THE NUMBERS
  • 15,800 Annual rounds of golf
  • Initiation Fee $45,000
  • Annual dues $15,940
  • 430 Members, all categories
  • $7.1M Gross volume
  • $4.25M Annual dues volume
  • $2.1M F&B volume, 65% a la carte / 35% catering
  • 30 Full Time Employees; 125 in season
  • 51 - Average age of members
WHIPPOORWILL CLUB WEB SITE: www.whippoorwillclub.org

GENERAL MANAGER POSITION
The General Manager (GM) has full responsibility for all aspects of operations at Whippoorwill Club (WC), effectively managing all resources and reporting to the President and is expected to be the embodiment of an “exceptional member-centric experience.”  The GM will lead the management team, many of whom have multiple  years of tenure at the Club, are representative of modern management ‘metric-oriented’ practices, and indirectly supervise all employees of the Club while intuitively promoting a positive, engaging, and highly competent service culture in all operations.

He/she is expected to be an interactive “thought partner” with the Board and Committees, working closely with both groups as collectively they make decisions and set strategic direction for the long-term well-being of the membership.  Like many clubs, WC has a number of new, younger members with families and the balance of tradition with relevance to today’s member needs and expectations is a critical success factor.  Supporting and effectively working with multiple committees, who are an important part of WC’s long history and success, is a necessary and important skill set.

INITIAL PRIORITIES OF THE NEW GENERAL MANAGER
  • Listen and observe, a lot, while “learning and assessing” the operation;
  • Get to know members and staff as quickly as possible, engaging them in an intuitively sincere and enthusiastic manner;
  • Work closely with the Board, Committees, and senior management staff to ensure a full and complete understanding of WC, its history, culture, and traditions before making any significant changes;
  • Focus on the Food and Beverage operation, recognizing that it is the ‘heart’ of the WC experience, and its consistent delivery and execution of a positive, well-regarded product is a critical success factor;
  • Understand the financial model, its history for implementation and need for adherence by all departments/managers, and clearly understanding how WC makes financial projections;
  • Focus on the key elements to long-term success at WC --- membership engagement, membership recruitment/retention, and building a staff culture of efficient, effective service.
  • Conduct a full and complete evaluation of the organizational chart and return to the Board within 60 days a ‘State of the Club’ report with executable and soundly backed recommendations.
  • Work with the Board to establish and memorialize the roles and responsibilities matrix, and review and validate the strategic plan goals and objectives that were established but not yet executed.
  • Establish an immediate ‘trust’ with the Board so as to be able to become a true ‘thought partner’ with them, ultimately being able to push them for actionable decisions, provide them with industry validated recommendations and establish yourself as a true “leader” in the clubhouse.
  • Establish thoughtful and meaningful orientation programs for staff, members, committee and board members.
To reiterate, fostering a culture of solidarity and teamwork throughout the team and the Club at large is particularly important to the staff and membership.  Significant to this expectation is the ability to lead a team of friendly, engaging, competent, and passionate staff who are sincere about serving the Club’s members.

CANDIDATE QUALIFICATIONS
The successful new GM at WC will need to have especially strong skills in “mentoring” and “holding accountable” a senior staff and group of meaningfully engaged employees.  The Club membership has a high regard for its staff, and the enhanced continuance of an energized, well-trained, committed team is critical for continued success.  A sincerely engaged, personally invested, instinctual style is particularly important for one’s success.  At the same time, it is desirous to engage a leader who has a clear and proven ability to recruit, orient, and retain a ‘team’ in all areas of the operation AND ensure that they work as a collaborative group interdepartmentally.

He/she must be a proactive leader in WC’s membership recruitment and retention efforts, working closely with the membership director and appropriate committees.  It is very critical that he/she understands the local market and economy.  The candidate has to be comfortable and competent being an integral and proactive part of developing relationships that lead to membership interest, retention, and/or business opportunities, and is effective in orienting new members so that their initial experience with WC results in constant use of the Club.

Additionally, the new GM must be a professional and highly respectful in his/her personal style, demeanor, and presence; and someone who recognizes and is comfortable interacting with all demographics of members, staff, and other constituents who contribute to the success of the Club.  Name recognition is a basic foundation of such success and this style must be a critical competency of the top executive.  He/she must be able to clearly and intuitively “walk the talk”, exemplifying how to perpetuate a true top “Member Experience” commensurate with what should be one of the top family-oriented country clubs in the Northeast.

Critically important is for the GM to have especially strong and verifiable financial skills and acumen, and to be able to communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing as the primary communicator of important Club information.  Strong attention to detail and having necessary and appropriate follow up skills are very important intuitive personal characteristics.
  • Significant progressive management experience in a well-regarded private club or similar hospitality environment, preferably with at least 5 years in the GM or AGM roles, the latter of which will need to be working with a verifiably competent mentor to that candidate’s success.  Preferably, strong and verifiable experience in leading a dynamic, progressive, “family-centric” club environment with significant recreational and social activities and amenities.  The Club will consider non-club hospitality professionals who demonstrate to clear understanding of effective leadership in a volunteer, non-profit leadership (member boards and committee) environment.
  • A verifiable commitment to on-going professional development and clear understanding of both trends and benchmarks in the club industry, as well as a strong professional “network.”
  • Possessive of solid and verifiable success in F & B operations, including the proven ability to inspire, train, and set standards; is creative and innovative, and generally regarded as having overseen a top tier F & B operation.
  • Especially strong financial acumen, budgeting, and presentation skills, along with an intuitive “ROI” mindset, being able to effectively communicate the vision behind the numbers.
  • A true appreciation of golf, its history, and how to deliver an exceptional “experience” to members and guests.
  • A verifiable history of success in working in a volunteer, member owned organization, appreciating the need to gain consensus and “buy in” to well-conceived, majority interest objectives benefitting the long-term well-being of the organization.  Having proven and demonstrable success in a strong committee culture is necessary.
  • A history of “mentoring” others to both develop their skills and to benefit the organization.
  • Strong and polished personal presence with an intuitive desire to meet, interact with, and build strong relations amongst all constituents.
  • A fundamental nature of calmness and strength, as well as tactfulness and diplomacy.
  • Especially strong overall communications skills in both verbal and written form, as well as in listening.  Further to this attribute is the ability to communicate in multiple media forms, and to recognize when and how such communication is most effective and presented.
  • A proven history of challenging ‘status quo’ without alienating various constituencies affected by change management efforts.
  • PGA/USGA tournament experience is desirable, but not required.
The Club is strongly interested in the best candidates, regardless of where they currently live.  The key attributes, as outlined above, include the proven ability to continue to elevate services, programming, and execution of a well-defined “mission.”

The role of GM at Whippoorwill Club should be attractive to those qualified candidates seeking a stable, long-term commitment in a community with outstanding schools and quality of life.
For the right individual with passion, enthusiasm, and consistently enhanced skill sets, WC can be a “pinnacle of one’s career” role!  Armonk, New York is an exceptional ‘small’ town community easily accessible to NYC, and one with an outstanding family environment.

EDUCATIONAL AND CERTIFICATION QUALIFICATIONS
  • A Bachelor’s Degree from a four-year university or college is highly desirable, preferably in Hospitality Management.
  • In lieu of the degree, substantial private club or hospitality experience will be considered.
  • A minimum of 4-6 years in the private club industry in positions involving both the front and the back-of-the house operations along with experience in personnel, financial management, and in the oversight of a large facility.
  • Certified Club Manager (CCM) designation preferred but not required.
SALARY & BENEFITS
Salary is open and commensurate with qualifications and experience.  The club, along with the typical CMAA 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 cover letter, clearly articulating your alignment and “fit” with the above noted expectations is required.  Your letter should be addressed to Chris Greene, President and the Whippoorwill Club Search Committee, and clearly articulate why you want to be considered for this position at this stage of your career and why Whippoorwill Club and the Armonk, NY 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 October 15, 2020.  Candidate selections will occur in late October and first interviews are expected to occur in mid-November, final selections will likely be made in late November with the successfully selected candidate starting in December.

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.

If you have any questions please email Holly Weiss: holly@kkandw.com

Search Executives:

Thomas B. Wallace III, CCM, CCE, ECM, Partner
412-670-2021 (M)
tom@kkandw.com

Kurt D. Kuebler, CCM, Partner
561-747-5213
kurt@kkandw.com        
 

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