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How to Start a Country Club

A country club is a private club that typically offers a range of recreational activities and facilities to its members. These activities may include golf, tennis, swimming, fitness, dining, social events, and other amenities. Country clubs are often located in suburban or rural areas, and they are designed to provide members with a luxurious and exclusive experience.

Membership to a country club is typically restricted and may require an application process, fees, and sponsorship from existing members. Some country clubs also offer accommodation and may be used as a venue for weddings, parties, and other events.

Country clubs belong to the hospitality industry and available data shows that the global hospitality industry is worth over $4.548 trillion as of 2022 and is expected to reach USD 9,950 billion in 2028 with a CAGR of 16.13 percent. There are about 1.6 million people employed by the U.S. accommodation industry.

Steps on How to Start a Country Club

  1. Conduct Market Research

To conduct market research for a country club, it is important to identify the target market and understand their needs and preferences. This can be done through surveys, focus groups, and analyzing industry trends. It is also important to research competitors and their offerings, as well as pricing strategies.

Social media can be a valuable tool for gathering insights on consumer behavior and preferences. Once the research is conducted and concluded, it can be used to develop marketing strategies and tailor products and services to the target market.

a. Who is the Target Market for Country Clubs?

The target market for country clubs typically consists of affluent individuals who are interested in leisure activities, socializing, and networking and they could be:

  • Celebrities
  • Public figures
  • Socialites
  • Businesspeople
b. Is Country Club a Profitable Business?

Yes, country club is a profitable business all things being equal and as a matter of fact, available research result shows that the global hospitality industry is worth over $4.548 trillion as of 2022 and is expected to reach USD 9,950 billion in 2028 with CAGR of 16.13 percent.

c. Are There Existing Niches in the Industry?

Yes, there are niche ideas when it comes to country clubs, and here are some of them;

  • Eco-friendly country club
  • Family-friendly country club
  • Sports-focused country club
  • Wellness country club
  • Artistic country club
  • Culinary country club.
d. Who are the Major Competitors?
  • Augusta National Golf Club (Augusta, Georgia)
  • Baltusrol Golf Club (Springfield, New Jersey)
  • Bel-Air Country Club (Los Angeles, California)
  • The Beverly Hills Hotel & Bungalows (Beverly Hills, California)
  • The Breakers (Palm Beach, Florida)
  • Congressional Country Club (Bethesda, Maryland)
  • The Country Club (Brookline, Massachusetts)
  • Cypress Point Club (Pebble Beach, California)
  • Eastward Ho! Country Club (Chatham, Massachusetts)
  • Fishers Island Club (Fishers Island, New York)
  • Garden City Golf Club (Garden City, New York)
  • Interlachen Country Club (Edina, Minnesota)
  • Merion Golf Club (Ardmore, Pennsylvania)
  • Oakmont Country Club (Oakmont, Pennsylvania)
  • Pine Valley Golf Club (Clementon, New Jersey)
  • Seminole Golf Club (Juno Beach, Florida)
  • Shinnecock Hills Golf Club (Southampton, New York)
  • Winged Foot Golf Club (Mamaroneck, New York)
  • The Yale Club of New York City (New York, New York)
  • Yellowstone Club (Big Sky, Montana).
e. Are There County or State Regulations or Zoning Laws for Country Clubs?

Yes, there are county and state regulations and zoning laws that apply to country clubs in the United States. These laws can vary depending on the location and specific regulations of the county or state.

For example, zoning laws may dictate where a country club can be located, what types of structures can be built, and what activities are allowed on the property. Some counties may also have specific regulations related to noise levels, traffic flow, and environmental impact.

In addition to zoning laws, country clubs may also be subject to regulations related to food service, alcohol service, and other aspects of hospitality. These regulations can include health and safety standards, licensing requirements, and tax obligations.

Country clubs may also be subject to regulations related to employment, such as minimum wage laws, discrimination laws, and workplace safety regulations.

f. Is There a Franchise for Country Club?

There are no known franchise opportunities for country clubs, as country clubs are typically independent, locally-owned businesses that do not operate on a franchise model.

g. What Do You Need to Start a Country Club?
  • Business plan
  • Legal structure
  • Licenses and permits
  • A standard facility in a suitable location
  • Furniture and public address system
  • Employees
  • Marketing and advertising
  • Funding
  1. Choose a Memorable Business Name

When looking to start a business, before you can begin to file the necessary documents with the constituted authorities or start your website, it is necessary that you come up with a name that you will be recognized with. It is essential that the name you come up with can easily be pronounced, is unique and easily memorable.

Some of the catchy business name ideas suitable for a country club are;

Creative Country Club Business Name ideas
  • Green Hill™ Country Club
  • Pine Ridge® Country Club
  • Willow Brook® Country Club
  • Sun Valley® Country Club
  • Oakmont Ridge™ Country Club
  • Riverbend Banks© Country Club
  • Meadow Springs™ Country Club
  • Silver Creek® Country Club
  • Rolling Hills Country Club
  • Bluegrass Steppers® Country Club
  • Grandview Saints® Country Club
  • Ironwood Cutter™ Country Club
  • Summit Ridge™ Country Club
  • White Oaks® Country Club
  • Maplewood Rangers® Country Club
  • Hillcrest Saints© Country Club
  • Sycamore Valley® Country Club
  • Cedar Ridge® Country Club
  • Lakeside View™ Country Club
  • Oak Grove® Country Club.
  1. Register Your Business

a. What Type of Business Structure is Best for Country Club?

The most common business structure for country clubs is a non-profit corporation. This is because many country clubs are owned and operated by their members and exist for the purpose of promoting social and recreational activities, rather than generating profits.

As a non-profit corporation, a country club would be exempt from certain taxes and may be eligible for grants and other funding opportunities. The members would typically elect a board of directors to oversee the club’s operations and make decisions related to membership, facilities, and events.

However, some country clubs may also operate as for-profit businesses, particularly those that offer services beyond social and recreational activities, such as hospitality and dining. In this case, a limited liability company (LLC) or a corporation may be a more suitable business structure.

Ultimately, the best business structure for a country club will depend on factors such as the ownership structure, the club’s goals and objectives, and the type of services and activities offered.

b. Steps to Form an LLC
  • Choose a Name for Your LLC.
  • File Articles of Organization.
  • Choose a registered agent.
  • Decide on member vs. manager management.
  • Create an LLC operating agreement.
  • Comply with other tax and regulatory requirements.
  • File annual reports.
c. What Type of License is Needed to Open a Country Club?
  • Business License
  • Building permit
  • Fire safety license and permit
  • Resale license or sales tax permit
  • Healthcare-related permits
  • Professional license
  • Music license
  • Environmental permit
  • Zonal permit.
d. What Type of Certification is Needed to Open a Country Club?

You don’t need any certification to open a country club in the United States.

e. What Documents are Needed to Open a Country club?
  • Business plan
  • Business License
  • Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  • State-specific licenses and permits
  • Building permit
  • Fire safety license and permit
  • Resale license or sales tax permit
  • Healthcare-related permits
  • Professional license
  • Music license
  • Environmental permit
  • Zonal permit
  • Insurance policies
f. Do You Need a Trademark, Copyright, or Patent?

A country club may need a trademark and/or copyright, but typically not a patent. A country club may want to trademark its name or logo to prevent others from using the same or similar names or logos and to establish brand recognition and goodwill.

A country club may want to copyright original materials such as brochures, newsletters, or other written or artistic works it creates, to prevent others from using or reproducing them without permission. Country clubs typically do not create new or unique inventions or discoveries that would require patent protection.

  1. Cost Analysis and Budgeting

a. How Much Does It Cost to Start a Country Club?

When it comes to starting a country club, the startup costs vary, and could range from $1 million to over $5 million.

b. What are the Costs Involved in Starting a Country Club
  • Business Registration Fees – $750.
  • Legal expenses for obtaining licenses and permits – $7,800.
  • Marketing, Branding, and Promotions – $5,000.
  • Business Consultant Fee – $8,500.
  • Insurance – $28,800.
  • Rent/Lease – $850,000
  • Other start-up expenses include commercial satellite TV subscriptions, stationery ($500), and phone and utility deposits ($1,800).
  • Operational Cost (salaries of employees, payments of bills et al) – $80,000
  • Store Equipment (cash register, security, ventilation, signage) – $6,350
  • Equipment, Furniture, and supplies – $380,000
  • Website: $1,200
  • Opening party: $5,000
  • Miscellaneous: $5,000
c. What Factors Determine the Cost of Opening a Country Club?
  • The size of the country club
  • The choice of location
  • The required licenses and permits
  • The cost of hiring and paying a business consultant and attorney
  • The cost of branding, promotion, and marketing of the country club
  • The cost of furnishing and equipping the country facility
  • The cost of the insurance policy covers
  • The cost of registering the business
  • Cost of recruiting and training your staff
  • The cost for the purchase and customizing of uniforms
  • The cost for the grand opening of the country club.
d. Do You Need to Build a Facility? If YES, How Much Will It Cost?

Yes, you will need to build or lease a facility for your country club. The cost of building a facility will depend on several factors, such as the size of the facility, location, and the types of amenities and services you plan to offer. If you plan to build a new facility, the cost will likely be higher than if you lease or renovate an existing facility.

But on average, you should budget between $2 million to $5 million to build a country club on a 10,000-square-foot facility.

e. What are the Ongoing Expenses of a Country Club?
  • Payroll and employee benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and workers’ compensation insurance.
  • Facility maintenance such as landscaping, cleaning, and repairs.
  • Utilities such as electricity, gas, water, and sewer.
  • Property taxes
  • Insurance such as liability insurance, property insurance, and workers’ compensation insurance.
  • Equipment and supplies such as golf carts, pool supplies, and kitchen supplies.
  • Marketing and advertising such as brochures, website development, and social media advertising.
  • Professional fees such as accounting, legal, and consulting services.
  • Membership administration such as membership databases, billing, and collections.
  • Food and beverage costs.
f. What is the Average Salary of your Staff?
  • General Manager – $48,000 per year
  • Programs Director – $47,000 per year
  • Guest Services Manage – $42,000 per year
  • Facility Manager – $35,000 per year
  • Marketing and Sales Staff – $35,000 per year
  • Administrative Assistant – $34,000 per year
  • Maintenance Staff – $35,000 per year
  • Chef – $35,000 per year
  • Receptionist – $32,000 per year
g. How Do You Get Funding to Start a Country Club?
  • Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
  • Raising money from investors and business partners
  • Sell shares to interested investors
  • Applying for a loan from your bank/banks
  • Source for soft loans from your family members and your friends.
  1. Write a Business Plan

a. Executive Summary

Hillcrest Saints© Country Club is an upscale country club located in Beverly Hills, California. Our club offers a variety of recreational activities, including golf, tennis, swimming, and fitness facilities, as well as dining and event services. The golf course at Hillcrest Saints© Country Club is an 18-hole championship course designed by a renowned golf architect, offering a challenging and enjoyable experience for golfers of all skill levels.

Our tennis facilities include both indoor and outdoor courts, and our swimming pool offers a beautiful and relaxing environment for members and their families. Our fitness center features state-of-the-art equipment and personalized training programs.

In addition to our recreational activities, Hillcrest Saints© Country Club offers a range of dining options, including casual and formal dining experiences, private dining rooms, and a bar and lounge. Our event spaces can accommodate weddings, business meetings, and other special events, with customizable menus and expert event-planning services.

Our management team has extensive experience in the hospitality industry, with a track record of successful operations and customer service. We have developed a comprehensive marketing strategy to attract and retain members, including targeted advertising campaigns, referral programs, and community involvement.

b. Products and Service
  • Golf course and facilities, including equipment rental and lessons
  • Tennis courts and facilities, including equipment rental and lessons
  • Swimming pool and aquatic facilities, including lessons and water aerobics classes
  • Fitness center and exercise equipment, including personal training services
  • Spa and wellness center, offering massage, facials, and other beauty and relaxation services
  • Dining and catering services, including casual and fine dining options and private event spaces
  • Social events and activities, including themed parties, holiday celebrations, and networking opportunities
  • Childcare services, including supervised play areas and activities for children
  • Business and conference facilities, including meeting rooms and audiovisual equipment
  • Pro shops and retail stores, offering clothing, equipment, and accessories for various sports and activities.
c. Mission Statement

At Hillcrest Saints© Country Club, we are committed to providing our members with an exceptional country club experience focused on quality amenities and outstanding customer service. We strive to create a welcoming and inclusive environment where members can relax, socialize, and enjoy a variety of recreational activities, including golf, tennis, swimming, fitness, and dining.

Our mission is to be the premier country club in Beverly Hills, California, known for our commitment to excellence and our dedication to the satisfaction and enjoyment of our members.

Vision Statement

Our vision at Hillcrest Saints© Country Club is to be the leading destination for country club members in Beverly Hills, California, offering unparalleled recreational activities, dining experiences, and event services. We aim to exceed our members’ expectations by providing exceptional customer service, innovative programming, and state-of-the-art facilities.

d. Goals and Objectives

The goals and objectives of a country club are to provide a sense of exclusivity and community for members, who enjoy the social and networking opportunities, fine dining experiences, and private event spaces and also appreciate the amenities and services offered, as well as the personalized attention from staff.

e. Organizational Structure
  • General Manager
  • Programs Director
  • Guest Services Manage
  • Facility Manager
  • Marketing and Sales Staff
  • Administrative Assistant
  • Maintenance Staff
  • Chef
  • Receptionist

Marketing Plan

a. SWOT Analysis
  • High-end amenities such as golf courses, tennis courts, swimming pools, and spas
  • Fine dining and catering services with experienced chefs and staff
  • Dedicated and well-trained employees providing exceptional customer service
  • A strong and established brand reputation in the local community
  • A loyal membership base with high retention rates.
  • High membership fees and initiation costs, which may limit potential new members
  • Seasonal fluctuations in revenue due to weather conditions and peak vacation times
  • Limited accessibility for non-members, which may reduce opportunities for new business.
  • Expanding the target market to attract younger demographics or families with children by offering more diverse and family-friendly activities
  • Offering corporate memberships to local businesses and organizations, creating a new revenue stream
  • Developing partnerships with local hotels and resorts to attract out-of-town visitors and generate additional revenue
  • Introducing eco-friendly practices to attract environmentally-conscious members and reduce operating costs.
  • Competition from other high-end country clubs or recreational facilities in the area
  • Economic downturns or recessions, which may impact the financial stability of the club and limit potential new members
  • Increasing regulations and legal requirements, which may impact operating costs and limit growth opportunities
  • Negative publicity or reputation damage due to incidents or accidents at the club.
b. How Do Country Clubs Make Money?

Country clubs make money primarily through membership fees, which provide members with access to various amenities and services such as golf courses, tennis courts, swimming pools, fitness centers, and dining facilities. In addition to membership fees, country clubs may generate revenue through other sources such as events and banquets, pro shop sales, lessons and clinics, guest fees, and food and beverage sales.

c. Payment Options
  • Credit or Debit Card
  • Cash
  • Electronic Payment Systems such as PayPal or Venmo
  • Checks
  • Bank Transfers.
d. Sales & Advertising Strategies
  • Encourage current members to refer their friends and colleagues to the club.
  • Offer incentives, such as discounted membership fees or pro shop credits, for successful referrals.
  • Advertise the club in local newspapers, magazines, and online publications.
  • Use targeted social media ads to reach potential members in the area.
  • Host events that are open to the public, such as charity golf tournaments, and use them as an opportunity to showcase the club’s facilities and services.
  • Offer special promotions for attendees who sign up for a membership on the spot.
  • Target local businesses and organizations and offer corporate memberships as a way to attract new members and generate additional revenue.
  • Develop a strong online presence with a well-designed website that showcases the club’s amenities, events, and services.
  • Use social media to engage with potential members and promote the club’s offerings.
  • Use email marketing to communicate with current members and potential members.
  • Send regular newsletters that highlight upcoming events, new services, and special promotions.
  • Form partnerships with local hotels, resorts, and businesses to cross-promote services and generate new business. For example, offer hotel guests a special discount on a round of golf at the club.
  • Provide personalized attention to potential members during the sales process.
  • Offer a tour of the facilities, answer any questions they may have, and follow up with them regularly to maintain engagement.

Financial Projection

a. How Much Should You Charge for Your Product/Service?

The amount country clubs charge may vary, and this is based on the location, the level of luxury offered, and the specific services, products, and activities included in each package.

b. How Much Profit Do Country Club Owners Make a Year?

According to a 2019 report from Club Benchmarking, the median operating income for private clubs in the United States was $729,000, with a median net income of $228,000. However, these figures can vary widely depending on the size and type of club.

c. What Factors Determine the Amount of Profit to Be Made?
  • The capacity of the country club
  • The service and product offerings of the Country club
  • The location of the country club
  • The management style of the country club
  • The business approach of the country club
  • The advertising and marketing strategies adopted by the country club.
  • The number of years the country club has been in business
d. What is the Profit Margin of a Country Club Product/Service?

On average, the profit margin for country club products ranges from 20% to 25%, depending on the location, and service offerings.

e. What is the Sales Forecast?

Below is the sales forecast for a country club. It is based on the location of the business and other factors as it relates to such startups in the United States.

  • First Fiscal Year (FY1): $550,000
  • Second Fiscal Year (FY2): $1.2 million
  • Third Fiscal Year (FY3): $1.5 million
  1. Set Up your Shop/Office

a. How Do You Choose a Perfect Location for Country Club?
  • The demography of the location as it relates to people that love leisure activities, socializing, and networking.
  • The demand for the services offered by country clubs in the location
  • The purchasing power of businesses and residents in and around the location
  • Accessibility of the location
  • The number of country clubs in and around the location
  • The local laws and regulations in the community/state
  • Traffic, parking, and security et al
b. What State and City is Best to Open a Country Club?
  • Augusta, Georgia
  • Springfield, New Jersey
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Beverly Hills, California
  • Palm Beach, Florida
  • Bethesda, Maryland
  • Brookline, Massachusetts
  • Pebble Beach, California
  • Chatham, Massachusetts
  • Fishers Island, New York
  • Garden City, New York
  • Edina, Minnesota
  • Ardmore, Pennsylvania
  • Oakmont, Pennsylvania.
c. What Equipment is Needed to Operate a Country Club?
  • Golf Course Maintenance Equipment such as mowers, tractors, and other specialized equipment
  • Food and Beverage Equipment (kitchen appliances such as ovens, grills, refrigerators, and freezers, as well as bar equipment such as beer taps, wine coolers, and cocktail shakers).
  • Fitness Equipment such as gym equipment such as treadmills, ellipticals, weights, and resistance machines, as well as other amenities like swimming pools, hot tubs, and saunas.
  • Event Equipment such as tables, chairs, linens, and other equipment used for hosting events such as weddings, conferences, and other special occasions.
  • Audiovisual Equipment such as sound systems, projectors, and screens
  • Office Equipment such as computers, printers, copiers, and other equipment needed to manage the club’s administrative and financial operations.
  • Pro Shop Equipment such as golf clubs, balls, and other accessories, as well as clothing, shoes, and other merchandise sold in the pro shop.
  1. Hire Employees

If you are looking to start a country club, then you should make plans to hire employees, because a country club cannot be run by an individual. It requires a team to effectively run a country club because of how big the facility is and of course the service offering of the club.

  1. Launch the Business Proper

Organizing an opening party for a new country club can be a good way to introduce your business to the community and create awareness about your services. If you want to go ahead to organize a proper launch for your country club, then you must make sure to invite potential clients, key stakeholders, and other members of the community who may be interested in your services.

a. What Makes a Country Club Successful?
  • Being consistently reliable builds trust with clients, which can lead to repeat business and referrals.
  • Excellent customer service
  • Excellent facilities, services, programs, and events
  • Emphasis on safety
  • Efficient operations
  • Compliance with regulations
  • Hiring skilled and knowledgeable employees and providing ongoing training that will ensure you deliver high-quality services.
b. What Happens During a Typical Day at a Country Club?
  • Before the facility opens, the employees would need to prepare the space, which may include cleaning, stocking supplies, and setting up workstations.
  • When the facility opens, the employees would need to greet members, and customers, answer questions, and schedule appointments.
  • The main focus of the day will involve a mix of physical activities, dining experiences, and social events, depending on the specific amenities and services offered by the club.
  • During services, the employees may need to consult with customers to ensure they are getting the desired services.
  • Product sales
  • Administrative tasks, such as bookkeeping, scheduling appointments, and responding to emails or phone calls, may be done throughout the day.
  • Throughout the day, guests may have free time to relax, read, or explore the surrounding area
  • At the end of the day, the employees would need to clean up the facility, restock supplies, and prepare for the next day.
c. What Skills and Experience Do You Need to Build a Country Club?
  • Hospitality and customer service
  • Event planning skills
  • Passion for networking and socializing
  • Passion and creativity
  • Top-notch organization skills
  • Health and fitness experience
  • Facility management skills
  • Interpersonal skill
  • Accounting and bookkeeping skills
  • Business management skills
  • Organizational skills
  • Work experience in the hospitality industry
  • Experience in managing people and organizing events
  • Experience in business administration.