Why Is Club Management Education Important?

Important for Club Managers

Today’s club manager may be expected to manage a complex and sometimes large property of several hectares; maintain multiple buildings and facilities; provide sports and leisure services for members and visitors; manage a team of employees and contractors; promote the business to the local, regional, national and in many cases, international communities and of course manage the club’s finances efficiently and prudently.

Whether club managers come from a business background or are developing their careers within the industry, the right education can provide each individual with the learning resources they need to do this job, often plugging gaps in their knowledge, so they can better understand the broad range of issues that affect the day-to-day management of a club in the ever-changing global environment.

Club managers recognise that clubs are businesses that require a combination of business acumen, tact and diplomacy and top-class management skills. As in any profession, they appreciate that they must stay at the top of their game to remain competent and constantly strive to increase their base of knowledge.

However such success as a club manager depends on individual commitment. Club managers must invest in their own growth to achieve their peak potential. Therefore their own continual professional development is no longer an option; it is a necessity for themselves and indeed for all management staff in the Club Industry.

BMI (Business Management Institute) Programmes

CMASA currently delivers all of the required BMI programmes which were developed by Club Managers Association of America (CMAA) and are used by seven Club Associations worldwide as the framework for their education programmes. Specific material is adapted to suit local conditions. (See below for more information)

Certification and Lifelong Learning

In many professions, a successful career is marked by an appropriate degree of professional development, verified by a credible certification program and recognized by both the public and one’s peers. The Certified Club Manager (CCM) designation has been the hallmark of professionalism in club management since 1965 and is the cornerstone of CMAA’s/CMASA’s certification program. It is a valuable and widely-respected mark of a manager’s commitment to professional development and the club industry.

The Certified Club Manager (CCM) is a professional certification recognizing the unique skills and special knowledge required of today’s club manager. It has opened countless doors of opportunity for managers as it communicates their knowledge and ability to serve as a key player in a club’s success. Candidates who have earned the designation have completed a program enriched with education experience, applicable knowledge, and business tools that can deliver a positive impact.

Whether you are seeking a promotion, exploring a position outside of your current club, or simply pursuing professional development opportunities to help you tackle increasingly complex responsibilities while preparing for future challenges, the CCM designation can.

  • Help you gain credibility and respect in the field
  • Enhance your skills and knowledge
  • Demonstrate your commitment to the profession

As with its education programs, CMAA’s certification program is a dynamic, continuing process. It includes two levels of further recognition: CMAA’s prestigious Honour Society and the Master Club Manager (MCM) designation.

The entire certification program is under the jurisdiction of the Certification Committee with oversight provided by CMAA’s Board of Directors. It is the Certification Committee’s responsibility to consider suggestions from the members and to ensure that the certification program adapts to the ever-changing club management environment.

CMASA offers individuals the opportunity for a life-long learning opportunity through their programmes. Individuals are required to attain 300 credits from either tertiary education or industry accredited courses, plus a minimum of 5 years’ experience in the industry before they are able to qualify to write the certification examination. This examination contains 400 questions (multiple choice) taken from a central databank on a random basis. Only those who achieve above 70% aggregate are accredited as “Certified Club Managers” (CCM). The certification is valid for a 5 year period, in which time their education is required to be maintained by attending additional courses related to their development. Currently the points required for education maintenance are 120 credits in 5 years (this equates to 1 credit per hour of CMASA approved education). CMASA currently has 17 qualified CCM Managers in South Africa and they are:

Paul Leishman

The Bryanston Country Club

Sue Smith

Helderberg Village

Neels Gerber

Mogol Sports Club

Sandra Lennox

George Golf Club

John Bold

Kuilrivier Golf Club

Peet de Wet

De Zalze Golf Estate

Pam Maybery

Kloof Country Club

Francois Swart

Francois Swart

Atlantic Beach

Paul Stoner

Clovelly Country Club

Vian Schoeman

The Bryanston Country Club

Important for Our Club Industry

For our industry to prosper and clubs to continue to flourish in a very competitive leisure industry, the leadership required will be better served through a robust programme of education and training. Our programme will educate tomorrow’s leaders and managers today!

With a benchmark qualification recognised throughout the world (CCM), club managers can demonstrate their credibility in the job and ensure cross-fertilisation of skills, knowledge and ideas as they manage ever more successful clubs around the globe.

The 9 Core Competencies of Club Management

The general manager of a club has a wide range of responsibilities and the expectations of members and visitors are growing and changing constantly. By analysis, CMASA believes the components of successful club management can be defined by the following core competencies of a club manager:


1. Club Governance

  • History of private clubs
  • Types of private clubs
  • Membership types
  • Club rules & regulations
  • Policy formation
  • Committee roles & responsibilities
  • The general manager
  • Career development

2. Food and Beverage Management

  • Service standards
  • Menu and development
  • Functions and themed events
  • Nutrition and food science
  • Equipment
  • Pricing concepts
  • F & B personnel
  • Ordering/receiving/ controls /inventory
  • Wine list development
  • F & B trends

3. Accounting and Financial Management

  • Principles of club accounting
  • Financing capital projects
  • Audits
  • Budgeting and financial analysis
  • Tax for clubs
  • Computing and software systems
  • Cash flow forecasting
  • Office administration
  • Salaries and benefits administration
  • Long-range financial planning

4. Human and Professional Resources

  • Employee relations
  • Time management
  • Management styles
  • Stress management
  • Organisational development
  • Work-life balance
  • Club job descriptions

5. Strategy and Leadership

  • Strategic planning for clubs
  • Effective negotiation
  • Member contact skills
  • The manager as a leader
  • The dynamics of teams
  • Inter-Personal Skills
  • Communication skills
  • Conducting presentations
  • Evaluation and acceptance of responsibilities
  • Working harmoniously with others

6. Membership and Marketing

  • In-house publications
  • Media relations
  • Membership acquisition and retention
  • Marketing strategies for clubs
  • Marketing planning

7. Golf, Sports and Recreation

  • Golf operations
  • Golf course management
  • Tennis/health & fitness/& other sports
  • Locker room management

8. Facilities Management

  • Preventative maintenance
  • Housekeeping
  • Insurance & risk management
  • Security
  • Business continuity
  • Project management
  • Managing contractors
  • Energy and resource management

9. Statutory Compliance

  • Legislation
  • Data protection
  • Regulatory agencies
  • Club law
  • Economic theory
  • Alcohol regulation

What Is the Cmasa Education Programme?

In order to supplement the existing skill sets of club managers, five classroom-based courses, each of which will be of 5 days duration (Monday to Friday).

These courses are :

  1. BMI I – Club Management
  2. BMI II – Leadership Principles
  3. BMI III – General Manager/ Chief Operating Officer
  4. BMI Food & Beverage
  5. BMI Golf Management
  6. BMI IV – Tactical Leadership
  7. BMI V – Strategic Leadership
  8. CMASA Business workshops
  9. CMASA Strategic & Leadership Programmes

The last two sections of the pathway concentrate on practical and innovative business skills as well as leadership and strategy, which will enable the manager as a leader and develop their strategic thinking.

This pathway therefore will lead club managers from the point at which they enter the profession with some knowledge, through to the outcome where they are well-informed and well-educated club managers.

In short, this is a structured and comprehensive education programme for club managers.

We foresee club managers perhaps taking one course a year, fitting in with the demands of their job, and it will be possible therefore for a manager to complete the programme of the required four courses over a period of 3-5 years.


Education, by itself, is important and an essential tool for an individual’s personal and professional development, but to be able to prove that the manager has understood the subject matter and retained what has been taught, CMASA provides a credible certification programme which is recognised throughout the club industry.

The days when an employer had to recruit from other industries and professions, to find people to manage their clubs, should be a distant memory and the club management industry is now setting the standard whereby their own qualifications and certification benchmarks become the accepted industry standards of knowledge required to do the job.