The Charlotte City Club was selected in 2012 as one of the top 235 private clubs in America by the Club Leaders Forum which conducts a survey every three years of the Club Managers and Club Presidents of America's 6,000 private clubs. Most notable in the highly competitive group of city clubs, the Charlotte City Club ranks as one of the top 35 city clubs in America.
The characteristics of America’s 235 most highly admired private clubs that distinguish them from 6,000 others are as follows:
1. A History of Excellence
The top private clubs have been around for a long time. Many were founded over a century ago. Some, from their inception, and many others through accumulated passage of time, have been recognized by all who know them as being domiciles of excellence. Whether this heritage is perpetuated in a formal mission statement or informally passed along within its membership and staff, it is deeply imbued in the fortunate who belong or work there. The membership and staff alike consider the perpetuation of this history of excellence as a mission.
2. The Quality of Membership
No club can be great without having great members. This means a membership that represents the best qualities of those communities in which the club exists. Acceptance and compatibility transcend all discriminating issues. Members like each other and the staff that serves them. They are knowledgeable about matters that affect the club and treat the facilities as though they were their own – which, in a real sense, they are. Great members care so much about their club that they work hard to attract prospective new members who are equally great.
3. The Condition of its Facilities
A magnificent clubhouse does not make a club great. Rather it is the total array of facilities, their general excellence and fulfillment of member needs in every area of function and activity. These clubs invest on a regular and planned basis in the maintenance, supervision, and replacement of the grounds, plant, and equipment. They ensure that each piece of equipment and every facility is well maintained.
4. The Caliber of its Professional Staff
Many is the club with rich heritage and renowned amenities that does not qualify as a great club. Without a staff of equally high quality, such a club is missing on its most important cylinders. This excellence must be as well exhibited by the newest dishwasher or waiter as it is by the club’s longest tenured staff. The club will be recognized in its community as a good place to work, where the pay, benefits, environment of work, and job security are attested to as excellent year after year. Ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen is a maxim of the finest clubs.
5. Enlightened and Consistent Governance
Great clubs are led by Presidents and Board of Governors who understand that their roles are strategic and policy setting. It is the professional staff that carries out the policies and day-to-day operations. Boards of this caliber work hard at ensuring that there is continuity of effort and direction, term after term. The nominating committee takes their work seriously, ensuring that the best qualified members serve on the board – and that the board itself is broadly representative of the club membership as a whole.
6. Adaptable to Changing Times
As social institutions, clubs themselves undergo change – gradual as they will be. A club that resists this, sometimes because of restrictive by-laws or the resistance of elements on the board or in the membership, will slowly wither and eventually perish as members join more vital clubs or quit. Great clubs work at anticipating their members – and prospective new members – needs and interests. Such clubs have a mission statement that says who they are and a strategic plan that says where they want to be. Great clubs view this plan not simply as a document to put on the shelf and refer to periodically but as a road map that they are now moving along.
7. Member Devotion to their Club’s Distinctive Culture
Great clubs celebrate their heritage and religiously observe their time-honored traditions. There is pride and togetherness in observing traditions and practices handed down through generations of members – oftentimes the older and more non-sensical they seem, the better. There is a true cult of culture in great clubs and it is stringently observed.
8. A Spirit of Generosity in its Community
Many of America’s premier private clubs were founded around a spirit of giving to its community or the nation. Their motivations for acts of generosity are not done to generate overt publicity for themselves but in the spirit of genuine care – with as little publicity as possible.
9. Prudent Fiscal Management
No institution of any kind can go through decades and generations without from time to time encountering serious financial challenges. Many a great club barely survived the Great Depression or the dues deductibility issue of the late 1980’s. Great clubs have had the wisdom to plan well and invest well.
10. Universal Acknowledgement of Greatness
Great clubs are widely known as such by the strata of American society that frequent private clubs and are well traveled. They tout them universally. This perception extends well beyond a club’s community or the venue (i.e., a great golf course, etc.) for which it is best known. They possess the wisdom to progress, cope, and have fun being together. The future for any great club is what it always has been: The ability to attract and retain the greatest new members it possibly can.