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Home Blog ‘Cover Your Assets’ In Paper, Without Drowning In It | Document Management For Private Clubs


Documents (electronic or paper) are a cornerstone of a solid risk management program. They're an important part of managing employee records, safety policies, training standards and more. Each of these topics relate directly to a club’s ability to mitigate risk.

Bob Bodman managed private clubs for 11 years and provided management consulting for over 25 years. He’s got a clear understanding of club operations. Here, he demonstrates the problems with traditional document management, as well as possible solutions.

Consider this as you look at the risk management plan for your private club. Everyone want to save money. When done right, risk management can reduce your liability.  It may also reduce commercial insurance premiums.



Golfer’s don’t usually think about everything involved in maintaining a thriving club. Club managers think about it every day.

The best country clubs are a flurry of activity. They’re filled with happy (depending on the last hole they played) golfers and families. From practice ranges, fairways, swimming pools and dining rooms, private clubs are complex operations.

Successful clubs deliver high quality and luxury. To do this, clubs use an average of 200-300 documents. Managers rely on these documents to do daily tasks and achieve objectives.

This staggering library of documents provide the framework for every function within the club. It helps define the standards of operation necessary for success.

Here’s a sample of the documents that comprise the structure of a club:

  • Club Bylaws

  • Club Rules and Regulations

  • Employee Manual

  • Performance Review Forms

  • Membership Application

  • New Member Orientation Checklist

  • Hours of Operation

  • Member Directory

  • Preventative Maintenance Schedule

  • Dining Room Service Manual

  • New Employee Packet

  • W2 Forms

  • Liquor License

  • Chemical Applications License

  • Shoe Care Procedures

  • OSHA Forms

  • PTO Request Form

  • Bar Recipe Book

  • Inventory Forms

  • Operators Manuals

  • Golf cart cleaning checklist



Club managers are often overwhelmed by the very paperwork and vital documents they need to be successful.

Here’s why:

  • No Central Location: Documents spread throughout the club. This means there’s no central place to manage them from.

  • Lack Of Visibility: Many club documents are now in digital format. They’re stored on laptops, tablets, server drives, and even in the cloud. This makes storage easier, but, as they say, out of sight, out of mind.

  • Not Cataloged: There’s no Dewey Decimal System for club documents. They don’t come with timelines or calendar alerts to call attention to them. As a result, they tend to collect dust (or act as a door-stop) until there’s a problem.

  • Infrequent Use: Unlike a bottle of Grey Goose at the bar, most documents aren’t used every day. Most sit collecting dust or cluttering desks.



Manage the documents that manage the club

Most clubs have (or should have!) a comprehensive Standards of Operations or SOP. The SOP contains references to the respective documents of any particular line item.

Here’s an example of an operating standard:

“The Ballroom will be reset each night according to the Banquet Room Floor Plan. The plan is located within the Banquet Service Notebook.”  

This example provides references to two documents. Let’s say your club has a Risk Assessment done by the club’s Insurance company. During the assessment, it’s noted banquet chairs are blocking a fire exit. This creates an unsafe condition.

There are two approaches to remedy this type of situation:

  • Reactive: Have the facility manager move the chairs. This is a short term solution. You’ll likely continue to have the problem, increasing your risk and liability.

  • Proactive: Change the Banquet Room Floor Plan. Show where each chair needs to be to keep the fire exit clear. If the original document is readily available to reference, update and distribute, you’ll have a long term solution.

The reactive approach means most documents aren’t reviewed or updated regularly. In this case, they eventually become obsolete, rendering them useless.

Imagine how Risk Assessments or inspections would go if the Banquet Room Floor Plan was easily logged for review at regular intervals.

Automatic reminders for review mean it’s easier to address changes and be proactive.

Regular review of procedures allow club management to revisit state and federal guidelines, past inspections and day-to-day issues. This creates the opportunity to verify Standards of Operation are met before problems arise.

An effective document management system means the SOP is easily accessed. It's reviewed regularly, updated as needed and distributed to the appropriate staff. With a proactive approach, documents can make managing more effective.

Documents are vital to successful club operation. They’re only useful when  they are current and dynamically integrated into day-to-day operations. When they are, the club will find consistency, efficiency and operational excellence.


The solution to document integration is a comprehensive document management system.

StandPoint SOE (Standards of Excellence) is a leader in document management. They’ve developed the Reference Document Manager module. It’s an online management tool for developing customized club standards and effective document management. It also provides integrated metrics and dashboard reporting to make managing excellence even easier. Reference Document Manager is available through StandPoint SOE at www.StandPoint.Club .


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About Robert (Bob) Bodman, President, Club Resources

Robert Bodman, President, Club Resources

After more than a decade opening and managing private clubs, Bob Bodman co-founded Pacific Century Clubs in 1990, which changed its name to Club Resources in 2005. Bob has worked on numerous major country club development projects.  Bob specializes in club feasibility studies, club organizational structuring, standards development and membership sales. Bob also focuses on a host of consulting services for member-owned clubs (i.e., strategic planning, member surveys, focus groups, retreat facilitation, standards development, membership marketing plans and contract membership sales) for private clubs. 

In 1994, Bob co-authored the club industry’s first membership marketing newsletter called The Club Marketing Report. In 1995, he co-authored an industry best-selling book called The Guide to Membership Marketing, selling thousands of copies.  In 1997, Bob authored and published another industry best seller called Standards of Operations and Performance for Private Clubs, the industry’s first customizable workbook for developing quality standards. After selling hundreds of copies, Bob licensed this publication to the CMAA in 1999.  In 2012, Bob embarked on a new version of this publication called “StandPoint SOE,” a completely new approach to customizing even higher quality standards in private clubs. Bob has been a regular columnist for The Boardroom Magazine for the past three years. 


About Affinity: Founded in 2007, Affinity Club Underwriters is a wholesale program insurance provider specializing in the Club, golf and hospitality sector. They offer claims management services, operations and coverage audits, policy & information storage & archaeology, RFP preparation, market analysis and help in developing specific loss control programs.

Affinity is the exclusive provider of the Affinity Club Program for private and semi-private golf and country club venues. Affinity is the only insurance program administrator led by golf industry experts.  



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