Sunday, January 23, 2011

The $20 Question: GCSAA's Proposed Dues Increase

In the midst of a GIS that will be scrutinized (as least by me and the 63 other blogging golf/turf writers) for participation, the GCSAA CEO question and as a benchmark on the overall health of the business, there's another interesting issue: bumping the national's dues by $20.

The association has made its case well (it's been a while, they already deferred the increase once and it's a small amount). If anyone cares, my humble opinion is that it's overdue, modest and if the $350,000+ it generates annually saves some member service jobs, it's a good thing.

Intentionally or not, the board sent a message to members when it let four very visible veteran employees go last year: things are serious and we need to manage expenses appropriately based on a gloomy revenue outlook. They've cut to the bone and they believe the dues increase matters to core member service. These are good men trying to do the right thing by members and the staff. It has to suck. I once again shake my head in amazement that anyone would agree to serve at that level and deal with this stuff as a second full-time job.

So, I think the increase is merited and it will pass. The men and women who come to the chapter meetings and delegates gatherings and who generally run things will say, "Sure. It's only $20."

But, the secondary question is whether this will become a hot-button issue for folks who believe it's another indication that GCSAA is out of touch with the needs of the grassroots membership. An increasing number of guys reach into their own pockets for dues and education. To them, $20 is meaningful. But, for far more folks, the $20 may simply be the straw that breaks the camel's back.

There will be grumbling and this will even seal the decision not to renew for some. It might be 5 or 50 or 500, but it certainly won't be close to the 2,000 or non-renewals it would take to nullify the revenue gained from the dues increase. Thus, the association will be ahead financially on the deal.

Yet, for every action there is a reaction. There will be some interesting hallway conversations and late-night lobby bar discussions about this in Orlando. But, the real measure of the impact of the increase won't come until next fall...when dues notices get sent out and we see just how many camels buckle under the final straw.

1 comment:

  1. Funny about the this dues increase. How many of us at private clubs feel that a dues increase is necessary at our club in order to keep revenues in line with rising expenses? Now our association comes at us with the same request and our reaction is what?
    I agree with the increase and support it.